Meaningful Play 2016 at Michigan State University

Session Information

TitleSo What? An Inductive Approach to Developing Models for Serious Game Assessment
Presenter(s)Rose Marra
TimeThursday, October 20, 1:30p-2:30p
LocationLake Michigan
DescriptionGames have been touted as having much potential to engage learners in meaningful ways (e.g. Gee, 2007). Further there is a growing body of research regarding the effectiveness of games. However, if games are to achieve their promise in K-12 and undergraduate education (McGonical, 2007; Willis, 2011), to

  • harness problem solving and investigation skills from gaming and apply them to real problems
  • counteract boredom (alternatively, improve engagement) with the challenges of the multiple levels of game based learning.
  • meet learners “where they are” with incremental content paths
  • Promote creativity and collaboration.

teachers need to be able to use learning assessment methods with these games (DiCerbo, 2014). Here I distinguish between research study measurement conducted around the effectiveness of gaming (Chin, Dukes & Gamson, 2009; Connolly, et al., 2012) and the kinds of assessments that teachers need. Research studies might gather interviews, software analytics and specialized pre and post tests. Teacher educators need practical and usable assessments to accompany or be integrated into the educational games they use. As DiCerbo said, “games and game data often exist in a silo”. They aren’t used for the measurement and reporting tasks that educators are required to do.

The goal of this roundtable Presentation / discussion will be to discuss the results of an inductive examination of the ways educators are garnering assessment data from educational uses of games. For this preliminary examination, we will gather data via

  • Reading and participating in game forums for commonly used educational games (e.g. Minecraft, SimCityEDU) to read about educational usages of these games and gather and query teachers as to how assessment data (if at all) is being gathered via or with game usage.
  • Contacting teachers via gaming community forums and asking them to complete a short survey (with a small monetary incentive provided) regarding assessment methods and gaming.

The author will bring an analysis of the data to the round table with the The goal of this initial study and discussion will be to generate a view of how assessment is currently happening with games and then to propose a practical model and set of educator practices for conducting assessment with the use of games.


Chin, J., Dukes, R., & Gamson, W. (2009). Assessment in Simulation and Gaming A Review of the Last 40 Years. Simulation & Gaming, 40(4), 553-568.

Connolly, T. M., Boyle, E. A., MacArthur, E., Hainey, T., & Boyle, J. M. (2012). A systematic literature review of empirical evidence on computer games and serious games. Computers & Education, 59(2), 661-686.

DiCerbo, K. (2014) .All Fun & Games? Understanding Learner Outcomes Through Educational Games. Edutopia.

Gee, J. P. (2003). What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy. Computers in Entertainment (CIE), 1(1), 20-20.

McGonigal, J. (2007). Gamers have skills. Let's tap 'em.Christian Science Monitor.

Willis, J. (2011). A Neurologist makes the case for video game model as a learning tool”. Brain based learning – Edutopia;

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