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Game-Informed Assessment

Much of the literature on games in education focuses on learning (Begg et al 2005, Gee 2004, Steinkuehler 2004). However, recent research indicates that games can support forms of assessment which are ‘woven directly and invisibly into the fabric of the learning environment’ (Shute and Ke 2012, p 53). In fact, games present themselves as an environment where moments of both summative and formative assessment coexist alongside learning. The players’ stream of activity provides concrete evidence of the constructive interaction that exists between learning and the different functions of assessment. For instance, gaining experience points (XP), levelling up and unlocking badges in games can be considered as forms of summative assessment, as they are effectively a measure of the players’ progress. However and more importantly, during gameplay, players continuously receive immediate feedback (Gee 2005), which informs and adjusts their course of action and thus serves as a formative assessment of play.

Figure 10 Game-Informed Assessment [edited and adapted by S. Bezzina] (Freepik #8 n.d.)

This suggests that a game-informed approach, resulting from the application of gameplay elements and principles of learning found within good game designs, could be naturally extended towards assessment. In fact, one might argue that these principles of learning are indeed principles of learning and assessment, as games bring learning and assessment so close that they become ‘virtually indistinguishable’ (Wilson and Sloane 2000, p 182). As such, this dissertation attempts to inherently extend and shift the notion of game-informed towards assessment, thus defining game-informed assessment. On the basis that games (Gee 2005, Squire 2005) and assessment (Boud 2007, Carless 2007) constitute and support meaningful learning experiences, I coined the term game-informed assessment (GIA) through the constructivist interplay between a game-informed approach to both learning and assessment, which aims to enhance students’ engagement, motivation and ultimately result in learning gains.

The Game-Informed Assessment Framework

On analysing the respective literature in the field of assessment and games studies (as discussed in the previous sections) and through my personal experience of gameplay, 5 guiding principles which distinguish game-informed pedagogies, hence underpinning GIA, are presented in the following framework.

Video 4 The Game-Informed Assessment Framework [created by S. Bezzina]

(download reference pack here)