Opinion
Ed-Tech Policy Letter to the Editor

Game Use in Assessment Raises ‘Hard Questions’

September 10, 2013 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

In your article “Researchers See Video Games as Testing Tools” (Aug. 7, 2013), Constance Steinkuehler, a researcher and professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and her colleagues continue to demonstrate the richness and value that can be found in digital games and play environments. Play has always had a critical role in the process of cultivating children’s social skills, and discovering how to scaffold the practice of those skills in digital games is exciting.

It seems important, though, to ask some hard questions about using games as assessment environments. In our own research on games, my colleagues and I have chosen to avoid this burgeoning field because, as the article noted, there are many open questions about knowledge transfer and also the validity of conclusions drawn from these data. More importantly, we question the premise that play is the most authentic or appropriate context for measuring knowledge or mastery, particularly for children.

Questions abound when it comes to judging the intent of users based on their online behavior, and those judgments often have real-world impact, particularly when it comes to assessment.

In these discussions, we should consider children’s often-limited opportunities to speak up for their interests or control their digital lives. Play without the freedom to subvert, ignore, or otherwise upend the intent of adults—even game designers—is no longer truly play.

Katherine McMillan Culp

Director of Research

Center for Children and Technology

Education Development Center Inc.

New York, N.Y.

A version of this article appeared in the September 11, 2013 edition of Education Week as Game Use in Assessment Raises ‘Hard Questions’

Events

Classroom Technology Webinar How Pandemic Tech Is (and Is Not) Transforming K-12 Schools
The COVID-19 pandemic—and the resulting rise in virtual learning and big investments in digital learning tools— helped educators propel their technology skills to the next level. Teachers have become more adept at using learning management
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Data Webinar
Using Integrated Analytics To Uncover Student Needs
Overwhelmed by data? Learn how an integrated approach to data analytics can help.

Content provided by Instructure
School & District Management Live Online Discussion Principal Overload: How to Manage Anxiety, Stress, and Tough Decisions
According to recent surveys, more than 40 percent of principals are considering leaving their jobs. With the pandemic, running a school building has become even more complicated, and principals' workloads continue to grow. f we

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Ed-Tech Policy Reported Essay Remote Learning Isn’t Just for Emergencies
Schools were less prepared for digital learning than they thought they were.
5 min read
Conceptual Illustration
Pep Montserrat for Education Week
Ed-Tech Policy Opinion Why Are We Turning Our Backs on Remote Learning?
Neither the detractors nor defenders of remote learning are fully in the right, argues one superintendent.
Theresa Rouse
5 min read
Illustration of girl working on computer at home.
Getty
Ed-Tech Policy Letter to the Editor Using E-Rate to Address the Homework Gap
The FCC's E-rate program can provide relief to many families, says this letter author from the Internet Society.
1 min read
Ed-Tech Policy Q&A Acting FCC Chair: The 'Homework Gap' Is an 'Especially Cruel' Reality During the Pandemic
Under the new leadership of Jessica Rosenworcel, the FCC is exploring broadening the E-Rate to cover home-connectivity needs.
5 min read
Internet connectivity doesn't reach all the houses
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and iStock/Getty