Publications & Resources

Games as Formative Assessment Environments: Examining the Impact of Explanations of Scoring and Incentives on Math Learning, Game Performance, and Help Seeking

Jun 2011

Girlie C. Delacruz

Due to their motivational nature, there is growing interest in the potential of games to help teach academic content and skills. This report examines how different levels of detail about a game’s scoring rules affect math learning and performance. Using random assignment, the author collected data from 164 students in the fourth to sixth grades. The treatment conditions included a control group (played a different math game); three variations of scoring explanations (elaborated, minimal, and no scoring information); and combined elaborated scoring explanation with incentives to access additional feedback. The scoring explanation alone did not lead to better math learning. However, compared to the minimal-to-no scoring information variations, the combined treatment of the elaborated scoring explanation and incentive resulted in higher scores. The author discusses how the implications of the results identify attributes for learning games in mathematics.

Delacruz, G. C. (2011). Games as formative assessment environments: Examining the impact of explanations of scoring and incentives on math learning, game performance, and help seeking (CRESST Report 796). Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST).