Publications & Resources

Use of a Survival Analysis Technique in Understanding Game Performance in Instructional Games

Feb 2012

Jinok Kim and Gregory K. W. K. Chung

In this study, we compared the effects of two math game designs on math and game performance, using discrete-time survival analysis (DTSA) to model players’ risk of not advancing to the next level in the game. The game covered the concept of a unit and the addition of like-sized fractional pieces. The math content in the baseline version of the game focused on procedures and did not elaborate on the math topics. The experimental version of the game provided more conceptual instruction by emphasizing the underlying concepts in fractional addition. DTSA was used to examine student game performance, and whether and how game performance relates to students’ prior math knowledge and game experience. Students who played the experimental version of the game were less likely to fail in the game relative to students who played the baseline version of the game. Students with higher prior knowledge of fractions also were less likely to fail in the game, and students with more game experience were less likely to fail. The use of DTSA provided an analytical method to understand game performance and game process data. DTSA enabled examination of the game play progression of students with various characteristics over sequences of game levels.

Kim, J., & Chung, G. K. W. K. (2012). Use of a survival analysis technique in understanding game performance in instructional games (CRESST Report 812). Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST).