By Katrina Schwartz
Educators have long known academic standards are only one part of nurturing a well-rounded and successful student. There are a host of other skills like creativity, persistence, critical thinking, collaboration and empathy that help make a student successful in school and in life, but are less quantifiable. Current assessment systems aren’t set up to measure these very important but less measurable skills, so policymakers have focused on standardized tests that try to capture what a student knows, not how he or she can apply that information. Game-based learning has entered the assessment field with hopes of measuring both content-specific knowledge and softer skills at the same time, through the mechanics of the game.
“I believe that assessment should be open and transparent and flexible and gently surround and support student learning or groups of students learning together,” said Valerie Shutes, a professor of Educational Psychology and Learning Systems at Florida State University in an edWeb webinar. She’s been experimenting with digital games as a way to more firmly link learning and assessment, hoping to show the two can happen inseparably. She’s particularly interested in how to measure improvement in the less tangible areas that are hard to measure, like creativity and persistence.