Proceedings of the 3rd european conference on games based learning pages:404-411
3rd European Conference on Games Based Learning Graz, AUSTRIA, OCT 12-13, 2009
Effective assessment of practical skills is a challenge for large-size classes. To reduce the time-consuming burden of staff members without compromising the quality of the assessment, a case study was set up to investigate whether games can be considered as suitable and valid tools for summative assessment. Using a traditional exam as bench-mark, a boardgame format was experimentally trialed to assess students' knowledge, skills and attitudes at the end of a first aid course in a pre-service teacher training programme. Twenty-eight master students were randomly assigned into two groups. Two assessments, a game-based assessment and a traditional test, were applied on both groups in opposite order. One group started with the game, the other group was assessed by the traditional test. This latter consisted of a paper-and-pencil test in combination with a skills assessment. Both parts were assessed by an expert evaluator. The written test was marked using a scoring key, the skills assessment was scored using an observation matrix. In the game-based assessment, the focal point was peer assessment. Students were placed in the role of judge over other students' efforts. Similarities between both assessment types included individual testing, content, type of questions (true/false, short answer and essay questions) and demonstrations, and the use of checklists for skills assessment. The assessment methods differed in type of assessor (peers or expert), assessment format (written or oral test, both in combination with skills assessment) and feedback availability. A survey investigating students' preferences on playing games was taken just before the first assessment and analysis indicated that most students preferred to play games in general. Both groups performed equally in the game-based assessment as well as in the traditional test, in spite of opposite order of the assessments. Overall, students performed significantly better on the game-based assessment than on the traditional test, presuming beneficial effects of gameplay, peer assessment, peer feedback and oral defence.