Educational assessments are typically performed in pencil and paper format or by means of computer-based testing programs. However, as more schools are introducing use of electronic tablets, such as iPads or android devices, to their students, a new means of testing and learning assessments has become available to educators. The iPad’s popularity stems primarily from its ease of use and functionality as well as the vast availability of learning applications that may help foster students’ learning progress and educational development. Utilizing games for assessment to determine children’s developmental and educational progress may be the new way to keep students engaged while making testing a less dreadful experience.
Assessment games for teachers are great tools for boosting individual learning and fostering the education process within the classroom. By means of simple math apps, for instance, teachers are not only able to assign specific assignments, activities, or even electronic worksheets, but receive immediate feedback of their students’ progress. Tracking students’ activities via tablet may also help teachers understand student thought progresses and integrate their findings into future classroom teaching methods to improve student learning. Using games for assessment may provide a clear picture of student needs and interests that teachers can then use to improve the overall classroom learning experience for their students. Items found on assessment are also no longer confined solely to learned, factual knowledge, but may also assess students’ levels of reasoning, individual problem solving skills, thought processes, and approach to mastering novel information.
Children of all ages also benefit from assessment games on electronic devices. Students are able to learn how to navigate a completely different learning platform by means of writing, clicking, scribbling, moving on-screen items, and saving their completed work. Learning games can promote independent learning in the classroom as well as reinforcing learned concepts at home. Games may not only peak children’s interest in learning and school subjects, such as math, but also provide them with engaging, stimulating new ways to understand and master new concepts. Children are also able to learn at their own pace with certain apps, such as math learning games that customize problem solving by assessing students’ individual skills and creating appropriate new problems that students can master based on previously completed levels. Immediate feedback of successful activity completion and mastery of individual learning levels that propel the student into new challenges may also help boost student confidence in their abilities and comprehension levels. Beautifully colorful graphics and visuals may also help alleviate some common student anxiety prior to or during test taking, making the assessment environment less threatening.
Game assessments may also allow educators to provide tests with personalized activities. Informal math assessments may be done via math apps that allow educators to create customized quizzes with a specific time limit and that randomly generate problems relevant to the student’s skill level. Math games assessment may prove to be perfect testing tool, since electronic games are easy to navigate and offer a different approach that may make math testing more fun for students. In addition, math games may not only be used for testing purposes, but also to help prepare students for assessments in advance by allowing them to practice sample problems similar in nature to those expected to be found on the assessment. Math game apps often include textbook overviews, review sheets, graphing functions, calculators, flash cards for formulas, and other reference materials to aid in the study process.
Many learning apps and games are designed to enhance and foster logical thinking skills, making them optimal for assessment use and engagement after assessments. Using iPad or android apps for educational games and learning allows assessment of children’s responsive feedback to different levels of challenging activities. Math apps are available for just about any age and grade level, providing opportunities for manipulating visual cues to solve addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division problems. The interactive game approach can also test children’s number recognition and comprehension of grade-level appropriate mathematical concepts.
What is great about using games assessment in an educational setting is that this type of testing may provide a more reliable and facilitated means of assessing younger children. For instance, testing preschoolers between 3 and 4 years of age can prove immensely challenging, since assessment results may be impacted by influential factors, such as children’s moods, lack of comprehension of testing instructions, anxiety, or distractions in the testing environment. Educational games assessment will provide a more naturalistic setting for student observation through fun activities that children are more likely to enjoy and focus on. Educational games can help determine children’s developmental and learning progress by allowing educators to analyze time spent on each activity, level of difficulty mastered, and creativity employed to complete novel tasks.
Formative assessment in math via educational games and applications facilitates differentiated learning by providing a virtual classroom experience and permitting teachers to involve one part of classroom students in assessment completions while focusing on working with another group of students simultaneously. There is a strong link between educational games and learning progress that demonstrates improved enrichment opportunities for students who have mastered certain activities by encouraging progression to the next level. Assessment-based games also provide excellent means of practice opportunities for students in a variety of subjects and help them learn how to engage in independent problem solving. Game assessments are also believed to remove some of the stereotype-based expectations on assessment results that may place children of a specific gender or of certain ethnic, racial, or economical backgrounds at risk for performing poorly on tests.
Of course, prior to replacing standardized assessments with app-based educational games, more information must be obtained on whether this new electronic approach to educational testing does yield improved test scores, succinct error analysis, and learning progress and how these variables correlate with the expected success rate on standardized assessments. Educators must establish clear guidelines and expectations for testing children on electronic gaming apps and ensure that children complete the assignments to the best of their abilities and knowledge without taking risks or guessing on individual items. When used correctly, educational game apps are efficient tools in collection information on student’s individual performance and educational progress.
With game and app developers consistently seeking new ways to improve electronic learning experiences and engage children in novel activities, the design of game apps that may be used solely for educational assessment purposes will likely become an attractive alternative to paper and pencil or computer-based testing. Assessment game developers will need to work in conjunction with educators and other educational experts to design new apps based on specific curricular topics and create games that help assess particular problem areas where learning and problem solving are concerned. Apps that allow children to show their work will help educators determine not only how students arrived at a particular answer, but also aid in identifying errors in thinking or approach as well as areas where further help may be necessary.
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