Archived Information

Recommendation - 2.3

All learners will have engaging and empowering learning experiences both in and outside of school that prepare them to be active, creative, knowledgeable, and ethical participants in our globally networked society.
To meet this goal, we recommend the following action:

2.3 Recommendation: Conduct research and development that explore how gaming technology, simulations, collaboration environments, and virtual worlds can be used in assessments to engage and motivate learners and to assess complex skills and performances embedded in standards.

Interactive technologies can support measuring complex performances that cannot be assessed with conventional testing formats. Such technologies, especially games, also have the advantage of being highly engaging because they provide immediate performance feedback so that players always know how they are doing. The Department of Education should provide a clearinghouse of information for states, districts, and schools about current research and evaluation on new forms of technology-based learning and assessment. Assessment and interactive technology experts should collaborate to explore assessment systems embedded in games and other interactive technologies. States and districts should consider adopting these systems as they become validated and available.

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Is this an attempt to push out more traditional models of authentic and performance assessments such as portfolios, collaborative projects, and social networks in favor of more "off the shelf" commercial gaming and/or simulation products?

I'm a huge supporter of the use of games and simulations in education, and this topic is "hot" at the moment, but should not be the only form of "non conventional testing" included in the NETP. I encourage collaboration with technology experts and others from outside of a school district or state, and I would even go so far as to applaud the DOE's efforts to make research and evaluation of these new forms of assessment available to school districts. However, a greater push for games and simulation types of assessment should not be made at a loss of other forms of unconventional assessment (i.e. Webquests, problem-based learning projects, etc.).