Reimagining Teachers’ Assessment Literacy

September 25, 2019

What does teachers’ assessment literacy mean in the era of big data and AI? How can we create data tools that help educators become fluent and informed users of data and AI-driven suggestions? 

In the Playful Journey Lab, we’ll tackle those questions and much more — thanks to a new grant award from the NSF Cyberlearning program. With this support, we will continue to study Shadowspect (shadowspect.org), our game-based assessment system.

While the possible benefits of games for assessment and learning are well-documented, assessment games have not yet been widely implemented in classrooms. Consequently, little is known about how teachers can use assessment models and data generated from digital games to provide personalized and timely feedback and make instructional adjustments. 

Through game-based assessment, we hope to offer more effective approaches to improve learning by fully utilizing data that reveal the development of student understanding over time. The Shadowspect game is designed to assess spatial reasoning, creativity, and persistence. It will do this by providing much richer data than simply spitting out a final score or grade. Instead, we will design performance and engagement metrics that illuminate cognitive processes and problem-solving patterns. Understanding deeper results requires a deeper knowledge of data and assessment, and the ability to interact with the data to see a picture of how a student or class is approaching a topic. In this project, we will not only come up with richly descriptive metrics and create interactive visualizations to explore them, we will also craft a learning experience for teachers. By interacting with and exploring their own students’ data, we want teachers to build an understanding of what game data can tell them about student thinking and begin to see how they can apply it to their own teaching practices.

This research project will be based on our core principle—learn from and with practitioners–and we will engage practitioners throughout the process. Over the course of this 2-year project, we will first learn from rockstar teachers who frequently use data-rich technologies to understand their practices and what features could make dashboard tools usable and useful. Then we will have frequent co-design, test, and iterate cycles with low fidelity prototypes to iteratively develop dashboard features aligned with teachers’ desires. At the end, we plan to have a set of prototypes that demonstrate innovative ways teachers can dive into data!

If you want to learn more about the project, please connect with us at playful.mit.edu/connect