News Column

ETS Research Behind GlassLab's Launch of Mars-based Grade School Game

May 21, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Education Letter -- Researchers from Educational Testing Service (ETS) worked with GlassLab and collaborators including NASA and the National Writing Project to develop Mars Generation One: Argubot Academy,a new tablet-based educational game for grades 6-8. The game scenario takes place on Mars in 2054, where students have to develop and defend arguments on social policy in the first city on the Red Planet.

http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnvar/20120110/DC33419LOGO

The game, which provides both instruction and assessment, is aligned with the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts, but also integrates Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) content.

GlassLab -- a collaboration involving ETS; Institute of Play; the Entertainment Software Association; Electronic Arts; Pearson's Center for Digital Data, Analytics & Adaptive Learning; and others -- recently released a preview of Episode 1 of the game at the Games for Change conference in New York City. The Teacher Tools, including assessment dashboards and class management tools, will launch this May, and Episode 2 is scheduled for release in time for the fall school start. The first game from GlassLab -- SimCityEDU: Pollution Challenge! --was released in November 2013.

"While Pollution Challenge! was built on the new SimCity gaming engine, Mars Generation One is built from scratch," says Tanner Jackson, a research scientist in the Cognitive & Learning Sciences area of ETS'sResearch & Development (R&D) division, and a member of ETS's GlassLab team. "We brought in the argumentation learning progressions that were developed by ETS's Cognitively Based Assessment of, for, and as Learning (CBAL) research initiative, and broke them down into smaller units that could guide the alignment of the game development with the Common Core State Standards."

GlassLab's developers and ETS's researchers applied the principles of Evidence Centered game Design (ECgD) when building Mars Generation One: Argubot Academy. Developers wanted to make sure that specific activities provide evidence linked to the CBAL learning progressions, and that it is possible to interpret game play and performance in terms of levels of learning.

The Argubot in the game's name reflects the fact that the arguments the players build will become embodied in robot assistants that battle each other. ETS's researchers worked closely with the game designers during the entire process, and students took part in testing the game to provide some evidence that it works as an assessment.

"We wanted to know if the game play reflected the students' argumentation skill more generally. To find evidence for that, we compared aspects of students' performances in the game with their results from solving CBAL tasks that get at similar aspects of argumentation," says Malcolm Bauer, a senior research scientist in ETS's R&D division, and part of the GlassLab team.

ETS's researchers will analyze feedback from the first version of the game over the summer and use those data when applying psychometric models. These models make it possible for Mars Generation One to function as a formative assessment that can inform students about how well they are doing, and inform the teacher about how the class is doing as a whole as well as how an individual student is doing.

"ETS wants to make sure that the emerging new types of assessments, like GlassLab's new game, build on solid research and support quality and equity in education," says Ida Lawrence, Senior Vice President in ETS's R&D division.

ETS has long experience in creating fair and valid educational assessments for a variety of platforms. The collaboration with GlassLab allows ETS researchers to bring their expertise in assessment development, cognitive and learning science, validity research and psychometrics to bear on a number of new and challenging issues surrounding game-based assessment. ETS researchers are involved in developing new assessment design and psychometric approaches and tools as part of the GlassLab collaboration.

Keywords for this news article include: Educational Testing Service.

Our reports deliver fact-based news of research and discoveries from around the world. Copyright 2014, NewsRx LLC


For more stories covering arts and entertainment, please see HispanicBusiness' Arts & Entertainment Channel



Source: Education Letter


Story Tools






HispanicBusiness.com Facebook Linkedin Twitter RSS Feed Email Alerts & Newsletters