The obsession of educational institutions to measure academic achievement (Bryan and Clegg 2006), has led to a system of standardised assessment practices, which has seen educators increasingly becoming reluctant to adopt a constructivist and novel stance towards assessment, in view of ‘the demand for institutional and external reliability and accountability’ (Whitelock and Watt 2008, p 151). As such, the presented research has evaluated the effect of an innovative game-informed approach to assessment using digital technologies, based on the game-informed assessment framework which was specifically designed and developed for the purpose of this dissertation.
Although identified threats to validity and reliability (Coe 2012, Hedges 2012) have been addressed by a series of mitigation measures prior to the commencement of the research (as discussed in the Research Design and Methods section), the study is still restricted by a number of limitations. The main weakness in the research design is the relatively small sample size (n=30) and the absence of random allocation or explicit matching of the participants vis-à-vis the intervention groups, which might in turn introduce a source of selection bias (Robson 2011). In fact, the presence of intact groups and the lack of a stratified sample, limit the generalisability of the conclusions reached to a wider student population (Coe 2012). Additionally, the dual role of the teacher-researcher could be considered a cause of conflict and subjectivity (Eisner 1992). Another possible limitation is due to the presence of other extraneous variables, like motivation and engagement, which were not controlled for experimentally and/or statistically.
Since the presented research is informed by an innovative theoretical model, both in its conceptualisation and implementation, a number of interesting avenues for educational researchers arise. Based on the evidence, possible implications and identified limitations presented in this dissertation, further research is recommended through the testing and refining of existing principles and by extending the framework through more guiding principles. It would also be useful to evaluate the game-informed approach to assessment presented in this dissertation, in other subjects, at other year-levels, across gender differences, using other game-informed interventions and on new constructs of interest (like motivation and engagement). Finally, a more longitudinal approach to research could establish stronger causality and long-term effects associated with game-informed assessment (Cohen et al 2007).
The findings from this research contribute interesting observations and understating to the body of knowledge and practice in the field of digital education. More than a pedagogical novelty, the game-informed assessment framework represents an attempt of philosophical shift; from a distinct and intrusive affiliation, towards a more comprehensive and inclusive mutual relationship between assessment and learning. The proposed theoretical and resulting empirical evidence have the potential to inform future thinking and practice in the scholarly areas of games and assessment. The research and findings provide a suggestive and firm foundation for future academic studies, and although not immediately generalisable, are aimed towards a paradigm shift in assessment theory and practice.