If digital games are to play a key role in classroom instruction, they must support core instructional activities. Formative assessment — a set of techniques used by teachers to monitor, measure, and support student progress and learning during instruction — is a core practice of successful classrooms. The A-GAMES project (Analyzing Games for Assessment in Math, ELA/ Social Studies, and Science) studied how teachers actually use digital games in their teaching to support formative assessment.
Our study was conducted in two parts: part one was a nationwide survey of K-12 teachers to investigate common formative assessment practices, common game use practices, and the intersection of the two. Part two consisted of observations and interviews with 30 middle grades (5-8) teachers in the New York City area who volunteered to use one of eleven games as part of their teaching in Spring 2014. The survey offers a “mile high” picture of what teachers are doing with games related to formative assessment. The observations and interviews focused on how teachers used (or did not use) various features within each game that had the potential to be used for formative assessment. Hence, the case studies are organized around these formative assessment features, instead of individual teachers or games. The study is exploratory in nature, and is not intended to compare or gauge the effectiveness of games, game features, or approaches to formative assessment.