New Digital Energy Game, the Use of Games to Influence Attitudes, Interests, and Student Achievement in Science

This article explores using games to improve science achievement.

Abstract: 

To assess how the use of games contributes to students' science learning, interests, and attitudes about science. Methodology: The study sample was middle and high-school students in a large urban school district in 2012. A total of 1191 students participated in the game. The majority of students were Hispanic females of low socio-economic backgrounds. Students were recruited by science teachers at their schools. A mixed-method, pre-posttest design was used to measure students' science knowledge, attitudes, and interests. The instruments were piloted in the previous year with a comparable student group, and were found to be reliable measures. The instruments were distributed, using a web-based format, to students in their science classes. Items on the science test were developed based on state standards. Students were offered incentives to participate in the game. Results: Findings from a paired sample of 391 students revealed a statistically significant increase in the number of science test items answered correctly from pre- to posttests. Eta squared results indicated a moderate effect size. There was also a statistically significant increase in the overall mean interest rating, but a decrease in the mean attitude rating over the study period. Pearson's r revealed a strong, positive correlation between students' interests and attitudes about science. Conclusions: There was evidence that, as students' interests in science increased, their attitudes about science increased. Moreover, as students' pre-interests and attitudes about science increased, their post science assessment scores increased. Recommendations: There were limitations to the study, including the lack of a comparison group who did not participate in the game. Nevertheless, the findings suggest immediate benefits in the use of games to improve middle and high-school students' science performance. Future studies might investigate the long-term impact of the game on students' science achievement and career pathways.

Publication Type: 
Report
Authors: 
Venita Holmes
Year of Publication: 
2012
Journal, Book, Magazine or Other Publication Title: 
Institute of Education Sciences
Publisher: 
ERIC
Date Published: 
Thursday, May 31, 2012
Place Published: 
ERIC
Publication Language: 
English
ISSN Number: 
n/a
ISBN Number: 
n/a

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