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.


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: 
Venita Holmes
Year of Publication: 
Journal, Book, Magazine or Other Publication Title: 
Institute of Education Sciences
Date Published: 
Thursday, May 31, 2012
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