ETS Researchers Connect Games and Assessment in “Manual” For Designers

Tom Ewing

Princeton, N.J. (February 7, 2014) —Assessments embedded in game-based formats are the current rage in education circles. But, how does one go about framing and designing such tests? That question and many others are answered in a new publication, Psychometric Considerations in Game-Based Assessment.

This new white paper on game-based assessment design is the result of collaboration between five researchers from Educational Testing Service's Research & Development (R&D) division, and experts from Institute of Play (IOP), Electronic Arts (EA) and Pearson.

The white paper grew out of GlassLab, a collaboration between ETS, IOP, EA and Pearson with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates and MacArthur Foundations. The first five chapters lay the foundation and explain key principles for game-based assessment. The white paper presents a conceptual framework for assessment design, and has chapters that describe how the conceptual framework for assessment design – including evidence-centered design (ECD) – can be applied to the design of game-based and other innovative types of assessments. The final chapter lays out a model for evidence-centered game design (ECgD,) which integrates ECD with prevailing design processes in the gaming industry.

“Much of what we write about emerged from this work,” says lead writer Robert J. Mislevy, who holds the Frederic Lord Research Chair at ETS. “It lays out a game-based-assessment design framework based on concepts, tools, and processes for game and assessment design respectively.”

Mislevy's ETS co-authors are Andreas Oranje, Malcolm I. Bauer, Alina A. von Davier, and Jiangang Hao. Other authors include Seth Corrigan and Erin Hoffman, IOP; Kristen DiCerbo, Pearson; and Michael John, EA.

GlassLab released its first educational game on November 7, 2013 – SimCityEDU: Pollution Challenge! The game combines both learning and assessment in a formative setting. Several more games are under development at GlassLab, where ETS researchers lead the assessment design.

Psychometric Considerations in Game-Based Assessment is available as a free download and as a Print-on-Demand book through It can be seen as a companion to the essay, Three things game designers need to know about assessment, which Mislevy, along with John T. Behrens, Kristen E. DiCerbo, Dennis C. Frezzo, and Patti West, wrote in 2012.

The white paper will be a valuable resource for assessment designers and measurement specialists, and help them in their work with game designers, artists, teachers, and psychologists.

Download a free copy of Psychometric Considerations in Game-Based Assessment here:

This site will also provide a link for those who would like to order a print copy of Psychometric Considerations in Game-Based Assessment.

About GlassLab

A project of Institute of Play, GlassLab brings together leaders in commercial games and experts in learning and assessment to leverage digital games as powerful, data-rich learning and formative assessment environments. The Lab represents a groundbreaking collaboration between Institute of Play, the Entertainment Software Association, Electronic Arts, Educational Testing Service, Pearson's Center for Digital Data, Analytics & Adaptive Learning and others. GlassLab is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. More information is available at