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ERIC Number: EJ1214724
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-2375-5636
Fat Points and Fairness: Inserting a Minor Game Mechanic in the Syllabus
Heinzen, Thomas E.; Ivezaj, Stephanie
Journal of Applied Testing Technology, v20 spec iss 1 2019
The hallmark of a well-designed game is player persistence -- the same characteristic professors hope to cultivate in their students, especially in the face of the student retention crisis. The four studies reported here include an archival study, a focus group, and two experiments. They each test a minor game mechanic that may have a small but reliable influence on students' academic motivation: the total number of possible points that may be earned in a course. Students framed the number as an issue of fairness (or unfairness) related to the course's grading rubric. In Study 1, an archival study of PsycINFO found an increasing number of references to game design. In Study 2, a focus group of mathematics students reacted negatively to courses with very few possible points. In Studies 3 and 4, experiments indicated that students associated excessive possible points ("fat" points) with fairness and few possible points ("thin" points) with unfairness and difficulty. If such a minor, easily manipulated game mechanic can influence students' perceptions, then more sophisticated game mechanics may be able to induce even greater motivation.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A