Performance assessment in serious games: Compensating for the effects of randomness

Wim Westera*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    This paper is about performance assessment in serious games. We conceive serious gaming as a process of player-lead decision taking. Starting from combinatorics and item-response theory we provide an analytical model that makes explicit to what extent observed player performances (decisions) are blurred by chance processes (guessing behaviors). We found large effects both theoretically and practically. In two existing serious games random guess scores were found to explain up to 41% of total scores. Monte Carlo simulation of random game play confirmed the substantial impact of randomness on performance. For valid performance assessments, be it in-game or post-game, the effects of randomness should be included to produce re-calibrated scores that can reasonably be interpreted as the players´ achievements.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)681-697
    Number of pages17
    JournalEducation and Information Technologies
    Issue number3
    Early online date20 Aug 2014
    Publication statusPublished - May 2016


    • serious gaming
    • performance assessment
    • performance
    • assessment
    • cut score
    • computer-assisted lelarning
    • monte carlo
    • randomness
    • serious
    • gaming


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