The Impact of Gamified Assessment

April 13, 2018 Richard Justenhoven
gamified assessment

How candidates react to gamified assessments

The 22nd annual congress of the society of applied psychology for Germany (the GWP) was held in Wernigerode, Germany last month. We were delighted to present some of the research by our scientific team. This blog article summarises one of these papers and looks at the impact of gamified assessment on the motivation and performance of test takers and their perception of the hiring company.

In her presentation at GWP, Alina Siemsen drew on a study carried out by us in conjunction with the Westcoast University of Applied Sciences.

The study explored three areas:

  • if and how gamification affects individual differences for ‘motivation’ and ‘flow’;
  • the equivalence of traditional and gamified assessment;
  • the impact of gamified assessment on candidates’ perception of the hiring organisation itself.

The study
To each of the 73 participants, the team administered a test battery of 3 cut-e online tests (logical reasoning, ability to concentrate and numeracy). For half the participant group, the test battery was administered as a traditional, classical test battery and, for the other, as a battery of gamified assessment in which the tests were embedded into a ‘cover story’.

Before completing the tests, the researchers asked the participants to think about applying to a fictitious company and to look at its website. After the tests, they completed questionnaires measuring the constructs of organisational attractiveness, test motivation, fairness perception and flow experience.

The results suggest that gamifying a test in this way (that is, adding elements of a games to a standardised assessment) doesn’t impact motivation, flow, or the perception of the hiring company. It also has no significant impact on test performance.

The researchers do, however, point out that this specific study looked at ‘gamification’ as in embedding tests within a cover story – rather than gamifying them tests themselves. The study was also with a relatively small student size and used a low stakes situation. They conclude that a cover story may not be enough gamification to really make a difference, and that it should be either accompanied or replaced by more typical gaming elements such as including levels and animations in the test themselves. They suggest that further studies are needed using a within-person design (to account for the interpersonal differences in performance) and also a sample from a high-stakes situation in which test motivation may be higher.

We are delighted to take part in conferences and congresses such as GWP at which we not only share our research and findings, but also are able to discuss with and learn from others. Later in April we shall be presenting a number of papers and hosting panels at SIOP (Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology) in Chicago, US.

About the Author

Richard Justenhoven

Richard Justenhoven is the product development director within Aon's Assessment Solutions. A leading organizational psychologist, Richard is an acknowledged expert in the design, implementation and evaluation of online assessments and a sought after speaker about such topics.

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