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About Speaker/expert

Dr. Francesca Borgonovi, a British Academy Global Professor is a Senior Policy Analyst at the OECD, responsible for analytical and developmental work in the OECD-led international assessments (PISA and PIAAC) and the Education for Inclusive Societies project. Her broader research interests include: gender and socio-economic disparities in academic achievement, student engagement and motivation, the outcomes of migrant and language minority students, and the role of education in shaping trust and attitudes towards migration.

About the talk

In 2018, about one in three (33%) 15-year-olds, on average across 52 high- and middle-income countries, played video games every day or almost every day. Among boys, that proportion was close to one in two (49%). Many video games that are popular among teenagers encourage inductive discovery as an effective problem-solving strategy. Reading instructions is something gamers seldom do. By contrast, gaming often involves early information foraging and expansive exploration behaviors. In this paper, we use data from the 2018 wave of the Programme for International Student Assessment to explore whether students who regularly play video-games (gamers) adopt behaviors that are typical of gaming while they complete a computer-based assessment of science. The assessment included interactive items designed to identify procedural science knowledge as well as static items designed to identify science content knowledge. We find that gamers do not differ from other students in science content knowledge and in reading fluency, a measure of how fast they read. Compared to other students, gamers spend less time reading instructions and display more active exploration behaviors in the assessment of items that include simulation tools. We examine differences in associations by country and, especially, by sex. We discuss the implications for education practice and for the design of computer-based assessments.

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