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Assessment Games

Thomas Smith  (Lead Game Designer, Roblox)

Location: Room 207, South Hall

Date: Wednesday, March 22

Time: 11:30 am - 12:30 pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass, Summits Pass, Expo Pass, Audio Pass, Independent Games Summit Pass

Topic: Advocacy, Design

Format: Lecture

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: All

Games are fun entertainment. Tests are boring but useful. What if we combined the best parts of each?

Our group builds assessment games to measure cognitive skills. When you apply to certain jobs at Roblox, you get a link to a game. After about 30 minutes playing an interactive 3D puzzle-strategy game, we can say something definitive about your strength in a certain cognitive skill—such as systems thinking, creative problem solving, or critical thinking.

And it's working: Our most recent assessment has a internal reliability metric of .93, which is considered excellent by industry standards.

From a game design perspective, building these assessment games is an interesting and complex problem. Many of the standard constraints such as monetization and retention can be ignored, but are replaced by exciting new constraints. Gameplay is built to elicit telemetry that says something meaningful about cognitive skills, but hopefully is still fun and engaging.


Attendees will learn how games can be used for lots of weird things, and using games for weird things can lead to new and fun challenges. Working with people from very disparate backgrounds can also create fun challenges. When you're faced with a fun challenge, you need to take that responsibility seriously. Understand where your normal game design tools need to be thrown away, and/or used in creative new ways.

Intended Audience

This is for game developers interested in new innovative ways games can be used to understand what's going on in people's heads. Educational game developers interested in measuring their impact. Educators interested in assessment science and new ways to approach testing.