MIT STEP Lab Presents


A game-based assessment for geometry and spatial reasoning


The MIT Education Arcade, in collaboration with the Teaching Systems Lab, is creating a game-based assessment system that gives students and teachers access to ongoing authentic assessments that measure multiple learner outcomes in a deep and robust way. We are working to re-envision the role of formative assessment in math classrooms using digital games as a vehicle to assess learners’ growth in core fundamental knowledge as well as in cognitive and non-cognitive skills, such as persistence and creativity. We will do this by using an ongoing game-based assessment model that doesn’t rely on single observations and single types of game mechanics, but rather gathers data continuously over time and ubiquitously across contexts and standards. The psychometric qualities of the assessment results will be researched so that ultimately the assessment system could replace tests, and the implementation model of short, frequent interactions will make it feasible to integrate into classrooms. Our goal with this project is to not only create one game-based assessment system, but to develop a process whereby this type of tool will be more feasible to design and build, in order to reshape classroom assessment practices.


The game we are building, called Shadowspect, addresses the topic area of geometric measurement and dimension, including the relationship between 2D and 3D shapes. As they work through a sequence of puzzles, students will be able to demonstrate their conceptual understanding of geometry and their spatial reasoning skills by imagining and building shapes to solve modeling problems. The game tasks are open-ended enough that players can solve problems in multiple ways, but constrained enough to yield interactions and choices that can feed assessment models. In addition, in the game’s sandbox mode players will be able to use their imaginations to freely explore the properties of 3D shapes and build elaborate constructions, which will enable us to assess elements of their creativity and creative process as well.

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For information on how teachers can get involved in our pilot project, visit

Project Specifics


7-10th grade geometry students

Content Area




Project Contact

Louisa Rosenheck