Political Science Education and the Profession

Level Up: Using Gamification to Improve Student Evaluation and Motivation

Jarrod Kelly North Carolina Wesleyan College
Research spanning decades has shown that grading reduces student motivation and performance. In an effort to overcome the negative effects associated with grading, I have developed a novel method of student evaluation, which I call Reflected Progression Grading (RPG). The RPG approach incorporates motivational elements, inspired by popular games and gamification research, to encourage autonomous motivation and performance-approach goals among students in a general education course. This paper describes the RPG method in detail and presents the results of two studies examining the efficacy of this approach. The initial results are encouraging: the course failure rate was greatly reduced and students reported feeling greater perceived competence. In addition, large majorities of students reported feeling more autonomous and motivated. Likewise, most students expressed a preference for this type of grading over more traditional methods. Overall, this gamified approach seems to overcome many of the negative effects associated with traditional evaluation.