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GaDOE's 'Keenville' game-based assessment wins national award

February 13, 2020 – Keenville, the Georgia Department of Education’s game-based formative assessment for first and second grades, was recognized in the “Noteworthy School Product” category of the 2020 Kids At Play interactive (KAPi) awards.

The KAPi awards recognize excellence and innovation in children’s digital media. Winners are chosen by a distinguished panel of independent jurors.

Keenville was developed by the Georgia Department of Education in partnership with Fablevision and the Georgia Center for Assessment as an innovative, game-based approach to formative assessment.

“At the Georgia Department of Education, we are committed to creating an assessment system that supports teaching and learning,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “Keenville allows teachers to assess their students’ progress without the pressure and demands of a traditional test. I commend our Assessment and Accountability team for their work to reimagine assessment and create tools that are student- and classroom-centered.”

Traditional tests are not developmentally appropriate for young learners, and too often capture only one moment in time. Game-based assessment provides an alternative that is research-based and adds value for students, educators and parents. In Keenville, Georgia students explore and customize a highly engaging world that presents real-life, yet playful, age- and grade-appropriate problem sets and critical thinking tasks. The game uniquely integrates foundational literacy and math concepts in a fun, engaging, story-based educational experience.

Student performance is captured in a user-friendly, actionable dashboard that gives teachers the information they need to understand where their students are in the learning continuum, where they need to go next, and what targeted support is necessary.

“Through Keenville, we’ve been able to provide a tool that is developmentally appropriate for young learners and helps teachers support student learning,” said Dr. Allison Timberlake, GaDOE’s Deputy Superintendent for Assessment and Accountability. “Georgia is leading the way in this work. I’m proud of my team for their ingenuity and effort, and grateful to our partners who’ve helped us make Keenville a reality.” 

In February 2019, Education Week published an in-depth spotlight on Keenville headlined How Digital Games Take the Stress out of Formative Tests. In January 2019, The Telegraph in Macon published an article highlighting Keenville implementation in the Bibb County School District.

They don’t even think that they’re learning,” a Bibb schools employee told the Telegraph’s reporter. “They think they’re playing a game, but they’re really learning. That’s a powerful tool for any level of learner and any teacher.”​ 

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