Children could be graded on FIFA20, Minecraft, Fortnite video games due to coronavirus closures

Education ministry dossier considers Playstation and PC video games as way of grading students due to COVID-19 school closures

This story, published for April Fool's Day, is of course... just a harmless joke!

Children aged seven to 14 could be graded according to their achievements on popular Playstation games and other online multiplayer role-playing video games, due to the schools’ suspension from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Advisors to the Maltese education ministry suggested that games like FIFA 20, Minecraft, Fortnite, Rocket League, F1 2019, Need For Speed, The Crew 2, and Little Big Planet 3 amongst others, could be used for grading students instead of annual exams.

According to a dossier seen by MaltaToday, the ministry was asked to consider allowing primary and secondary school teachers to assess their students according to accomplishments in “mock leagues” for sports simulation games like FIFA 20; or creativity in sandbox video games like Minecraft.

Children who opt for this grading system will be eligible to have 50% of their annual assessment, graded according to their achievements in video game settings determined by their teachers.

“Using age-appropriate video game categories, for example Fortnite for primary-level students and FIFA20 for secondary school students, teachers will devise leagues and campaigns to assess capabilities of players. Games such as Minecraft can be used to propose scenarios that require creative, problem-solving abilities.

“There is some evidence that for young children, educational video games promote student engagement. Video games are inherently incentive-based systems with the player being rewarded for solving a problem or completing a mission – as a result, video games train a systematic way of thinking as well as an understanding for how different variables affect each other,” the advisors told the ministry in their dossier.

The dossier has angered veteran education ministry officials, one source blasting the idea as “foolish”.

“The minister is actively considering the proposal, believing that video games can replace traditional learning frameworks. Students will spend the rest of the school year playing video games instead of reading and revising their work.”

A spokesperson for the education ministry has confirmed the existence of the document: “This is one of several proposals advanced to the minister for his consideration on how best to tackle the grading of students’ accomplishments while schools remain shut due to COVID-19. It’s still early days and April has only just started. We are assessing the matter from day to day.”