Gaming for Grades: Gaming as a Pastime, School Performance and Self-efficacy
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Playing video games has become an increasingly popular way of spending leisure time, especially among youth, in the Netherlands. It is not without its controversies: children may be prone to addiction and spend less time outside. On the other hand, it may also have its benefits: scientific literature suggest, among others, increased problem-solving skills, a larger vocabulary, and increased literacy. Additionally, it may be the case that various types of games may have different effects on the various language skills: online gaming, for instance, involves social interaction and thus may improve conversational skills such as listening and speaking. The goal of this study was to examine a potential relationship between playing video games as a pastime and school performance, to examine differences between types of games and the relationships with the various language skills, and to examine a potential mediating effect of self-efficacy on the relationship between gaming and school performance. This study investigated gaming behaviour among 154 children in secondary school aged approximately fifteen years old. Their school grades were compared to their gaming behaviour, as well as their self-efficacy, which were based on self-report via a questionnaire, in relation to English class and tasks. Group comparisons showed that gamers outperformed non-gamers in mean English grade, listening tests and reading tests. Also, a significant mediating effect of self-efficacy was found on the relationship between gaming and school performance. Additionally, it was found that playing video games and scores for listening tests significantly correlate. Finally, both voiced as well as written communication online seem to have a significant positive correlation with mean grades for English. Further studies may examine the nature of these relationships and determine potential causal relationships. In the end, positive relationships and/or effects may show a potential role for implementing video games as a means to learning a language.