We integrate the rigor of learning and data sciences with the demands of product development to design transformative learning and assessment experiences.


We help clients design effective and engaging ways for learners to dynamically interact with complex content and concepts, and develop 21st century skills, drawing on the latest learning science research and technologies.  

Assessment Design

We believe the best assessments serve learners and their goals. We combine evidence centered design with innovative methods to tackle hard-to-measure competencies like problem-solving, communication, and complex content knowledge.

Research design

Whether in a collaborative or third-party capacity, we design and carry out rigorous research and evaluation studies to answer pressing questions and demonstrate your impacts to key stakeholders, aligned to your goals and objectives.

Riconscente, M. (October 31, 2014). How data and dashboards make learning visible. Invited Web log post to Graphite. [PDF]

"Have you seen those ads showing people walking around with "text" bubbles floating over their heads, revealing what they're thinking? Imagine if a teacher could look up and see text bubbles over her students’ heads as they worked through problems. The bubbles would show where they were struggling, where they were understanding, and give suggestions of what to do next. Imagine if students’ learning could be that immediate and accessible to teachers..."

Riconscente, M., (2012). Plug in, chill out, managing emotions through games. Games for Change conference. New York, NY. [View video of the presentation]

You're trying to outrun an angry spirit, but as your heart beats faster, you slow down and the catacomb goes dark... This is DOJO, a 3d game that integrates biofeedback into a game challenge with the aim of teaching urban youth healthy ways to deal with fear, frustration and sadness. DOJO is the hard-won result of a collaboration among game designers, academics, and social scientists. Come see the game in action, and get the inside scoop on the pitfalls and power of using biofeedback to engage players in a better life, on screen and on the street.

Fishman, B., Riconscente, M., Snider, R., Tsai, T., & Plass, J. (2015). Empowering educators: Supporting student progress in the classroom with digital games. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan

If digital games are to play a key role in classroom instruction, they must support core instructional activities. Formative assessment — a set of techniques used by teachers to monitor, measure, and support student progress and learning during instruction — is a core practice of successful classrooms. The A-GAMES project (Analyzing Games for Assessment in Math, ELA/ Social Studies, and Science) studied how teachers actually use digital games in their teaching to support formative assessment.

Riconscente, M. M. (2013). Results from a controlled study of the iPad fractions game Motion Math. Games and Culture, 8(4), 186-214.*

In 2011, Designs for Learning conducted the first experimental study of an iPad learning app. The study, which received a “Top Paper” award from Meaningful Play, found that playing Motion Math 20 minutes a day for five days improved students’ fractions knowledge and attitudes significantly in comparison with a control group.

Mislevy, R. J., & Riconscente, M. M. (2006). Evidence-centered assessment design. In S. M. Downing & T. M. Haladyna (Eds.), Handbook of test development (pp. 61-90). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.*

Educational assessment is at heart an exercise in evidentiary reasoning. From a handful of things that students say, do, or make, we want to draw inferences about what they know, can do, or have accomplished more broadly. Evidence-centered assessment design (ECD) is a framework that makes explicit the structures of assessment arguments, the elements and processes through which they are instantiated, and the interrelationships among them. This chapter provides an overview of ECD, highlighting the ideas of layers in the process, structures and representations within layers, and terms and concepts that can be used to guide the design of assessments of practically all types. Examples are drawn from the Principled Assessment Design in Inquiry project. 

Riconscente, M. M. (2014). Teacher effects on Latino high-school students’ interest, self-efficacy, and achievement in mathematics. Journal of Experimental Education, 82(1),51-73.*

The study examined the effects of teacher caring, teacher content explanations, and teacher interest promotion on Latino students’ interest, self-efficacy, and achievement in mathematics. Participants in the year-long study were 326 Latino 9th- and 10th-grade students attending a large urban high school in southern California. Teacher variables made unique contributions to students’ interest, self-efficacy, and achievement after controlling for demographics and initial levels of interest and self-efficacy. 

Riconscente, M. M., Kamarainen, A., & Honey, M. (2013). STEM Badges: Current Terrain and the Road Ahead. New York: New York Hall of Science.

As Deputy Director of Research for SciPlay at the New York Hall of Science, Dr. Riconscente led an in-depth study of the current state of badges, funded by the National Science Foundation. The final report summarizes work to date on badges–including conceptualizations, rationale, systems–and identifies challenges as well as opportunities for STEM-related badges. The report was informed by expert panel review, as well as feedback from a gathering of over 100 national leaders—representing K12 education, technology industry, learning sciences, higher education, informal science, and education policy— who provided critical feedback on an earlier draft report.