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Video game touted for raising fourth grade test scores

A new program, centered on video game playing, could be the reason why writing scores are up at a Rocky Mount elementary school.

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ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. — Testing is a big part of a child's education. For those who struggle – a Rocky Mount school might have found a solution.
A new program, centered on video game playing, could be the reason why fourth grade writing scores are up at Williford Elementary School.

For the past three years, two days a week, 45-minutes a day, fourth grade students at Williford have logged on to Quest Atlantis, a video game where players move through virtual worlds.

Educators, like Nathaniel Moses, say the students use math, science, reading and writing while playing the game.

"Anything that we can do to keep kids' interest while they are in school,” Moses said of using the program.

Moses said Quest Atlantis has made all the difference at Williford. Two years ago, less than 30 percent of the school's fourth grade students tested proficient in writing. That number is now more than 60 percent.

"They are more interested in writing,” Moses said.

However, in that same time period, other elementary schools in Rocky Mount made similar gains in writing without using Quest Atlantis.

“We haven't done a full-blown study on what is happening in the state, but every story we are getting back is children are jumping three grade levels in two months,” George Newman, Quest Atlantis promoter, said.

Quest Atlantis is being tested in 26 North Carolina counties. It is paid for by corporate sponsors.

Developers hope to expand to schools all over the state. Then, start-up costs for school systems would be around $1,500 a classroom.


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