Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


School of Education


Learning and Instruction


Learning & Instruction EdD

First Advisor

Patricia Busk

Second Advisor

Devanshi Unadkat

Third Advisor

Helen Maniates


The purpose of this meta-analysis was to investigate the effectiveness of the use of games as part of mathematics instruction on academic achievement in grades Kindergarten to 12 in the United States. There were 17 studies selected for investigation published from 2010 to 2023 that focused on game-based learning and mathematics. This meta-analysis fills the gap in the knowledge by examining classes that are using game based learning across three platforms of instruction: nondigital games, digital on computers, and mobile devices. The findings from this meta-analysis suggest that the usage of game-based learning in a classroom has a positive effect on students’ mathematics achievement in addition to the suggestion that the findings can apply to more academic domains beyond mathematics. The moderator variables that were examined in this inquiry were category of games (if a game used was classified as a serious game, an educational game, or a simulation), game platform (if the digital game was played on a computer or a mobile device), the students’ grade level, gender, and frequency of the game-based learning activities. The overall effect size of using game-based learning in the classroom was 0.30 and there were statistically significant findings regarding gender comparisons and grade level comparisons. Out of the 14 moderator analyses conducted, 12 were found to be of statistical significance. One of the difficulties identified was classifying studies that used mobile devices given that most studies used the term “apps,” which is not sufficient for classification as iii one does not know if apps referred to the type of digital device or an app on an iPad, phone, computer, or other technological device. The designing of lessons plan with game-based learning activities requires several factors. Beyond just the technology selected, the type of game and if the game required any modifications that would need additional investigation. A teacher’s familiarity with the game used in the classroom also would be a benefit. Additionally, educators seeking to use game-based learning should include considerations for how the instructional time is used for game-based learning. The findings of this study provide suggestions for the length of time students should spend on a game and how often games should be used for learning. The findings from this meta-analysis provide the implication that game-based learning could be used beyond just mathematic education, as statistical significance was found regarding problem-solving activities. In addition, future research should consider the definitions of in the field of game-based learning and the changing technology platforms. This dissertation, written under the direction of the candidate’s dissertation committee and approved by the members of the committee, has been presented to and accepted by the Faculty of the School of Education in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Education. The content and research methodologies presented in this work represent the work of the candidate alone.