A Digital Wooden Tabletop Maze for Estimation of Cognitive Capabilities in Children

  • Seethu M. ChristopherEmail author
  • Corrie C. Urlings
  • Henri van den Bongarth
  • Karien M. Coppens
  • Petra P. M. Hurks
  • Lex Borghans
  • Rico Möckel
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11876)


Standardized tests play an important role in assessing a child’s cognitive capabilities. The results of such tests are used e.g. in schools and kindergartens to analyze and support the development of the tested child. Unfortunately, with classical standardized tests often only limited information on a child’s behavior can be documented even by a professional observer. Obtaining detailed information would require automated data recording procedures. Also, standardized tests typically rely on well-controlled and thus rather artificial environments. As a result, young children age (e.g. with an age below 7) might not be able to fully understand the test instructions, feel uncomfortable being tested outside their natural environment, and thus test results become less relevant. Computer-based stealth-assessments that e.g. use a gaming environment to be fun and to hide the assessment from children might present a valid alternative. However, for children of lower age computer-based tests are not easily applicable due to technological boundaries. In this paper we thus explore an alternative approach: physical game devices with a look and feel similar to toys typically provided to children of their age group but that embed the electronics required for computer-based stealth testing. As a result, the game device – in our case a wooden tabletop maze – combines advantages of standardized computer-free and computer-based assessments. The device allows for stealth assessments in less structured environments without creating technological boundaries for the children.


Intelligent games design Digital toy Cognitive assessments Digital maze Serious games 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Seethu M. Christopher
    • 1
    Email author
  • Corrie C. Urlings
    • 2
  • Henri van den Bongarth
    • 3
  • Karien M. Coppens
    • 2
  • Petra P. M. Hurks
    • 4
  • Lex Borghans
    • 2
  • Rico Möckel
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Science and EngineeringMaastricht UniversityMaastrichtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.School of Business and EconomicsMaastricht UniversityMaastrichtThe Netherlands
  3. 3.IDEEMaastricht UniversityMaastrichtThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Faculty of Psychology and NeuroscienceMaastricht UniversityMaastrichtThe Netherlands

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