A new study revealed that online gamers who play regularly have better scores in math, science and reading tests, showing a positive link between online gaming and academic performance.

The study, conducted by associate professor Alberto Posso from the School of Economics, Finance and Marketing of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia, analyzed data from test results acquired by the Program for International Student Assessment.

PISA tested more than 12,000 15-year-old students in Australia for their proficiencies in math, reading and science, while also collecting data on their online activities.

According to the study, students who play online games almost daily scored 15 points above the average in math tests. Avid online gamers performed even better in science tests, with scores of 17 points above the average.

Now, before all students drop their textbooks and instead log on to play online games, it should be noted that the methodology of the study does not prove that playing video games is the cause of the above-average test scores.

Posso suggested that students who play online games are exposed to puzzles that need to be solved, which trains them in the general skills of math, science and reading that are taught in the classroom.

However, an explanation from the other side is also feasible: students who are good at math, science and reading are also the ones who enjoy playing online games, as they have the necessary skills to excel in them.

As such, the study should only be considered as proof of a correlation between playing online video games and improved academic performance. The study does not prove that regularly playing video games causes improvements in test scores, or vice versa.

In addition, the data was collected from 2012, which means that the information may not accurately reflect the current trends and practices used by teenagers for online video games.

However, the deputy head of the Federation University Australia's School of Education, Nicola Johnson, said that she was not surprised that the study saw a connection between online gaming and better academic performance, as many video games involve strategizing, goal setting, problem solving and regular practice for players to develop their skills. This mindset, according to Johnson, could correspond with the same sense of learning and achievement that students look for in classrooms.

While the study is not definitive proof of the positive benefit of video games, educators have increasingly turned to the platform to engage students in learning. Minecraft: Education Edition was rolled out in June, and Civilization V's educational version CivilizationEDU is being prepared for launch next year.

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