The Impact of Project-Based Learning on Social Studies and Literacy Learning in Low-Income Schools
Brief based on the following paper:
Duke, N.K., Halvorsen, A-L., Strachan, S.L., Kim, J., & Konstantopoulos, S. (June 2020). Putting PjBL to the Test: The Impact of Project-Based Learning on Second Graders’ Social Studies and Literacy Learning and Motivation in Low-SES School Settings. American Educational Research Journal. doi.org/10.3102/0002831220929638
This brief describes the findings of a study into the effects of a project-based learning (PBL) social studies curriculum, Project PLACE, on social studies and literacy achievement among second graders in low-income communities. The study by University of Michigan and Michigan State researchers found the PBL curriculum led to gains in social studies and informational reading. Students using the curriculum experienced a 63-percent gain in social studies learning, translating to five to six months of increased learning. The approach resulted in a 23-percent gain in informational reading, or an additional two months of learning for the year.
Project PLACE calls for a combination of teacher-led and student-led activities all driven by authentic purpose. An important contribution of the study is that it makes the case for the benefits of PBL in high-poverty schools. Research has shown students in low-income schools have fewer opportunities than more privileged students to engage in inquiry-based, student-directed activities.
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Including teachers in the social justice equation of project-based learning: A response to Lee & Grapin
Adah Miller, E., Makori, H., Akgun, S., Miller, C., Li, T., & Codere, S. (2022). Including teachers in the social justice equation of project-based learning: A response to Lee & Grapin. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 1– 7.Learn More
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Harnessing a cluster randomized controlled trial, we estimated the impact on students’ advanced placement (AP) examination performance of a project-based learning (PBL) approach to AP compared with a lecture-based AP approach.Learn More
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Motivating Teaching, Sustaining Change in Practice
Miller, E.C., Severance, S., and Krajcik, J. (2021). Motivating Teaching, Sustaining Change in Practice: Design Principles for Teacher Learning in Project-Based Learning Contexts, Journal of Science Teacher Education, 32:7, 757-779 In A Framework for K-12 Science Education, researchers call for teachers to make dramatic shifts in practice – and sustain in these changes in practice […]Learn More
Enabling Conditions Collaboratory
The Enabling Conditions Collaboratory brought together four research teams to work towards understanding the conditions that support high-quality PBL.Learn More
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When the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) was looking for a new middle school science curriculum in 2016, it sought a program that would align with the new Next Generation Science Standards and the district’s equity goals.Learn More
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