Published Articles

This is a collection of articles on the work of our grantees that have been published in professional journals and magazines.

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Assessing the Effect of Project-Based Learning on Science Learning in Elementary Schools

Krajcik, J., Schneider, B., Miller, E., Chen, I.-C., Bradford, L., Baker, Q., Bartz, K., Miller, C., Li, T., Codere, S., & Peek-Brown, D. (2022). Assessing the Effect of Project-Based Learning on Science Learning in Elementary Schools. American Educational Research Journal, 0(0).

Published: November 2022

Assessing the Effect of Project-Based Learning on Science Learning in Elementary Schools

Krajcik, J., Schneider, B., Miller, E., Chen, I.-C., Bradford, L., Baker, Q., Bartz, K., Miller, C., Li, T., Codere, S., & Peek-Brown, D. (2022). Assessing the Effect of Project-Based Learning on Science Learning in Elementary Schools. American Educational Research Journal, 0(0).

Published: November 2022

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.

Published: August 2022

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.

Published: August 2022

The Impact of Project-Based Learning on AP Exam Performance

Saavedra, A. R., Lock Morgan, K., Liu, Y., Garland, M. W., Rapaport, A., Hu, A., Hoepfner, D., & Haderlein, S. K. (2022). The Impact of Project-Based Learning on AP Exam Performance. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis.

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. Through PBL, teachers primarily play a facilitator role, while students work on complex tasks organized around central questions leading to a final product. We estimated positive and significant treatment effects on AP exam performance for the overall sample, within both AP courses studied, and within low- and high-income student groups. Results support teacher-driven adoption of the PBL AP approach within both courses studied, among districts with open-enrollment AP policies and supportive of PBL, for students from low- and high-income households.

Published: June 2022

The Impact of Project-Based Learning on AP Exam Performance

Saavedra, A. R., Lock Morgan, K., Liu, Y., Garland, M. W., Rapaport, A., Hu, A., Hoepfner, D., & Haderlein, S. K. (2022). The Impact of Project-Based Learning on AP Exam Performance. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis.

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. Through PBL, teachers primarily play a facilitator role, while students work on complex tasks organized around central questions leading to a final product. We estimated positive and significant treatment effects on AP exam performance for the overall sample, within both AP courses studied, and within low- and high-income student groups. Results support teacher-driven adoption of the PBL AP approach within both courses studied, among districts with open-enrollment AP policies and supportive of PBL, for students from low- and high-income households.

Published: June 2022

Fostering meaningful conversations about equity grounded in teacher practice

Miller, E.A., Reigh, E.V., & Simani, M.C. (2022). STEM Teaching Tools Practice Brief 88: Equity Implementation.

Meaningful conversations about equity in science education can be hard to start and even more difficult to sustain. Many teachers lack opportunities to deeply and openly discuss equitable instruction. Researchers or administrators often share equitable instructional practices with teachers with little discussion about the practice’s underlying principles. As a result, teachers lack ownership and sufficient opportunities to make sense of how these practices support equity. Administrators and researchers can use the resources in this brief to position teachers as equal contributors in collaborative learning—creating more meaningful conversations and stronger theoretical understandings of social justice in practice.

Published: April 2022

Fostering meaningful conversations about equity grounded in teacher practice

Miller, E.A., Reigh, E.V., & Simani, M.C. (2022). STEM Teaching Tools Practice Brief 88: Equity Implementation.

Meaningful conversations about equity in science education can be hard to start and even more difficult to sustain. Many teachers lack opportunities to deeply and openly discuss equitable instruction. Researchers or administrators often share equitable instructional practices with teachers with little discussion about the practice’s underlying principles. As a result, teachers lack ownership and sufficient opportunities to make sense of how these practices support equity. Administrators and researchers can use the resources in this brief to position teachers as equal contributors in collaborative learning—creating more meaningful conversations and stronger theoretical understandings of social justice in practice.

Published: April 2022

Mapping Enabling Conditions for High-Quality PBL: A Collaboratory Approach

Potvin, A. S., Miller, E. A., Kuck, R., Berland, L. K., Boardman, A. G., Kavanagh, S. S., Clark, T. L., et al. (2022). Mapping Enabling Conditions for High-Quality PBL: A Collaboratory Approach. Education Sciences, 12(3), 222. MDPI AG.

This paper explores enabling conditions for scaling high-quality project-based learning (PBL) to understand factors that influence how PBL spreads, whether and how it can be sustained and the extent to which it informs meaningful change in schools. We report on a year-long collaboration across three research projects. Each project team analyzed qualitative data from their individual project and then aggregated data across projects to understand similarities and variations in conditions that support the long-term implementation goals of PBL.

Published: March 2022

Mapping Enabling Conditions for High-Quality PBL: A Collaboratory Approach

Potvin, A. S., Miller, E. A., Kuck, R., Berland, L. K., Boardman, A. G., Kavanagh, S. S., Clark, T. L., et al. (2022). Mapping Enabling Conditions for High-Quality PBL: A Collaboratory Approach. Education Sciences, 12(3), 222. MDPI AG.

This paper explores enabling conditions for scaling high-quality project-based learning (PBL) to understand factors that influence how PBL spreads, whether and how it can be sustained and the extent to which it informs meaningful change in schools. We report on a year-long collaboration across three research projects. Each project team analyzed qualitative data from their individual project and then aggregated data across projects to understand similarities and variations in conditions that support the long-term implementation goals of PBL.

Published: March 2022

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 – so students can engage in rigorous and equitable three-dimensional science learning. Project-Based Learning (PBL) motivates students from diverse backgrounds to persist in learning. This project presents design features that bring together the assets of the Framework with PBL, and then tests these features to derive design principles that serve as commitments for designing for teacher change and student learning. Close ethnographic study of 10 teachers over 5 years in a design-based research study is triangulated with data collected across 41 districts in multiple states engaged in a PBL elementary science curriculum. The following design principles provide guidance for developing materials that support the depth necessary for promoting changes to teachers’ practice at scale: Adaptive, Responsive, and both Enjoyable and Intellectually Satisfying.

Published: September 2021

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 – so students can engage in rigorous and equitable three-dimensional science learning. Project-Based Learning (PBL) motivates students from diverse backgrounds to persist in learning. This project presents design features that bring together the assets of the Framework with PBL, and then tests these features to derive design principles that serve as commitments for designing for teacher change and student learning. Close ethnographic study of 10 teachers over 5 years in a design-based research study is triangulated with data collected across 41 districts in multiple states engaged in a PBL elementary science curriculum. The following design principles provide guidance for developing materials that support the depth necessary for promoting changes to teachers’ practice at scale: Adaptive, Responsive, and both Enjoyable and Intellectually Satisfying.

Published: September 2021

Knowledge in Action Efficacy Study Over Two Years

Saavedra, A.R., Liu Y., Haderlein, S.K., Rapaport, A., Garland, M., Hoepfner, D., Morgan, K.L., & Hu, A. (February 2021). Knowledge in Action Efficacy Study Over Two Years. USC Dornsife Center for Economic and Social Research.

Knowledge in Action is a project-based learning approach to Advanced Placement. Developers designed KIA intervention—comprised of curriculum, instructional materials, and robust professional development supports for teachers—to bolster students’ deeper understanding of content and skills. A randomized controlled trial efficacy evaluation of the Knowledge in Action intervention was conducted in 2016-17 with a follow-up study of RCT schools in 2017-18. This report describes the study motivation, context, research methods, results, and implications.

Published: February 2021

Knowledge in Action Efficacy Study Over Two Years

Saavedra, A.R., Liu Y., Haderlein, S.K., Rapaport, A., Garland, M., Hoepfner, D., Morgan, K.L., & Hu, A. (February 2021). Knowledge in Action Efficacy Study Over Two Years. USC Dornsife Center for Economic and Social Research.

Knowledge in Action is a project-based learning approach to Advanced Placement. Developers designed KIA intervention—comprised of curriculum, instructional materials, and robust professional development supports for teachers—to bolster students’ deeper understanding of content and skills. A randomized controlled trial efficacy evaluation of the Knowledge in Action intervention was conducted in 2016-17 with a follow-up study of RCT schools in 2017-18. This report describes the study motivation, context, research methods, results, and implications.

Published: February 2021

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.

Duke, N. K., Halvorsen, A., Strachan, S. L., Kim, J., & Konstantopoulos, S. (2020). American Educational Research Journal.

This article discusses how a cluster randomized controlled trial investigated the impact of project-based learning with professional development supports social studies and literacy achievement and motivation of second-grade students from low–socioeconomic status school districts.

Published: 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.

Duke, N. K., Halvorsen, A., Strachan, S. L., Kim, J., & Konstantopoulos, S. (2020). American Educational Research Journal.

This article discusses how a cluster randomized controlled trial investigated the impact of project-based learning with professional development supports social studies and literacy achievement and motivation of second-grade students from low–socioeconomic status school districts.

Published: June 2020

Promoting Deep Learning Through Project-Based Learning: A Design Problem

Miller, E.C., Krajcik, J.S. Promoting deep learning through project-based learning: a design problem. Discip Interdscip Sci Educ Res 1, 7 (2019) doi:10.1186/s43031-019-0009-6

This paper presents a design solution that involves the bringing together of project-based learning with the theory of usable knowledge.

Published: November 2019

Promoting Deep Learning Through Project-Based Learning: A Design Problem

Miller, E.C., Krajcik, J.S. Promoting deep learning through project-based learning: a design problem. Discip Interdscip Sci Educ Res 1, 7 (2019) doi:10.1186/s43031-019-0009-6

This paper presents a design solution that involves the bringing together of project-based learning with the theory of usable knowledge.

Published: November 2019

Discourse Tools Amplify Students’ Ideas and Build Knowledge

Miller, E., & Brown, T. (2019). Discourse Tools Amplify Students' Ideas and Build Knowledge. Science and Children, 56(9), 76-79.

This article describes a lesson in which the teacher uses discourse tools from WIDA (https://wida.wisc.edu) to support second grade students in the language-rich practice of argumentation.

Published: July 2019

Discourse Tools Amplify Students’ Ideas and Build Knowledge

Miller, E., & Brown, T. (2019). Discourse Tools Amplify Students' Ideas and Build Knowledge. Science and Children, 56(9), 76-79.

This article describes a lesson in which the teacher uses discourse tools from WIDA (https://wida.wisc.edu) to support second grade students in the language-rich practice of argumentation.

Published: July 2019

Preparing Teachers for Project-Based Teaching

Grossman, P., Dean, C. G. P., Kavanagh, S. S., & Herrmann, Z. (2019). Preparing teachers for project-based teaching. Phi Delta Kappan, 100(7), 43–48.

This article discusses how to prepare teachers for project-based teaching using core practices.

Published: April 2019

Preparing Teachers for Project-Based Teaching

Grossman, P., Dean, C. G. P., Kavanagh, S. S., & Herrmann, Z. (2019). Preparing teachers for project-based teaching. Phi Delta Kappan, 100(7), 43–48.

This article discusses how to prepare teachers for project-based teaching using core practices.

Published: April 2019

Project-Based Learning in Primary-Grade Social Studies

Halvorsen, A.-L., Duke, N. K., Strachan, S. L. (2019). Project-Based Learning in Primary-Grade Social Studies. Social Education, 83(1), 58-62.

This journal article examines how project-based learning (PBL) impacts early elementary social studies education, specifically the ways in which PBL helped reduce the achievement gap and improve student engagement with the curriculum.

Published: January/February 2019

Project-Based Learning in Primary-Grade Social Studies

Halvorsen, A.-L., Duke, N. K., Strachan, S. L. (2019). Project-Based Learning in Primary-Grade Social Studies. Social Education, 83(1), 58-62.

This journal article examines how project-based learning (PBL) impacts early elementary social studies education, specifically the ways in which PBL helped reduce the achievement gap and improve student engagement with the curriculum.

Published: January/February 2019

(Re)Designing for Engagement an a Project-Based AP Environmental Science Course

Tierney, G., Goodell, A., Bobbitt Nolen, S., Lee, N., Whitfield, L. & Abbott, R.D. (2018): (Re)Designing for engagement in a project based AP environmental science course, The Journal of Experimental Education.

This paper describes a three-year, design-based research project to redesign a year-long, project-based advanced placement environmental science course to better support student engagement and the development of environmental citizen identities.

Published: December 2018

(Re)Designing for Engagement an a Project-Based AP Environmental Science Course

Tierney, G., Goodell, A., Bobbitt Nolen, S., Lee, N., Whitfield, L. & Abbott, R.D. (2018): (Re)Designing for engagement in a project based AP environmental science course, The Journal of Experimental Education.

This paper describes a three-year, design-based research project to redesign a year-long, project-based advanced placement environmental science course to better support student engagement and the development of environmental citizen identities.

Published: December 2018

The New NGSS Classroom: A Curriculum Framework for Project-Based Science Learning

Holthuis, N., Deutscher, R., Schultz, S., Jamshidi, A. (2018). The New NGSS Classroom: A Curriculum Framework for Project-Based Science Learning, American Educator, Summer 2018.

This article discusses how the Project-Based curriculum framework designed by researchers from SCALE Science aligns to the new NGSS standards.

Published: Summer 2018

The New NGSS Classroom: A Curriculum Framework for Project-Based Science Learning

Holthuis, N., Deutscher, R., Schultz, S., Jamshidi, A. (2018). The New NGSS Classroom: A Curriculum Framework for Project-Based Science Learning, American Educator, Summer 2018.

This article discusses how the Project-Based curriculum framework designed by researchers from SCALE Science aligns to the new NGSS standards.

Published: Summer 2018

Examining the Potential of Computer Science and Making for Supporting Project-Based Learning

This literature review examines how computer science and making and makerspace approaches may inform a project-based learning approach for supporting three-dimensional science learning at the elementary level.

Severance. S., Miller, E., Peek-Brown, D. Krajcik J. (2018, April 02). Examining the Potential of Computer Science and Making for Supporting Project-Based Learning [PDF]. Nicasio: Lucas Education Research.

Published: April 2018

Examining the Potential of Computer Science and Making for Supporting Project-Based Learning

This literature review examines how computer science and making and makerspace approaches may inform a project-based learning approach for supporting three-dimensional science learning at the elementary level.

Severance. S., Miller, E., Peek-Brown, D. Krajcik J. (2018, April 02). Examining the Potential of Computer Science and Making for Supporting Project-Based Learning [PDF]. Nicasio: Lucas Education Research.

Published: April 2018

Engaging the Community With a Project-Based Approach

Halvorsen, A.-L., Duke, N. K., Strachan, S. L., & Johnson, C. M. (2018). Engaging the Community With a Project-Based Approach. Social Education, 82(1), 24–29.

This journal article discusses the pedagogical approach and benefits of Project PLACE, a Michigan-based PBL initiative that examined the impact of a PBL curriculum on a group of second-grade social studies students, and how community involvement impacts classroom experience.

Published: January/February 2018

Engaging the Community With a Project-Based Approach

Halvorsen, A.-L., Duke, N. K., Strachan, S. L., & Johnson, C. M. (2018). Engaging the Community With a Project-Based Approach. Social Education, 82(1), 24–29.

This journal article discusses the pedagogical approach and benefits of Project PLACE, a Michigan-based PBL initiative that examined the impact of a PBL curriculum on a group of second-grade social studies students, and how community involvement impacts classroom experience.

Published: January/February 2018

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