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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MDRC+PBL Literature Review

The concept of project-based learning (PBL) has garnered wide support among a number of K-12 education policy advocates and funders. This working paper builds on and updates a seminal literature review of PBL published in 2000. Focused primarily on articles and studies that have emerged in the 17 years since then, the working paper discusses the principles that underlie PBL, how PBL has been used in K-12 settings, the challenges teachers have confronted in implementing it, how school and district factors influence its adoption, and what is known about its effectiveness in improving students’ learning outcomes.

Published: March 2017

MDRC+PBL Literature Review

The concept of project-based learning (PBL) has garnered wide support among a number of K-12 education policy advocates and funders. This working paper builds on and updates a seminal literature review of PBL published in 2000. Focused primarily on articles and studies that have emerged in the 17 years since then, the working paper discusses the principles that underlie PBL, how PBL has been used in K-12 settings, the challenges teachers have confronted in implementing it, how school and district factors influence its adoption, and what is known about its effectiveness in improving students’ learning outcomes.

Published: March 2017

Making Project-Based Learning Actionable with Ambitious Instruction

Stroupe, D., DeBarger, A.H., and Warner, N. (2017). Making Project-Based Learning Actionable with Ambitious Instruction. Lucas Education Research.

The emergence of various standards revisions in K-12 education, including the Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards, represent an exciting effort to reimagine expectations for teaching and learning in classrooms. Across reform efforts, multiple goals describe a different view of education than exists in many classrooms, including an emphasis on deeper learning in and across disciplines, a broad recognition that teachers need to do more to prepare learners to be ready for college, and reimagining of expectations for teaching and learning.

Published: January 2017

Making Project-Based Learning Actionable with Ambitious Instruction

Stroupe, D., DeBarger, A.H., and Warner, N. (2017). Making Project-Based Learning Actionable with Ambitious Instruction. Lucas Education Research.

The emergence of various standards revisions in K-12 education, including the Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards, represent an exciting effort to reimagine expectations for teaching and learning in classrooms. Across reform efforts, multiple goals describe a different view of education than exists in many classrooms, including an emphasis on deeper learning in and across disciplines, a broad recognition that teachers need to do more to prepare learners to be ready for college, and reimagining of expectations for teaching and learning.

Published: January 2017

Project Based Learning Virtual Instructional Coaching Networked Improvement Community

The VIC network developed a virtual instructional coaching model and refined it over time using tools and processes from improvement science. This report describes (1) high-leverage virtual instructional coaching practices that surfaced from coach-teacher interactions and (2) lessons learned about the use of improvement science for testing forms and processes developed for the virtual instructional coaching model.

Krumm, A., Boyce, J., D'Angelo, C., Podkul, T., Feng, M., Christiano, E., and Snow, E. (2016). Project Based Learning Virtual Instructional Coaching Networked Improvement Community. SRI Education.

Published: September 2016

Project Based Learning Virtual Instructional Coaching Networked Improvement Community

The VIC network developed a virtual instructional coaching model and refined it over time using tools and processes from improvement science. This report describes (1) high-leverage virtual instructional coaching practices that surfaced from coach-teacher interactions and (2) lessons learned about the use of improvement science for testing forms and processes developed for the virtual instructional coaching model.

Krumm, A., Boyce, J., D'Angelo, C., Podkul, T., Feng, M., Christiano, E., and Snow, E. (2016). Project Based Learning Virtual Instructional Coaching Networked Improvement Community. SRI Education.

Published: September 2016

Project-Based Learning Not Just for STEM Anymore

Duke, N.K., Halvorsen A-L., & Strachan, S. L. (2016). Project-based learning not just for STEM anymore. Phi Delta Kappan, 98 (1).

The popularity of project-based learning has been driven in part by a growing number of STEM schools and programs. But STEM subjects are not the only fertile ground for project based learning. Social studies and literacy content, too, can be adapted into PBL units to benefit teaching and learning, the authors argue.

Published: August 2016

Project-Based Learning Not Just for STEM Anymore

Duke, N.K., Halvorsen A-L., & Strachan, S. L. (2016). Project-based learning not just for STEM anymore. Phi Delta Kappan, 98 (1).

The popularity of project-based learning has been driven in part by a growing number of STEM schools and programs. But STEM subjects are not the only fertile ground for project based learning. Social studies and literacy content, too, can be adapted into PBL units to benefit teaching and learning, the authors argue.

Published: August 2016

Project-Based Instruction: A Great Match for Informational Texts

Duke, N.K. (2016). Project-Based Instruction: A Great Match for Informational Texts. American Educator, 40 (3).

Research increasingly shows that project-based approaches- in which students build something, create something, solve a real problem or address a real need- improve students' knowledge and skills.

Published: Fall 2016

Project-Based Instruction: A Great Match for Informational Texts

Duke, N.K. (2016). Project-Based Instruction: A Great Match for Informational Texts. American Educator, 40 (3).

Research increasingly shows that project-based approaches- in which students build something, create something, solve a real problem or address a real need- improve students' knowledge and skills.

Published: Fall 2016

Reinventing the High School Government Course: Rigor, Simulations, and Learning from Text

Parker, W.C., Lo, J. C. (2016). Reinventing the High School Government Course: Rigor, Simulations, and Learning from Text. Democracy and Education, 24 (1), Article 6.

Read about Knowledge in Action, a pedagogical model that centers on a rigorous form of project-based learning in which the projects are weeks-long simulations.

Published: March 2016

Reinventing the High School Government Course: Rigor, Simulations, and Learning from Text

Parker, W.C., Lo, J. C. (2016). Reinventing the High School Government Course: Rigor, Simulations, and Learning from Text. Democracy and Education, 24 (1), Article 6.

Read about Knowledge in Action, a pedagogical model that centers on a rigorous form of project-based learning in which the projects are weeks-long simulations.

Published: March 2016

Beyond Breadth-Speed-Test: Toward Deeper Knowing and Engagement in An Advanced Placement Course

Parker, W. C., Lo, J., Yeo, A. J., Valencia, S. W., Nguyen, D., Abbott, R. D., Nolen, S. B., Bransford, J. D. & Vye, N. J. (2013). Beyond Breadth-Speed-Test: Toward Deeper Knowing and Engagement in an Advanced Placement Course [abstract]. American Educational Research Journal. doi.org/10.3102/0002831213504237

Read about a mixed-methods design experiment that aims to achieve deeper learning in a breadth-oriented, college-preparatory course—AP U.S. Government and Politics.

Published: December 2013

Beyond Breadth-Speed-Test: Toward Deeper Knowing and Engagement in An Advanced Placement Course

Parker, W. C., Lo, J., Yeo, A. J., Valencia, S. W., Nguyen, D., Abbott, R. D., Nolen, S. B., Bransford, J. D. & Vye, N. J. (2013). Beyond Breadth-Speed-Test: Toward Deeper Knowing and Engagement in an Advanced Placement Course [abstract]. American Educational Research Journal. doi.org/10.3102/0002831213504237

Read about a mixed-methods design experiment that aims to achieve deeper learning in a breadth-oriented, college-preparatory course—AP U.S. Government and Politics.

Published: December 2013

Rethinking Advanced High School Coursework: Tackling the Depth/Breadth Tension in the AP US Government and Politics Course

Parker, W., Mosborg, S., Bransford, J., Vye, N., Wilkerson, J. & Abbott, R. (2011). Rethinking advanced high school coursework: tackling the depth/breadth tension in the AP US Government and Politics course. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 43 (4).

This paper reports a design experiment that attempted to strike a balance between coverage and learning in an exam-oriented, college-preparatory, high school course—Advanced Placement (AP) US Government and Politics.

Published: August 2011

Rethinking Advanced High School Coursework: Tackling the Depth/Breadth Tension in the AP US Government and Politics Course

Parker, W., Mosborg, S., Bransford, J., Vye, N., Wilkerson, J. & Abbott, R. (2011). Rethinking advanced high school coursework: tackling the depth/breadth tension in the AP US Government and Politics course. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 43 (4).

This paper reports a design experiment that attempted to strike a balance between coverage and learning in an exam-oriented, college-preparatory, high school course—Advanced Placement (AP) US Government and Politics.

Published: August 2011

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