The effects of project-based learning on student acheivement and motivation in remedial high school algebra

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Montana State University - Bozeman, Graduate School


Research was conducted to look into the effects of project-based learning on student achievement and motivation in a remedial high school algebra classroom. Throughout the 12 week research period, 13 projects or activities were included in the algebra curriculum. Projects included card games to help reinforce integer operations, order of operations puzzles, equation bingo, and six teleconferences with NASA engineers about applications of mathematics outside of the classroom. Through student surveys, interviews, and summative assessment scores, in addition to a classroom observation journal by the teacher, data was collected on the effects of project-based learning. The data showed an improvement in pre and post test results. The increase was a positive outcome of the research, but was not substantial enough to prove project-based learning in high school algebra is the most successful way to teach the material. It was found students who have extrovert personalities are more receptive and benefit more from project-based learning. Introvert personalities struggle with project-based activities due to social anxiety preventing them from fully participating in the activity. The results of the data analysis did show a substantial increase in students' attitudes towards math. By the end of the treatment students made positive comments concerning math and wrote about how math is important for their futures. The students who made the positive comments were more likely to complete assignments and study to understand the material. Overall, the research showed project-based learning as being a good teaching tool to help motivate students to learn.




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