The impact of problem-based learning on academic achievement in the high school science classroom
Robinson, Kayla Margaret
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In science classes, students will sometimes complain that a topic seems arbitrary, and have a difficult time connecting it to their lives. I believe this difficulty of recognizing science as directly connected to the real world contributes to a lack of student engagement and, as a result, low academic scores. In this study, I sought to use an instructional approach called problem-based learning, in which students learn content through solving a real-world problem. The study was conducted at a suburban high school with a majority low-income, majority minority population. This set of learners has some unique challenges, including a high percentage of English-language learners and chronic absenteeism. Although my problem-based learning group did not perform better than a group of their peers who learned through a more traditional, lecture based format, there were promising results for the performance of English-language learner students and high levels of student engagement.