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ERIC Number: ED554472
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 130
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: 978-1-3032-0579-8
The Effects of Project-Based Learning on Student Achievement in Psychology: An Action Research Study
Iwamoto, Darren H.
ProQuest LLC, D.Ed. Dissertation, Capella University
Since the Fall 2009 semester, low academic performance and disengaged students have been regularly observed in the General Education Core's first-year psychology class. Because examination scores have been consistently low and student engagement has been declining, this researcher sought an alternative approach that would better meet the learning needs of today's first-year college students. Inquiry into this problem led to the development of this action research study. The purpose of this study was to introduce and analyze the effectiveness of an alternate pedagogical approach in the form of standards-focused project-based learning to increase student engagement and academic achievement in psychology classes being taught at this research site. This study found one instance that showed a standards-focused project-based learning psychology class scoring significantly higher on a multiple choice examination then a lecture-based one. No significance was established when comparing a second pair of psychology classes. Behavioral changes in the participants introduced to the standards-focused project-based learning curriculum were observed. Participants in the experimental groups were observed being highly engaged in and out of the classroom. Although both course instructors viewed this positively, participants' feelings towards this behavioral change were mixed. Possibilities for the mixed results and findings included (a) participants receiving a dissonant teaching approach, (b) participants feeling that their learning expectations were not met, and/or (c) a resistance to the nontraditional teaching intervention. The findings from this action research study emphasized the importance of the student's perception of learning and its influence on academic performance and motivation. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A