The Effectiveness of Project Based Learning on Student Engagement in Learning Science
The second chapter is the research methodology that involves the participants in the study and methods of data collection. This study adopted both quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection whereby observation was used as a qualitative technique and previous and present data from STAAR as quantitative that helped to determine the percentage difference in the test results. Observation helped to find out between two groups of students who were more motivated to learn science subjects, with the first group being a class that adopted project-based learning and the other group the theoretical approach to learning sciences. Interviews were also conducted to collect data from students in investigating their preferred approach of teaching to understand science subjects better. Chapter three then presents the results and analyses the findings.
4 Reasons for poor performance in science subjects 13 1. 5 Other essential research 15 CHAPTER 2: METHODOLOGY 16 2. 1 Settings 16 2. 2 Participants 16 2. 3 Research design 18 2. The Means plot of pre-test scores of PBL and TL classes. 28 Figure 3 Analysis of the on- and off-task behaviors observced in the PBL 29 Figure 4 Analysis of the on- and off-task behaviors observced in the PBL students 30 Figure 5 The relationshp between the type of engagement and the post-test score 30 Figure 6 Scatter plot showing the type of engagement and the post test score for TL 31 Figure 7 A visual comparison of the OFT-M frequency of the two models 34 Figure 8 Display of the performancefor both models in an off-task verbal setting 35 Figure 9 Graphical distribution of the PBL and TL post-test scores 36 Figure 10 Graphical distribution of pre-test scores by gender in the PBL model 37 Figure 11 Distribution of post-test PBL scores by gender 37 Figure 12 Graphical distribution of pre-test TL scores by gender 40 Figure 13 Graphical distribution of pre-test TL scores by gender 41 Figure 14 Pie chart representing GL non-compliance and the proportion that approaches, meets or masters GL 42 Chapter 1: INTRODUCTION AND LITERATURE REVIEW 1.
1Introduction 1. 1Problem Statement According to the report released by the National Science Committee on Engineering, Science and Public Policy (2007), from the students who enrolled to pursue a science-related course, only half of the total number end up completing their courses. A greater percentage of these students show less interest in sciences courses, which raises an alarm on the future state of Sciences in the United States. For instance, the students have to be made aware of the importance of science in their likes. They should be encouraged to put more efforts in sciences, or else, the level of innovation and creativity in the US in the near future would rapidly decline. The project-based learning is a learning strategy that is more of student-based than teacher-based.
Hereby, the students learn science subjects more practically, than being taught theoretically in classes. The teachers are there to guide the students, and not to feed them with already-made information. Many science teachers fail to adopt student-based approaches to learning where they should get to understand students and how well they can master scientific concepts. When students are taught by these kinds of teachers, they develop disinterest in class, which reduces their concentration. This also makes them find difficulty in grasping the concepts taught in class. There is a strong relationship between teacher relationship with students and their performance. Negative attitudes developed by learners concerning science also contribute to their poor performance as they decrease their chances of mastering the scientific formulas for solving problems.
Teachers should be creative in identifying ways to motivate learners and make them fully engaged in studying more so when it comes to science subjects. They should help students to be able to relate theoretical scientific concepts learned in class to the real-life situation. Working in groups should be encouraged to help students be able to share their ideas with each other. Moreover, group work improves and advances the students’ knowledge and skills. The students’ confidence and self-esteem are as well improved by successful participation in group assignments and coursework. Finally, it addressed the relationship between teachers and learners as a way of encouraging good grades. An effective combination of the three strategies would gradually improve the students’ perception of the science disciplines and careers.
Students are more likely to develop their perception of the science subjects, thus improving their science skills. 3Project Significance Past research studies conducted reported a decreasing number of students registering for sciences in both high schools and colleges. This research is concerned with identifying new methods that can be used to attract students into pursuing science subjects and courses. Therefore, teachers and parents, with the support of the school's management should design ways to improve the confidence of the students. For instance, more science lad and research centers should be established. Moreover, self-confidence may be achieved by improving the self-esteem of the students. Hereby, students should be motivated and promoted to believe that science is a simple subject to understand. This would eliminate their negative perception towards science, thus improving their performance.
Where necessary, the teachers may engage the students privately. Otherwise, the students’ poor performance would persist, as they get more and more discouraged. Most of them end up giving up on the science subjects, thereby causing more failures. The research also found out that poor students’ teacher relationship limited students’ engagement in learning science. The poor relationship makes the students dislike the subjects taught by such teachers. The parents narrate how they used to perform poorly in the science subjects or how their families were naturally poor in science. This makes their children have a negative attitude towards sciences. This lowers their interests and opts to specialize in other fields like languages and history. Moreover, when students tell their parents of their intentions to partake science careers, the parents mock them, citing how they are poor performers and slow learners.
This kills their intentions, making some to quit science careers. This perception made them limit the applicability of physics in real life. The students’ perception that physics is hard declines their concentration in classes, causing them to fail it. This eventually caused them to drop the physics more than other sciences. They also found out that students leave physics with the conviction that it is not relevant and have limited application in real life. Those opting out that physics was irrelevant made at least 19% of the total number of the students 1. The preconditioned judgment that science subjects and mathematics causes poor performance and perception towards the science and mathematics. Therefore, children should be encouraged and be motivated that these subjects and career-related disciplines are simple to understand.
The practical skills of the students should be advanced from the minor age of the students. In addition, both the parents and the teachers should participate in sharpening the future of the students, from the tender age to campus life. 4 Reasons for poor performance in science subjects Research conducted by Casey Tasfay and Susan White (2008) in 3600 schools in the whole country in both public and private institutions by administering 6000 questionnaires to both students and teachers. The students, under the supervision of the teachers and lad assistants, should be allowed to access the labs during their free times, at will. This would gradually improve their learning experience in sciences, thus improving their performance in sciences. In addition, the practical skills enable the students to apply for their coursework in real life situations.
This makes them comprehend the sciences better, as they are able to understand and retain practical knowledge. Secondly, the limited number of labs adversely affects students’ performance in sciences. This was cited to be among the main reasons behind the failure of the student in sciences. Where the relationship between the students and the teacher is worse, the student is likely not to like the subjects taught by such teachers. This is mainly where the teachers are unfriendly or harsh to their students. On the other hand, the teachers who are friendly and cool, though professional, are more likely to attract students to like the subjects they earn. It has been identified that science teachers are not social by nature, and may scare away potential students from taking science-related courses and careers.
It as well indicated the techniques applied in collecting the data of the research. Hereby, the data collection procedures are identified as well as the data analysis procedures and techniques. The section outlines the step-to-step process in which the research was conducted, how data collection was controlled, where and to whom the data was collected and which tools were applied in analyzing the data. 1 Settings The research’ setting was Groesbeck High School. The school is located in Groesbeck, Texas. To improve the efficiency, independence, and effectiveness of the research, the participants were randomly selected. This made them provide truthful and credible information as they were caught unaware. Sixty students were randomly selected to participate in the research and generate the desired results.
These students cut across two classes of two different teachers, at the same level of study. The two classrooms participated in the research study. She had a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sports Studies. Moreover, she had an additional teaching field in Life Sciences from Tarleton University. In addition, the teacher was pursuing her Master’s degree at the University of Texas at Arlington. On the other hand, the male second teacher was 31 years of experience in the teaching field. The teacher had a Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education with a minor in Biology from Stephen F. No information that could enable the disclosure of the students’ personality could be disclosed. The research emphasized on the confidentiality and protection of the students’ privacy.
The classified information concerning the students could not be disclosed. Otherwise, the students would have felt mocked and their rights violated. 3 Research design The research design was a mixed approach, which incorporated both the qualitative and quantitative research techniques and measures. The methodology applied for the observation part of the study was to monitor the students in the classroom. This was concerning their activities, teachers’ behaviors and students’ engagement in the study. This was conducted using the smartphone BOSS app as described within this chapter. Moreover, the research incorporates quantitative measured, the scores from the STAAR testing. Hereby, the students who participated in the research study filled out the introductory survey. How does Project Based Learning sustain student engagement in science? How does this affect the student's overall academic achievement? 3.
How does being engaged with science lessons effect high school students’ attitudes towards science classes and careers? 2. 4 Data Analysis Procedures In order to answer question one, the data analysis for the engagement gathered in the BOSS software was measured. This data was then compared during each segment as identified by Mergendoller and Thomas (2005), which includes full themes of PLB. Results compared in relation to the STAAR scores- before and after the study in addition to the classwork gathered. 5 Instructional Techniques used before data collection Prior to the commencement of the research, the researcher gained permission from the various stakeholders who were to participate in the research, directly or indirectly. These included the school representatives, teachers, parents or guardians of the students and the students themselves.
In addition, the researcher purchased the software, installed it and counterchecked if it was effective and efficient before the commencement of the research. Moreover, the researcher asked for assistance in gathering student classwork. However, teachers were not informed which students were to participate in the research. Further research was conducted without personal identification of the students. Moreover, no prior information was disclosed to the parents, teachers or any other stakeholder in the school. 6 Instruments and Techniques used to collect data In the course of the study, the students selected to participate in the research were monitored using the BOSS software. Equal time was allocated to the students and was based on availability. The researcher collected the students’ classwork as copies, date and time recorded.
STAAR is the student testing method, which began transitioning into the Texas school systems in the 2011-2012 school year. This method of assessment was designed to improve the accountability of the schools by ensuring that students were gaining appropriate knowledge to be college ready and productive upon graduation (Davis & Willson, 2015). The importance of this testing was a large consideration in how classes are taught. As well, the measures to improve the classroom teaching were identified. The researcher used the tests to evaluate the successful engagement of students benefited the school districts in providing valuable information to schools to improve upon STAAR results in the future. The BOSS results were as well used to analyze the students’ engagement, whether the PBL students are more engaged in class work than the TL students.
The research collected both the qualitative and quantitative data. The three research questions the research aimed at answering are as below. Is there a difference in the academic achievement scores of students educated in Project Based Learning classrooms and students educated in lecture style (traditional) classrooms? 2. How does Project Based Learning sustain student engagement in science? How does this affect the student's overall academic achievement? 3. Most of the students were Hispanic. In the introductory research, a 22-questions questionnairewas given to each student. The students were randomly picked from both the PBL and TL approaches. They were asked to answer the questions confidently and genuinely. Table 1. Summary of the mean and variance of the pre-test and post-test scores for the PBL and the TL models.
PBL TL Pre-test Post-test Pre-test Post-test Mean 32. 75 Sd 5. 363 Note. PBL = project-based Learning, TL= Traditional Learning Effects of PBL on the students’performance The protest performance was evaluated to analyze the effectiveness of the PBL approach. Analysis of the on- and off-task behaviors observced in the PBL students Figure 6 Scatter plot showing the type of engagement and the post-test score for TL Question SA A D SD N 1 0 2 23 6 9 2 2 7 16 10 5 3 4 24 8 0 5 4 5 21 5 0 9 5 13 13 7 0 7 6 17 18 4 1 0 7 14 22 3 1 0 8 6 25 5 1 3 9 7 15 8 3 7 10 3 12 16 3 6 11 3 23 8 2 4 12 9 16 9 0 6 13 4 6 18 8 4 14 0 5 17 14 4 15 3 11 14 4 8 16 11 27 0 0 2 17 1 12 12 7 8 18 3 13 12 0 12 19 2 2 19 14 3 20 9 14 9 2 6 21 9 22 3 0 6 Table 3. Introductory survey results 3. 2 Quantitative Data a) BOSS Results Criteria Style 0-9 10-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-59 60-69 70-79 80-89 90-99 AET PBL 0 0 0 0 2 1 4 7 4 2 TL 0 7 5 4 3 1 0 0 0 0 PET PBL 3 11 3 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 TL 3 3 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 OFT-M PBL 20 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 TL 18 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 OFT-V PBL 20 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 TL 18 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 OFT-P PBL 18 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 TL 18 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Table 4: Summary of the results obtained from the BOSS application. Note:The respective bin ranges 0-9, 10-19,. , 90-99 indicate the amount of time, expressed as a percentage.
We then conduct a t-test on the means and observe that the two means are the same at the 5% level as illustrated in Table 6. F-Test Two-Sample for Variances TL PBL Mean 56. 31364 Variance 14898. 31 Observations 22 22 Df 21 21 F 0. 835401 P(F<=f) one-tail 0. 893035941 t Critical two-tail 2. 018081679 Table 6 Summary output for t-test on the equality of the mean of pre-test PBL and TL scores TL PBL Mean 61. 42727 Mean Variance 17625. 43 Variance Observations 22 22 Observations Df 21 21 Df F 0. 690124 F P(F<=f) one-tail 0. TL score pre-test percentage scores Graphical distribution of PBL pre-test scores and TL pre-test scores. Figure 9 Graphical distributions of PBL post-test scores and TL post-test scores. ii) Gender and PBL pre-test scores Figure 10 Graphical distributions of pre-test scores by gender in the PBL model. ii) Gender and PBL post-test scores More female students recorded higher scores compared to their male counterparts Figure 11 Distribution of post-test PBL scores by gender.
iii) Gender and TL pre-test scores The Graph below compares the performance on the pre-test in the TL module between male and female students. Secondly, the sustainability of the PBL approach to the students’ engagement in learning science and evaluate its effect on the overall performance. Lastly, the research seek to analyses how science education affects the students’ attitudes towards science classes and careers. 1 Behavioral Observations of Students in Schools (BOSS) results analysis The boss results outlined in the results section above illustrates the students’ on task behaviors and off-task behaviors. The on-task behaviors includes the actively engaged time and the passively engaged time. On the other hand, the off-task behaviors includes the Off-task motor, Off-task verbal and off-task passive. In addition, the OFT-V illustrates the verbal activities, other than the academic related.
In both classes, the OFT-V codes are very low. Moreover, the OFT-P passively engaged time for the two classes are low too. 2 Teaching Strategies increases students’ Engagement in Learning Sciences Different definitions have been given to teaching strategies by different researchers. According to Harrell and Jordan (2004), teaching strategies refer methods incorporated into the curricular in supporting the studies of learners. It Cooperative learning facilitates alternative solutions to a problem as every student looks for his/ her own method of solving the problem and this encourages creativity among students. Cooperative learning provides an opportunity for face-to-face discussions, which increases confidence among the learners, and they can be able to compare their progress and help one another in understanding concepts they find to be hard to understand.
Cooperative learning occurs when students study in a group with an objective of promoting their understanding of a concept and enhancing the understanding of their colleagues concerning the same concept. Group discussion can be traced from the social interdependence theory that explains that structuring of social interdependence has been made in a way that it determines the interactions among individuals, which in turn affect their overall performance. Social interdependence theory emphasizes the fact that togetherness among students in a group can be achieved when they view themselves as sharing similar goals and that they can attain higher grades when they collectively participate in getting solutions to problems. It also helps to establish essential questions and ideas concerning a problem or an issue.
Project-based learning helps students to connect issues in the real world and this facilitates their motivation to learn sciences and the related courses. Project-based learning indicates increased scores in tests together with higher students’ motivation, improved understanding of concepts, and enhanced mastery of information in comparison to traditional methods of teaching that involved verbal delivery of theory in class. Pretest and post-test data analysis Comparing the PBL test scores and the TL test scores, the data analysis illustrates that the students from the PBL performed slightly better, much more than their counterparts in the TL class. After the test, the performance of the PBL learning class improved their performance much more than those from the TL class. In support of the PBL learning approach, more than two-third of the students wished to discover answers for their questions.
Most of them as well opted that their teacher use tests to evaluate their performance. Moreover, most of the students agreed that teachers needed to check their journals to evaluate their learning progress. They also wished to discuss what they have discovered. This approach would be almost impossible in TL learning as the teacher is the key to all class operations. Most of the students as well believed that science was all about math, social studies and reading. Implications The BOSS results enabled the researcher to identify the teaching approach, between PBL and TL, in which students’ engagement is higher. The AET codes illustrates the time in which the students were highly active in completing the class work. The results analyzed above implies that students are highly engaged in PBL learning approach than in TL approaches.
More students are actively engaged in academic activities in PBL than in TL. Suggestions for future research • All the authors gave key reasons why sciences are not interesting to most students using credible samples (Zacharie, 2009). • All authors emphasize key issues that discourage students for continuing with science education in high schools apart from Professor Michael Simmers (2011) who based his research on college. • The area of how students can be motivated to embrace science has not been explored (Morrell & Lederman1998, Moore, 2006, Fallis&Opotow, 2003, Cheung, 2009). My research aims to discuss methods that can be utilized by teachers to win and retain the interest of many students by eliminating the existing misconceptions. Summary and Interpretation Regarding whether students engaged with the PBL approach perform better than those learning under TL, the STAAR results have clarified.
Hereby, the research need to have provided detailed recommendations to solve the problem. Second, the research failed to evaluate the connection between teachers’ experience and students’ engagement. It thus failed to recommend measures that could be applied to improve teachers’ competence and efficiency. Moreover, the research failed to incorporate parents substantially in the study, as they need to have been mentored and trained on measures to improve their children’s science understanding. In addition, the research concentrated on primary students and failed to measure the level of science progress in High school and colleges. Benbow, C. P. , &Arjmand, O. Predictors of high academic achievement in mathematics and science by mathematically talented students: A longitudinal study. Journal of Educational Psychology, 82(3), 430. Blumenfeld, P.
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