EXAMINING FIDELITY OF STATE STANDARDS IN PROJECT-BASED LEARNING UNITS
Keywords:Problem-based learning, student-centered, elementary school education, student achievement, fidelity problem-based learning implementation
The problem investigated was the decline in student achievement since the implementation of project-based learning (PBL) by the third- through sixth-grade teachers at the local elementary school. The purpose of this basic qualitative study was to investigate teachers’ perceptions of their knowledge of PBL and its application in third- through sixth-grade classes at the study location. The study was rooted in Jean Piaget’s cognitive learning theory of constructivism. The study location was an urban school district in the Southern United States. Data on teacher perceptions were gathered through structured interviews, conducted via Zoom, with eight elementary teachers in third to sixth grade. Inductive coding, code landscaping, and code mapping were used to generate five themes based on participating teachers’ experience with PBL. Results indicated that experienced teachers were able to speak specifically to their instructional practices and beliefs, while inexperienced teachers felt they were unable to adequately provide information. One commonality was that all participants said they needed a strong formal training and ongoing support structure to ensure effective instructional fidelity of state standards in PBL units. A 3-day professional development was developed to support teachers in planning and implementing project-based learning to ensure instructional fidelity of state standards throughout their units. This study could create positive social change by assisting administrators with supporting teachers with planning effective PBL units.
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