The Effect of Using Problem-Based Learning in Middle School Gifted Science Classes on Student Achievement and Students' Perceptions of Classroom Quality




Horak, Anne

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The purpose of this study was to explore the impact of the Problem Based Learning (PBL) units developed by a large suburban school district in the mid-Atlantic for the middle school gifted science curriculum on: a) students' performance on standardized tests in middle school Science, as measured by a sample of relevant test questions from a district-managed test bank; and b) students' perceptions of classroom quality according to the constructs of: meaningfulness, challenge, choice, self-efficacy, and appeal as measured by the Student Perceptions of Classroom Quality scale (SPOCQ) (Gentry & Owens, 2004). A group of students taught using PBL and a comparison group of students taught using traditional instruction were studied. Between the two groups, a total of 457 students participated in the study. Pre and post student achievement data were collected using a 25 item multiple choice test that aligned with state and local objectives. It was hypothesized there would be no significant differences in gain scores or perceptions between a group of students taught using PBL in comparison to the group taught using traditional methods. Data analysis indicated statistically significant gain scores in both of the groups with a higher gain score in the PBL group. Data analysis also



Education, Achievement, Gifted, Middle School, Problem-based learning, Science, Student perceptions