School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Jerry Westfall


ARCS Model, Constructivist, Motivation, Motivational Theories, Project-based Learning, Traditional Learning


Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Methods | Other Education | Science and Mathematics Education


Since the charge by the National Council for Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) to move away from the traditional learning (TL) method of instruction to more learner-controlled techniques, project-based learning (PBL) has been on the rise. This quasi-experimental nonequivalent control group design study compared the academic achievement of 122 eleventh and twelfth grade students who were instructed using PBL techniques, with a control group of their counterparts who were instructed using TL techniques, in honors level mathematics courses. Pretest and Posttest data collected from both groups of students were statistically analyzed using independent t-tests, and Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA), respectively, since the independent t-tests on the pretest data yielded significant differences between the two groups. The ANCOVA results showed a statistically significant difference between the mean performance of the PBL group and the mean performance of the TL group. Similar results were obtained when the mean performance of male students only, as well as the performance of female students only, were compared between the two groups, thereby revealing that PBL instructional method helped to improve student achievement in honors level mathematics courses. In addition, students’ motivation data obtained from the Instructional Materials Motivation Survey (IMMS) were analyzed using Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) and Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). The results showed that there was no statistically significant difference in the motivation of students instructed using PBL method and students instructed using TL method. The study further discussed implications for teaching and learning, as well as made recommendations for future research.