School of Education
Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)
Georgia Milestones Assessment System, Project-based Learning, Social Studies Achievement, Traditional Textbook-based Instructional Approach
Education | Social and Behavioral Sciences
Brown, VaRondi, "Project Based Learning Versus Traditional Instruction: The Effect on Fifth Grade Students' Social Studies Scores" (2021). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 2942.
This study examined possible differences between a project-based learning (PBL) instructional approach and a traditional textbook-based instructional approach. The study’s importance was derived from the fact that additional exploration is needed to show that PBL can promote student learning and may be more effective than traditional instruction in social studies. The purpose of this quantitative causal-comparative study was to test the constructivist theory of instruction as it relates to a comparison of PBL and a traditional textbook-based instructional approach. The researcher identified two population samples. The first population sample was designated as the treatment group consisting of all fifth-grade students attending a public charter school in north Georgia (n = 83) that utilized a PBL instructional approach. The second population sample was designated as the comparison group consisting of all fifth-grade students attending a public elementary school in central Georgia (n = 115) that utilized a traditional textbook-based instructional approach. A causal-comparative design with a t-test analysis was conducted on the difference between social studies achievement scores based on the Georgia Milestones Assessment System Social Studies Grade 5 End-of-Grade content assessment. The results of an independent samples t-test did not reveal a statistically significant difference between the PBL treatment group and the traditional textbook-based comparison group on social studies achievement. From this result, the conclusion was that PBL and non-PBL instructional modalities yield similar results. Further research should include a closer examination of which instructional modality is more effective.