Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Kenneth Vogler


This present quantitative action research study compared the test scores of one group of students who experienced a project-based instruction United States history unit with one group of students who experienced a traditional lecture style United States history unit at a suburban high school in South Carolina. The problem of practice that guided this study arose from the lack of critical thinking that the essentialist curriculum and teach-to-the-test instructional strategy foster in this school and the social studies classroom. The identification of the problem of practice led to the development of a research focus examining the impact of project-based instruction in a United States history classroom and the accompanying research question: how does the implementation of project-based learning impact critical thinking skills in a United States History classroom? Data included a pre-test and post-test given to both groups of students to determine the development of critical thinking skills among the students. The study produced results with no statistical significance in large part due to the study’s small sample size. The study produced practically significant results however. The study’s findings led to the creation of an action plan that provided a framework for educators to implement project-based instruction in United States history classrooms.