Date of Award

2018

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Department

Educational Studies

Sub-Department

College of Education

First Advisor

Toby Jenkins-Henry

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to ascertain the possible impact of project-based learning on student learning perspective and achievement in a social studies classroom. American schools are in an era of standardized testing based on standards-driven curricula that only teaches basic recall and recognition. School curriculum should be focused on providing students with the skills necessary for them to be successful after high school graduation. Higher-level thinking skills such as critical thinking, collaboration, and self-direction are not easily learned with traditional, essentialist teaching methods. Students can quickly look up facts with ready access to the internet, so they need to be equipped with skills that go beyond memorization. The study was conducted in my AP Human Geography class in a large South Carolina high school. In the study, students became self-directed learners by using project-based learning to prepare for the class final exam and AP Exam administered in May. Students used project-based learning to apply practically the ideas, concepts, and theories required to be successful on both exams. Both qualitative and quantitative data collection occurred through field notes, observations, interviews, surveys, and summative assessments.

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