Four new studies bolster the case for project-based learning

Project-based learning, a popular practice that uses lots of poster boards and student presentations, is billed as an antidote to boring classrooms where teachers drone on. Advocates say that hands-on projects motivate students to learn, think critically, solve problems and work collaboratively with their peers. But it’s an open question whether students can learn every subject this way.

Four new studies released in February 2021 are helping to fill this void. Each concluded that students who learned science and social studies through a detailed project-based curriculum over the course of a year posted higher achievement scores than those who learned those subjects the way teachers in their schools usually taught them. Better results for project-based learning were documented on a variety of tests, from Advanced Placement exams in high school to annual state assessments in math and reading in sixth grade.

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