For schools who transform from the traditional classroom environment, embracing Project Based Learning (PBL) as an instructional model can translate into significant changes in student learning evidenced in state assessments. Such was the case at Roy Miller High School/Metropolitan School of Design in Corpus Christi Independent School District in their first school year of PBL implementation.
According to the Texas Education Agency Preliminary 2012 Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) Results, Miller High School made progress after the implementation of Project Based Learning. As a campus with grades 7-12, Miller’s AYP results are calculated with the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) for grades 7 and 8 and the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) for grade 10. It is also important to note that all students in grades 7 and 8 participated in fully implemented PBL classrooms. In Reading/English Language Arts (ELA), with the exception of the African American and White groups the percentages of students meeting a passing score increased in all measured groups of adequate size, with a notable gain in Special Education with an increase of 24 percentage points. In Mathematics, the percentages of students meeting standard increased in all measured groups of adequate size, with notable double-digit percentage point gains in the All Students, Hispanic, and Economically Disadvantaged groups (see data tables below). Additionally, discipline referrals fell from 17.5% to 7.8% while attendance increased from 93.1% in 2011 to 96.8% in 2012.
The dedicated staff and students embracing PBL at Miller High School have demonstrated that PBL implementation with fidelity directly and positively affects student achievement. In Grade 10, students who participated in PBL classrooms outscored students in traditional classrooms in all 4 tested areas of TAKS, with double-digits percentage spans in ELA, Math, and Social Studies. The campus has now begun their second year of PBL implementation with confidence their students can meet the higher expectations set for AYP.
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