Date of Award

Spring 5-9-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Policy Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Kristina Brezicha

Second Advisor

Dr. Yingying Wang

Third Advisor

Dr. Jeff Matthews


Project-Based Learning (PBL) is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge by working for an extended period of time on a particular question, problem, or challenge. This dissertation examined teacher and administrator perceptions of the impact of project-based learning on elementary students. The study explored PBL’s effects on (a) student academic achievement, (b) student engagement, and (c) students’ ability to inquire and reflect on their learning. What are teacher and administrator perceptions of the effect of project-based learning on student outcomes at a suburban elementary school? Three guiding questions served as the foundation of the study. What is the perception of teachers and administrators with regards to PBL’s effectiveness on student engagement? How do teachers and administrators describe the impact of PBL on student inquiry and reflection? What is the perception of teachers and administrators on PBL’s impact on student academic achievement? Using case study methods this dissertation focused on student engagement, reflection, and academic achievement. Data was gather from teacher and administrator interviews, classroom observations, and student artifacts. Individuals in the study described their experiences with PBL, and how project based learning had affected student outcomes. Purposive sampling was used because the teachers and administrators selected had been through extensive PBL training with the Buck Institute. Participants in the study include two administrators and four teachers who attended the Buck Institute training. The researcher observed student presentations at the end of the project-based learning experience in each of the six classes lead by the selected teachers. Six 45-60 minute observations were conducted to gain further insight into PBL and its implementation in the classrooms of teachers who attended the Buck Institute training. This study contributes to the literature by providing additional information on the effect of PBL on elementary student outcomes.