Dissertations, Theses and Capstone Projects

Date of Award

Fall 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Teacher Leadership (Ed.D)


Teacher Leadership for Learning

First Advisor

Dr. Alice Terry

Second Advisor

Dr. Mark Warner

Third Advisor

Dr. Darren Crovitz


Project-based learning (PBL) is defined by Markham, Larner and Ravitz (2003) as “a systematic teaching method that engages students in learning knowledge and skills through an extended inquiry process structured around complex, authentic questions and carefully designed products and tasks” (p. 7). This quantitative study examined the relationship between traditional and PBL high school students’ achievement on the AP English Language and Composition national exam. The study was conducted in a large public metropolitan high school that offered PBL as a curriculum option for students wishing to learn the standards in a different way. Scrubbed data were collected through PSAT predictive scores and AP national exam scores and were analyzed to determine the correlation between student achievement and each learning method. The purpose of the study was to determine whether PBL is an effective learning method for students mastering the AP English Language and Composition standards. The results of this study

showed that predictive data were indicators of student success on the AP English Language and Composition national exam, and as such students were able to meet their achievement potential regardless of the learning method they experienced. Therefore, PBL students were able to perform adequately in relation to their predictive score data, as suggested by the literature on PBL. This was also found to be true for students enrolled in the traditional AP English Language and Composition course. Consequently, it could be concluded that offering a PBL course option to students could be beneficial to student learning and achievement on the AP English Language and Composition national exam while developing 21st Century skills as well as soft skills that provide for real world success.