Project/problem-based learning (PBL) can provide an effective model for school reform when implemented with fidelity. In the report, Rising Above the Gathering Storm, it was recommended that if the U.S. is to remain competitive in the 21st-century economy, there must be a serious effort to "enlarge the pipeline of students who are prepared to enter college and graduate with a degree in STEM" (National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, & Institute of Medicine, 2007, p. 6). The report included the recommendation that states develop statewide specialty STEM high schools (National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, & Institute of Medicine, 2007, p. 6). In 2010, the Texas Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Academy (T-STEM) initiative was implemented to develop specialty STEM schools similar to those described in Rising Above the Gathering Storm. The primary instructional strategy of T-STEM academies is problem- and project-based learning. In the STEM context, PBL is well suited as a primary pedagogy for STEM learning. This paper examines the following questions: What outcomes occur when PBL is implemented in a low performing school district? What is the role of PBL in school improvement? What are the challenges to implementing PBL with high fidelity?


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Date of publication

Fall 8-30-2019



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Education Commons



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