Balancing High-Stakes Testing Pressure and Learning 21st Century Skills—Is it Possible? The STREAM Story
Dr. Stephen Scogin
Project-based learning (PBL) is an evolving instructional method with the potential to improve collaborative skills and content knowledge in science and math. STREAM School, a seventh and eighth grade program at a rural Midwest school district, offers an innovative approach to PBL by connecting students and their learning to the outdoors through a partnership with a non-profit environmental education organization. This mixed methods study used data from standardized tests and interviews with students, teachers, and parents to investigate this program’s influence on content knowledge and collaborative abilities. Preliminary ANOVA and MANOVA results revealed that standardized test scores did not differ significantly between STREAM and non-STREAM students. There was, however, a significant interaction between test date and participant group, the implications of which were explored during post-hoc analysis. Upon qualitative investigation of student interviews, it was found that STREAM does also have the potential to improve collaborative abilities. Results of this study contribute to ongoing conversations about authentic science learning, standardized testing, and social cognitive learning within the classroom.
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