Capstone/Dissertation Title

Increasing Student Achievement in Urban Online/Project-Based Learning

Term

Summer 8-4-2015

Capstone

Thesis

Degree Name

MAT

Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Susan Manikowski

Secondary Advisor/Reader One

Jean Neuman

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

Jean Neuman Peer Reviewer:

Abstract

This case study examines the implementation of strategic student academic supports to increase the achievement of students in an alternative high school utilizing project-based learning and online curriculum in a large, Midwestern school district. The study reviews contemporary literature relating to online and project-based learning, the learning needs of diverse, urban students in such programs, and possible methods for supporting students in programs of this nature. The study uses a mixed methods approach incorporating credit attainment and standardized test data combined with student and staff surveys to evaluate the effectiveness of student academic supports initiated following the 2011-12 school year. The study examines the effectiveness of specific math, reading, writing, online leaning, and projectbased learning interventions by comparing data from the 3rd quarter of the 2011-12 school year (pre-intervention) to data from 3rd quarter of the 2012-13 school year (post-intervention). The study data suggests that the supports for math, reading, writing, and project-based learning were highly effective, while the success of those implemented for online learning were negligible. The study concludes by evaluating the success and failure of various supports, notes limitations of the study, and provides suggestions for further research.

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