V. Gonzalez-Castaño1, C. Medina-Perez1, D.A. del Rincon-Igea2

1Junta de Castilla y Leon (SPAIN)
2University of Leon (SPAIN)
Project-based learning (PBL) is an effective tool to improve the success of the pupils and their motivation for learning. This student-centered active pedagogy allows students to investigate and apply knowledge to built real-world projects and challenges. However, manuscripts assessing the content knowledge achieved by students through this methodology are scarce.

To examine the effects of project-based learning on students’ achievement level.

15 primary school pupils (8 boys and 7 girls) from a public school of Castilla y Leon (Spain). Ages ranged from 7 years and 4 months to 6 years and 9 months (6.9 ± 0.3 mths). Seven pupils came from a different ethnic or cultural background.
Intervention: All participants were instructed through PBL to learn knowledge about the inventors and their inventions. The aim of the learning sessions was that students displayed a dynamic exhibition in their classroom. The sessions were held at school time. Each session lasted 60 minutes per day and the intervention lasted eight sessions. All sessions were instructed by the same teacher.

Main Outcome Measures:
Pupils were tested for content knowledge about the inventors and their inventions at baseline and after the intervention. A quantitative knowledge and a subjective knowledge tests about the topic were used to measure the content knowledge in the pupils. Moreover, a structured interview protocol with the pupils after the intervention and a diary writing by the teacher after each session were used to complement the analysis. Quantitative data were analyzed using SPSS®21.0 (SPSS Inc., USA). Pre- to post-test changes were assessed by the Wilcoxon signed-rank test for paired samples. Data are expressed as mean ± SD. The level of significance was set at p < 0.05. Qualitative data analysis was supported by Weft-QDA® software.

Findings are based on 15 pupils. The findings of the present study were that after the project-based learning the percentage of correct answers in quantitative knowledge test increased significantly (pre-test: 64,6 ± 11.8 % vs post-test: 81.8 ± 12.9 %; p-value = 0.001). Also, there was a significant increase in subjective knowledge test answers (pre-test: 57.3 ± 26.3 % vs post-test: 94.0 ± 8.3 %; p-value = 0.001). Moreover, data from qualitative assessment tools supported that through project-based learning, autonomy, learning motivation and group work skills were increased in the pupils.

An intervention of 8 sessions using project-based learning leads to an increase on students’ achievement level in Primary School.