Investigating the Effectiveness and Teachers’ Perceptions of Rigorous Curriculum Design for Project-Based Learning Implementation on Middle School Science Students’ Achievement and MAP scores in a Private School in Abu Dhabi, UAE

dc.SupervisorProfessor Sufian Forawi
dc.contributor.authorASSAF, NOURA FOUAD
dc.description.abstractBackground and Purpose: Project-based learning (PBL) is an active student-centered instructional that has been explored in various contexts of schooling over the years. While the majority of the reviewed studies were conducted in North America, Europe, and part of Western Asia, very limited studies were conducted in the MENA region. Achieving proficiency in science requires students to learn through a high-quality curriculum that allows them to participate in authentic practices resembling scientists’ work that enhance their skills, sustain motivation, and increase their achievements. Therefore, the Rigorous Curriculum Design (RCD) framework was adopted in this study to develop PBL curriculum units that align standards, instruction, and assessments. Since countries’ educational systems accountability is currently evaluated based on student’s achievements in external benchmark assessments and while students are still underperforming in benchmark assessments particularly Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) this study aimed to Investigate the Effectiveness and Teachers’ Perceptions of RCD for PBL Implementation on Middle School Science Students’ Achievement and MAP scores in a Private School in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Methods: Guided by the perspectives of Vygotsky’s social constructivist theory and Dewey’s experiential learning theory, an explanatory sequential mixed method design was used in this study. Science Standards Knowledge Test (SSKT), teachers’ questionnaires, MAP results, and teachers’ interview questions were adopted as tools for collecting data. Participants included N=304 middle school students, mostly Emiratis, middle school science teachers N=25, and six middle school science teachers that were purposively selected and interviewed as they implemented the RCD-PBL curriculum units. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyze the results of the quantitative tools while thematic analysis was used for the qualitative data. Results: The findings revealed several significant results: 1) implementing RCD-PBL has increased grades 6 to 8 students’ Pre-Posttest results in the SSKT in the experimental group compared to the control group. 2) implementing RCD-PBL has increased the students’ spring 2022 results in the MAP science exam for the experimental group compared to the control group for grades 6 to 8. 3) Teachers’ perceptions have evolved whereby they are more confident about the implementation of the RCD-PBL. They indicated how their involvement, understanding of the RCD-PBL, competencies, knowledge, and professional development were very important factors that influenced the curriculum design process and its successful implementation. In addition to the type of assessment (GRASPS), resources, delivery time, leadership, and parental involvement and support. Teachers have indicated that RCD-PBL curriculum units provided a coherent, cumulative, and well-sequenced enriched curriculum that helped improved and achieved the quality of education needed for their students and had a positive effect on improving their results in science benchmark exams. Implications, contributions, and recommendations: It was evident that students were underperforming in benchmark exams due to the lack of a high-quality curriculum that enhances their skills and ensures their engagement in science. In addition, teachers are facing many challenges as they struggled to figure out the best ways to address the standards, plan, and implement PBL in UAE. The isolation that they faced as pioneers in implementing such an approach peripheral to the curriculum in K-12 education was also evident. Therefore, investigating the effectiveness of implementing PBL science curriculum units using the RCD while grasping teachers’ perceptions towards their involvement in the development and implementation process could enhance all UAE students’ results in benchmark exams and help all educational leaders in the country to reach the UAE National Agenda 2031 and 2071. Therefore, further research is suggested with regards to monitoring the effectiveness of RCD-PBL on MAP scores for more than one academic year, investigating the effectiveness of such curricula in different subjects, grade levels, and impact on genders, increasing parental involvement, and examining their perceptions towards such curriculum designen_US
dc.publisherThe British University in Dubai (BUiD)en_US
dc.subjectProject-Based Learning (PBL)en_US
dc.subjectcurriculum designen_US
dc.subjectMAP examsen_US
dc.subjectteachers’ perceptionsen_US
dc.subjectstudents’ achievementsen_US
dc.subjectMENA regionen_US
dc.subjectUnited Arab Emirates (UAE)en_US
dc.titleInvestigating the Effectiveness and Teachers’ Perceptions of Rigorous Curriculum Design for Project-Based Learning Implementation on Middle School Science Students’ Achievement and MAP scores in a Private School in Abu Dhabi, UAEen_US
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