There will be a fold here<br />There will be a fold here<br />There will be a fold here<br />There will be a fold here<br />Research Question What impact does a cross-curricular, project-based learning <br />environment have on students’ mastery of 21st Century Skills? <br />By SCOTT R. ROEHL<br />In partial fulfillment of the expectations and academic requirements of the degree of Masters in Education, Carroll University.<br />Triangulation of Data<br />Abstract<br />Past Research<br />Findings<br />The purpose of this action research was to determine whether students’ mastery of 21st Century Skills would improve through cross-curricular, project-based learning. The results were compared to a control group in a traditional middle school. <br /> At the beginning of the action research, the students in both the experimental group and the control group participated in pre-assessments and initial surveys. At the completion of the action research, and after adhering to all the components of Academy 21 (the experimental group), the experimenter compiled all of his anecdotal observations, and the students were given their post-assessment and ending surveys.<br /> At the conclusion of the action research, the experimenter analyzed the Rising Stars assessment results, the self-reflections and self-rankings of Pewaukee’s Core Competencies, and the anecdotal observations from an Academy 21 advisor. Furthermore, the experimenter compared the student MAP and EXPLORE – standardized assessments of all students – scores to determine whether an academic difference existed.<br /> The results of the collected pieces of data give compelling and, in some cases, statistically significant evidence to the increased acquisition of students’ mastery of 21st Century Skills.<br /><ul><li>The overwhelming majority of the United States (88%) believes that schools should play a vital role in developing 21st Century Skills (Kay, 2009).
The students learn independence because the teacher is no longer the keeper of knowledge, but is rather a facilitator of information (Strobel & van Barnevald, 2009).
“…[M]iddle school students are still impressionable, and they still want to do well in school. Their brains are coming of age for deeper inquiry, abstract thinking, and exploration of the broader world. They are enthusiastic, curious, and energetic. They are stimulated by creative assignments and turned off by repetitive work” (Kay, 2009).</li></ul>Change in MAP Scores<br />Change in Rising Stars Average Scores<br />Comparing EXPLORE Results of all Student Populations<br />Stated Hypotheses<br />Procedures<br />September 2010<br /><ul><li>The initial assessments were administered to the experimental and control groups.
Seminars</li></ul>September 2010 – March 2011<br /><ul><li>Implementation of action research.</li></ul>March 2011<br /><ul><li>The post-assessments were administered and the anecdotal observations were collected.</li></ul>The experimenter used negative hypotheses due to the limited length of the action research and the effectiveness of disproving compared to proving.<br /><ul><li>After working in Academy 21, the students will have no significant measurable change in the assessment of 21st Century Skills compared to the students in the control group.
After working in Academy 21, the students will not have increased understanding of their individual learning style.
After working in Academy 21, the students will not have a better understanding of Pewaukee’s Core Competencies.</li></ul>Data Analysis<br />1st Hypothesis – not supported:<br />The individual bias and the lack of self-awareness of the students in the control group caused an external variable too significant. The analysis of the Rising Stars assessment measured an increase in score but was not statistically significant. The anecdotal observations, especially the self-analysis of the Core Competencies, provided support of the null hypothesis. <br />2nd Hypothesis – not supported:<br />The self-reflections on the Core Competencies displayed numerous written responses showing the increased self-awareness of learning of the Academy 21 students. In the anecdotal observations, the enhanced language in the periodic Core Competencies self-reflections showcase further development of each Core Competency. <br />3rd Hypothesis – not supported:<br />Comparing the responses in the self-reflections of the Core Competencies between the students in the control group and the students in Academy 21, obvious differences emerged. The control group demonstrated a lack of understanding of the differing levels of proficiency and the processes involved in attaining proficiency in any Core Competency.<br />Purpose / Rationale<br />“It is the death of education, but it is the dawn of learning.” Stephan Heppell (2010), CEO of Heppell.Net Ltd. (2010). <br /><ul><li>Describes the much-needed educational reforms being implemented by schools embracing a 21st century set of literacies.
With today’s students having immediate access to technology and the Internet, the current brick and mortar educational system set up around the old industrial and agricultural eras needs a massive overhaul. </li></ul>Johannes Strobel and Angela van Barneveld (2009) concluded that even though there is a lot of research, there is certainly no consensus as to the effectiveness of project-based learning. <br /><ul><li>The primary purpose of this action research is to provide quantitative and qualitative data measuring the effectiveness in relation to the acquisition of 21st Century Skills of Academy 21 compared to a traditional school setting.</li></ul>Participants<br />Recommendations<br /> Clearly, the goal of public education is to provide an educational system that fits every student. The vision of Academy 21 is to provide an alternative educational approach fundamentally different than what is offered in the traditional approach. <br /> Academy 21 will fill an educational void for some students and families and provide a pedagogical model to aid in retaining families in Pewaukee who may have opted to open enroll their child in an alternative school setting in another district. <br /> The Academy 21 advisors understand a need for continual professional development, for continual modifications of the program, and for continued research on the importance and the effectiveness of this model in preparing students for work in the 21st century. <br />This action research consisted of 50 seventh-grade students in a suburban 7-8 middle school. Twenty-eight students were part of the experimental group and participated in all the components of Academy 21. The remaining twenty-two students were a control group traveling from class to class in a traditional middle school approach. <br /> Of the fifty students involved, twenty-one were male and twenty-nine are female. Three students were Hispanic, three students were Asian, and the remaining students were white. The population did not serve any English Language Learners or any students who receive special education services.<br />