Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education and School of Criminal Justice


Karen Kimball

Committee Member

Teri Williams


STEM, Grade 8, academic achievement, constructivism


This applied dissertation was designed to provide the comparison of student results before the STEM program and after the program. Results provided valuable, relevant data that could be used to inform quality instruction. This research study evaluated the ability of a project-based STEM program to increase student achievement levels, as noted on the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS).

Data were collected from the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System test. The MCAS tests English Language Arts (ELA), Mathematics and Science, Technology, and Engineering (STE). The MCAS measured the knowledge and skill set students’ had achieved as put forth in the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks. ELA and Math were tested yearly in Grades 3-8. Science, Technology and Engineering are tested in Grade 5 and again in Grade 8. Test questions consisted of multiple choice, short answer, and open-response essay questions. The data for this study consisted of scores from archived files from students who participated in traditional Mathematics and Science instruction and from those who participated in the hands-on, problem-based STEM curriculum.

The purpose of this study was to determine if a hands-on, project-based STEM program increases student achievement. This ex post facto, quasi-experimental study used data to help to determine if there was a significant positive relationship in the implementation of a project-based STEM program in Grade 8 and ensuing achievement in science and mathematics of students previously enrolled in the program.

Those impacted by the study results included students participating in the STEM program, parents, teachers, administrators, and community members. The study increased their understanding of the impact of STEM learning. Additionally, curriculum coordinators were able to use this research to evaluate STEM program content for academic achievement studies.

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