Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Education (Ph.D)


Administrative and Instructional Leadership

First Advisor

Seokhee Cho

Second Advisor

Stephen Kotok,

Third Advisor

Barbara Cozza


The purpose of the investigation was to determine if there was a difference in student performance on the NYS Mathematics State Assessment between schools that implemented PBL versus those that did not. The aim was also to determine if there was a difference in students' and teachers' attitudes about the school community, specifically in rigorous instruction and collaborative teachers between schools that implemented PBL versus schools that did not. The last part of the investigation was to see if rigorous instruction, collaborative teachers, and PBL program predicted student achievement scores on the NYS math state test. The middle schools are randomly selected across two districts in New York City, receiving either math instruction through a traditional approach or the PBL method. The superintendent/deputy superintendent approved all schools using the PBL program. The instruments used for analysis include the 2019 Mathematics State assessment and the NYC DOE survey distributed to both the parents and teachers. The two instruments are archived data and are publicly available. The analysis was run on SPSS using the Mann-Whitney U-test and multiple regression. The results revealed a statistically significant difference in the mathematical scores and students' and teachers' perceptions of schools in the PBL and traditional groups. The schools in the PBL group had more incredible significant growth in scores and attitudes than the schools that implemented the conventional approach. Results also showed that collaborative teachers and rigorous instruction did not predict student achievement on the mathematics state assessment. However, the PBL practice did predict student achievement. This helps to show that authenticity, student voice & choice, reflection, critique & revision, and public presentation of projects can help improve student performance on the mathematics state assessments.