Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Education (Ph.D)


Administrative and Instructional Leadership

First Advisor

Mary Ellen Freeley

Second Advisor

Randall F Clemens

Third Advisor

Renee Parmar


Elementary school students have been underperforming in mathematics at the city, state, and national level. The National Education Goals, adopted by the United States Congress in 1989, did not achieve the two math goals (Goal #3 and Goal #5) by the year 2000 as outlined in the Goals 2000 Legislation. The 2019 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results indicated that grade 4 students were not proficient in mathematics. This exploratory study, not only sought to address the two National Education math goals, but also investigated whether Pro-Based Learning (ProBL) was an effective pedagogical practice for elementary school students of diverse learning abilities as well as economically disadvantaged students in mathematics by examining their performance on the New York State Mathematics exam. The study had a sample size of seven K to 8 schools from one New York City district. Though there were seven participating schools, the total number of elementary school students was approximately 1,300. The study sought to specifically investigate whether there were higher average proficiency level percentages and better performance on mathematical word problems from students who engaged in ProBL when compared to students in schools who did not engage in ProBL. The data analysis, using SPSS, revealed that ProBL had a positive impact on students with special needs and economically disadvantaged students. It was also found that students performed better on mathematical word problems when engaged in ProBL.