Designed by a group of Finnish and American interdisciplinary researchers, the Crafting Engaging Science Environment (CESE) intervention aims to increase both students’ interest and performance in secondary-level science subjects. The intervention, containing 3 lessons each in Chemistry and Physics, constructs its lessons using Project-Based Learning (PBL). By challenging students in the lessons, the intervention seeks to elevate students’ engagement and pursuit of meaningfulness. Lessons center on “real-world phenomena” to enhance students’ ability to plan and investigate by themselves.
Schneider et al. conducted research with 61 schools, 119 teachers, and 4,238 students in California and Michigan, looking into the possible effects of CESE. Participating teachers and students were evenly divided into two groups–one followed the instructions of the CESE intervention while the other continued with business as usual. A 2-level Hierarchical Linear Model was used to evaluate the intervention effects between the groups among different races and ethnicity while adding on the potential influences from different genders. To assess the change of education ambition of students after finishing the intervention, a mixed-effects logistic regression was conducted.
Results showed that students using CESE scored 0.21 standard deviations (p < .01) higher, a 7 percentage-point score increase, than those who didn’t use the approach, indicating more effective science learning. However, there were no significant results among students differing by gender, race, or ethnicity. By frequently practicing “doing science” and “modeling”, students using CESE were able to perform better in the science subjects (28% of the total treatment effect). Additionally, students’ interest in science was heightened after taking the intervention lessons.
Schneider, B., Krajcik, J., Lavonen, J., Salmela-Aro, K., Klager, C., Bradford, L., Chen, I.-C., Baker, Q., Touitou, I., Peek-Brown, D., Dezendorf, R. M., Maestrales, S., & Bart, K. (2022). Improving science achievement—is it possible? Evaluating the efficacy of a high school Chemistry and Physics project-based learning intervention. Educational Researcher, 51(2), 109–121.