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Participants were third through sixth graders in six elementary schools in the Warren County Public Schools. Per requirements for the Javits, all schools had to have at least 50% of the population eligible for free and/or reduced lunch; the six schools ranged from 52.3% to 73.8% of the population being eligible for free and/or reduced lunch. Other underrepresented categories were also pertinent including Non-White populations with four of the six schools having over 25% of their populations Non-White. English Language Learners comprised up to 21% of the schools' populations. 



Participants were identified using the identification protocol developed under the first objective of the grant. Please see Identification Protocol (Objective 1) for specific detail. 

Identification Measures

Growth Measures


The six schools were divided into three groups: Treatment 1, Treatment 2, and Control. Identified students in Treatment 1 schools participated in problem-based learning in both math and science in two settings: a one-day-a-week magnet school called GEMS Academy and curriculum units taught in their home schools in target classrooms. Students in Treatment 2 schools participated in PBL via curriculum units taught in their home schools in target classrooms. Students in the control schools participated in traditional math and science learning experiences.


After initial identification in the 2008-2009 school year, identified students were placed into target classrooms in Treatment 1 and Treatment 2 schools. Baseline data were gathered using The Test of Mathematical Abilities for Gifted Students (TOMAGS; Ryser & Johnsen, 1998a) and the Diet Cola Test  (DCT) by Fowler (1990) which focuses on science process. Each spring these same measures were administered to assess growth.

Treatment 1 students attended a magnet program (i.e., GEMS Academy) one day a week. Third graders went on Monday, fourth graders on Tuesday, fifth graders on Wednesday, and sixth graders on Thursday. GEMS Academy teachers had extensive training in PBL and each had earned endorsements in gifted education. When in their home schools, Treatment 1 students were grouped in the same class, thus having the same instructor for science instruction and the same instructor for math instruction. In some grades and schools, science and math were taught by the same teacher; in other schools, different teachers taught the separate subjects. All target classroom teachers had professional development in PBL in math and science as well as gifted education. Curricula came from other Javits grants. The science units were developed by the College of William & Mary's Center for Gifted Education while the math stemmed from M 3: Mentoring Mathematical Minds from the University of Connecticut. In addition, GEMS Academy teachers created their own integrated PBL math and science units.

Treatment 2 students did not attend the GEMS Academy, but they were grouped into target classrooms for math and science. Except for the GEMS Academy, students received the same treatment as those students in Treatment 1 (i.e., grouped into target classrooms for math and science instruction taught by teachers trained in PBL and gifted).

Two schools served as control schools. Although the selected students were grouped for science and math instruction as those in Treatments 1 and 2, the teachers did not receive professional development in PBL.

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 Last Modified 3/1/18