Useful Research Articles Related to PBL

Every once in a while, I am asked for either general or specific references for related research supporting  or about PBL, IBL, or other types of standards-based mathematics curricula or instructional approaches.  In working on my dissertation, I have found quite a large number of articles (peer-reviewed and published) that have great information about PBL in middle and high-school mathematics classes. (Please excuse any inaccuracies with MLA notation).

I’ve attempted to categorize them for you if you are interested:

General PBL and Learning with PBL

Hmelo-Silver, C. (2004). Problem-Based Learning: What and How Do Students Learn? Educational Psychology Review, 16(3). 235-266.

Hmelo-Silver, C., Golan Duncan, R., & Chinn, C.A. (2007) Scaffolding and Achievement in Problem-Based and Inquiry Learning: A Response to Kirschner, Sweller and Clark (2006). Educational Psychologist, 42(2), 99-107.

Savery, J.R. (2006). Overview of Problem-based Learning: Definitions and Distinctions. Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-based Learning. 1(1) 9-20

Strobel, J. & von Barneveld, A. (2009) When is PBL More Effective? A Meta-synthesis of Meta-analyses Comparing PBL to Conventional Classrooms. Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-based Learning. 3(1) 2009.

From Meta-Synthesis

From Meta-Synthesis

Mergendoller, J. R. , Maxwell, N. L. , & Bellisimo, Y. (2006). The Effectiveness of Problem-Based Instruction: A Comparative Study of Instructional Methods and Student Characteristics.Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-Based Learning, 1(2).
Available at:

Problems with PBL

Kirschner, P, Sweller, J & Clark, R. Why Minimal Guidance During Instruction Does Not Work:  An Analysis of the Failure of Constructivities, Discovery, Problem-Based, Experiential and Inquiry-Based Teaching.  Educational Psychologist, 41(2), 75-86.

Pecore, J.l. (2012) Beyond Beliefs: Teachers Adapting Problem-based Learning to Preexisting Systems of Practice. Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-based Learning 7(2), 1-28

Abstract to Pescore Paper

Abstract to Pecore Paper

PBL and Achievement

Azer, S.A. (2009) Problem-based Learning in the fifth, sixth and seventh grades: Assessment of students’ perceptions.  Teaching and Teacher Education 25, 1033-1042.

Abstract for Azer paper

Abstract for Azer paper

Ridlon, C. (2009). Learning Mathematics via a Problem-Centered Approach: A Two-Year Study. Mathematical Thinking and Learning, 11, 188-225.

Riordan, J.E. & Noyce, P.E. (2001) The Impact of Two Standards-Based Mathematics Curricula on Student Achievement in Massachusetts. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education 32 (4) 368-398.

Abstract for Riordan & Noyce paper

Abstract for Riordan & Noyce paper

Student Learning in a PBL Environment

Rittle-Johnson, B & Koedinger, K (2005). Designing Knowledge Scaffolds to Support Mathematical Problem Solving. Cognition and Instruction, 23 (3), 313-349.

Jonassen D.(2011). Supporting Problem Solving in PBL. Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-based Learning, 5(2)

Kosko, K.W. (2012) Mathematical Listening: Self-Reports of How Students Listen and its Relation to How They Engage in Mathematical Discussion. Proceedings of the 34th annual meeting of PME-NA, Kalamazoo, MI: Western Michigan University.

Abstracr for Kosko paper

Abstract for Kosko paper


Many research articles regarding IBL/PBL Research at the Undergraduate Level


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OK, so my online course for math teachers who are interested in learning about using meta cognitive journals is all ready to go. The official start day is next Friday Dec. 1, but if you register during this week prior, you get $50 off the full registration fee.

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