Defining high-quality project-based learning

The new Framework for High-Quality Project-Based Learning helps educators better prepare students to contribute in the innovation economy

A growing number of educators around the world believe that project-based learning (PBL) is an important instructional approach that allows students to master academic skills and content knowledge, develop skills necessary for future success, and build the personal agency needed to tackle life’s and the world’s challenges.

Many districts are either already using PBL or are on the verge of using this approach in classrooms. Educators can find a wealth of resources on how to plan for and get started with PBL, but until recently, there were far fewer resources on what the outcome of high-quality student experiences ought to look like. As we move toward more student-centered approaches, we needed a framework that is just that—centered on the students.

Therefore, a new Framework for High-Quality Project-Based Learning (HQPBL) was developed to help teachers better prepare young people to contribute in the innovation economy. The Framework was developed by more than 100 educators from around the world who already use PBL.

HQPBL student success stories
Students who are already having high-quality PBL experiences highlight what is possible and how we can better improve our own instructional practices.

Albemarle County (VA) Public Schools (ACPS)
Most projects in ACPS are tied to the local area, a region of the country rich with history and culture, and invite students to explore their own community. From elementary students investigating attractions and writing to the Mayor to high school students considering what makes memorials important to society, there is no lack of authenticity and collaboration. Students work on projects tied to a real cause or community issue, and they also solicit community feedback, advice, and expertise to improve their public products. Throughout all of the HQPBL experiences in ACPS, there is real attention to helping students learn how to manage their work on their own, reflect on what they have learned, and keep track of their own progress.

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