Date Action Research Paper Completed


Document Type

Action Research Paper

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education




Rochester, Moinnesota


Because of a decrease in state standardized test scores in science and an increase in the use of ability grouping in reading, this research investigated the impacts of ability grouping and project based learning in STEM unit. The participants in this study are made up of 24 fourth grades. They were split into groups based on their Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) results and completed a unit on matter. In the end, the students created a product explaining everything they learned about matter throughout the unit through choices of a presentation, video, or model. This research aimed to answer the following questions: How does ability grouping within a Project Based Learning unit affect student engagement, how does ability grouping in a Project Based Learning unit affect student achievement of scientific vocabulary, and how does ability grouping in a Project Based Learning unit impact collaboration. Data was collected through mixed methods. Quantitative data was collected through a pre and post quiz on scientific vocabulary, an end of the unit rubric chart, a tally chart on inquiry questions asked, and the time each group spent on task. Qualitatively, the researcher observed student’s collaboration with peers during work time. Data analysis shows an impact of ability grouping in STEM instruction; specifically in collaboration.