This research aimed to examine students’ perceptions of their life skills while attending project-based learning (PBL) schools. The study focused on three questions including: 1) What are students’ perceptions of their development of life skills in project-based learning schools? 2) In what ways, if any, do students perceive an increase in their life skill development over a one-year period of time? 3) What relationship, if any, is there between grade level and students’ perceptions of their life skills? The subjects were 275 6-12 students from 2 project-based learning charter schools in Minnesota. One school was located in a rural location; the other in an urban location. The triangulating data collection methods included a Likert-scale survey, semi-structured interviews, and focus groups. Quantitative analysis using SPSS were used to analyze the survey data. Qualitative analysis methods used were coding and identification of emergent themes. Qualitative results showed perceptions of most improved skills as time management, collaboration, communication, and self-directedness. Quantitative data results showed most improved skills within an academic year as responsibility, problem-solving, self-directedness, and work ethic. Self-directedness was the single skill that was evident in all data results. The results showed students’ perceptions of their life skills were positive and that project-based learning helped them develop multiple life skills including, but not limited to communication, collaboration, problem-solving, responsibility, and time management. Implications of this research suggest that project-based learning has a positive influence on students’ life skills development across 6-12 grade levels and helps prepare them to be successful in the 21st century global community and economy.


Scott Wurdinger

Committee Member

Julie Carlson

Committee Member

Jeffrey Biessman

Date of Degree




Document Type



Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License



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