Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)


Bilingual Education

First Advisor

Dr. Alma Rodriguez

Second Advisor

Dr. Sandra Mercuri

Third Advisor

Dr. Kip Austin Hinton


This mixed methods study examined the academic and linguistic impact of teaching emergent bilingual leaners through robotics project-based learning aligned to state standards. Two hundred ten middle school students attending a public charter school in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas participated in the study. Twenty percent of the students were emergent bilingual learners. Qualitative observation notes recorded students’ learning process as they completed an adapted Khan Academy robotics project. The students also completed pre- and post-assessments that quantitatively measured academic and linguistic gains. Emergent bilingual learners grew 20.1% points in academic content and 28.6% points in language development (p ≤ 0.001). Effect sizes for emergent bilingual learners’ academic content growth (Cohen’s d = 1.39) and linguistic growth (Cohen’s d = 1.35) were greater than those of non-emergent bilingual students (0.89, 0.87). This study demonstrates that project-based learning can lead to significant academic and linguistic gains for emergent bilingual students.


Copyright 2016 Melinda Hardy. All Rights Reserved.