Problem-Based Learning: Its Effect on Students’ Critical Thinking Abilities in Mathematics and Sciences Learning: A Meta-Analysis

Nanda Syah Putra, Suparman


Several meta-analysis studies related to the implementation of problem-based learning (PBL) to cultivate students’ critical thinking abilities (CTA) have been carried out widely by some researchers. However, they do not focus on the PBL implementation for students’ mathematical and sciential critical thinking abilities. Therefore, this study aims to summarize and estimate the PBL effect on the CTA of students in sciences and mathematics learning. Meta-analysis was employed to carry out this study by selecting the random effect model. The CMA was applied to analyze all data. The synthesis of forty primary studies published in 2015 – 2020 and indexed by Sinta, Google Scholar, Scopus, and Web of Science showed that the size of the PBL effect on the CTA of students in mathematics learning was g = 0.769 and it was classified as a moderate effect. Meanwhile, the size of the PBL effect on the CTA of students in sciences learning was g = 1.122 and it was classified as a strong effect. Moreover, PBL affected students’ CTA in mathematics learning significantly. Also, it significantly affected students’ CTA in science learning. These findings interpret that the PBL implementation in sciences and mathematics learning is effective to enhance CTA of students. Therefore, mathematics and sciences teachers should select it as one of the alternative mathematics and sciences learnings to cultivate their students’ CTA.

Keywords: critical thinking abilities, mathematics learning, meta-analysis, problem-based learning, science learning.

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