In An Experiment with a Project Curriculum (1923) Ellsworth Collings reports on an experiment he directed as county superintendent from 1917 to 1921 at a rural school in McDonald County, Missouri, where the children themselves - not the teacher or the curriculum - determined the projects and topics they would study. Collings claims that the findings of his dissertation strengthened the case for the 'project method' as popularized by his doctoral adviser, William H. Kilpatrick, since the students at the 'experimental school' attained higher scores on standardized tests in writing, reading and arithmetic as well as in social skills, habits and attitudes than the students at the two 'control schools'. Collings's book is a classic of progressive education, and his story of how 10 students were successful in combating an outbreak of typhoid fever in their community is well known among historians and educators even today. A re-examination of the dissertation - in particular of the so-called 'typhoid project' - reveals, however, that the experiment never took place as described and that Collings reconstructed his data substantially in order to conform to Kilpatrick's frame of reference and to present convincing data on the possibility and superiority of child-centred education.These people really are reprobates.
Faking a dissertation: Ellsworth Collings, William H. Kilpatrick, and the 'project curriculum'Michael Knoll
Journal of Curriculum Studies, Volume 28, Issue 2 March 1996, pages 193 - 222