Project Lead the Way - Engineering

Evanston Township High School is a certified Project Lead the Way school, providing students with an introduction to the world of design and engineering.  PLTW Engineering is more than just another high school engineering program. It is about applying engineering, science, math, and technology to solve complex, open-ended problems in a real-world context. Students focus on the process of defining and solving a problem, not on getting the "right" answer. They learn how to apply STEM knowledge, skills, and habits of mind to make the world a better place through innovation.

PLTW students have said that PLTW Engineering influenced their post-secondary decisions and helped shape their future. Even for students who do not plan to pursue engineering after high school, the PLTW Engineering program provides opportunities to develop highly transferable skills in collaboration, communication, and critical thinking, which are relevant for any coursework or career.

Students who take the PLTW end of course exam receive a 1.0 increase in their grade (AP grade point value). Students who do not take the PLTW end of course exam receive a 0.5 point increase in their grade upon successful completion of the course.


In 2006 the Career & Technical Education department at ETHS decided to offer "Pathway to Engineering" the national engineering program developed by Project Lead the Way (www.pltw.org).  Principles of Engineering was our first course offered in the 2006-2007 school year. By the Spring of 2008, ETHS became a certified Project Lead the Way school which now allows students enrolled in the class the ability to receive college credit at engineering universities.  In 2014, all PLTW classes are now 5-point weight for student GPA.

External authorities across the U.S. have researched – and validated – PLTW’s impact. 

Studies have shown: 

  • PLTW contributes to a strong, positive impact on mathematics and science achievement1
  • PLTW has a positive influence on students’ career interest and likelihood to continue their education
  • PLTW offers a pathway to prepare and motivate students to enter careers in science and engineering
  • PLTW high school graduates are nearly three times as likely to major in STEM versus non-PLTW graduates2
  • PLTW students in Texas scored higher on the state’s mathematics assessment and were more prepared for higher education institutions in the state3
[1] Tai, Robert H. (2012). An Examination of Research Literature on PLTW. University of Virginia. Publication by PLTW.
[2] Pike, Gary and Kirsten Robbins (2014). Using Propensity Scores to Evaluate Education Programs. Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis.
[3] Van Overschelde, James P. (Spring 2013) Project Lead The Way Students More Prepared For Higher Education. Texas State University. American Journal of Engineering Education, 4(1).