Here’s a comment in favor of projects:
A few years ago, I had a pair of boys who were among the worst students I’ve ever taught, in terms of academic skill and behavior. When I assigned them a creative project, they worked their butts off and made one of the most incredible examples of student work I have seen. It was the Circe episode from the Odyssey done as a a stop-action, claymation film. It required research on the Odyssey and an enormous amount of creativity, task-commitment, not to mention a wide variety of technical expertise.
Even so, I wonder how much they learned about the Odyssey versus how much they learned about making clay figures.