Effects of STEM Projects' Authenticity in High School Agricultural Mechanics
MetadataShow full item record
Researchers have reported that participation in agricultural education reinforces STEM concepts. The use of projects in instruction is common in agricultural education. However, the foundational understanding of certain tenets of this method of instruction is not clear. I conducted a quasi-experimental study to test how real and/or authentic projects need to be to affect learning. Agriculture Food and Natural Resources students in Texas were sampled and assigned as a cohort group to one of four treatment groups (N = 219). Fourteen cohort groups (class periods) were identified in five sites. I assigned randomly each of the 14 cohort groups to one of the four project types varying in their design according to the degree of project authenticity when learning about electricity. I used analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) to test the effects of project authenticity, student perceptions of the projects, tenure in high school agricultural education, STEM perceptions, and perceived novelty on change scores in a pretest posttest quasi-experimental design. Project type varied on authenticity. A test of project type groups yielded statistically significant results (p < .025) with small effect size (ω² = .04). Pairwise comparisons revealed no differences between the most and least authentic projects but statistically significant differences between the two projects with medium levels of authenticity and the other two kinds of projects (i.e., least authentic and most authentic). Projects with medium levels of authenticity were also projects that offered most cognitive dissonance to the participants. Student perceptions of novelty were also statistically significant with small effect size. No other statistically significant effects were found of the independent variables on change scores.
Project Based Learning
Hands on Learning
Student Centered Learning
McKibben, Jason Daniel (2017). Effects of STEM Projects' Authenticity in High School Agricultural Mechanics. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from