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Abstract

As education works to reconnect student learning to something more than standardized testing, project-based learning (PBL) has become a popular way to increase student engagement while providing more authentic applications of student knowledge. While research regarding PBL is bountiful, little has been done to connect this body of research with student perceptions regarding its classroom application, especially concerning authenticity and student engagement. This research focuses on the topic of ‘‘task authenticity’’ as a means to improve student outcomes. Two groups of seventh-grade students were presented the concept of slope and y-intercept in the context of engineering-based activities. The research design measures if there is a difference in student achievement and perceived importance of these mathematics concepts when presented with authentic and non-authentic approaches to the material. Given this particular methodology, the results show that although no significant difference was found in student achievement, there is a significant difference in the perception that students have regarding the importance of understanding slope and y-intercept.

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