FIGURED MATHEMATICS WORLDS, FIGURED RURAL WORLDS: NARRATIVES OF BECOMING A COLLEGE-BOUND STUDENT IN A RURAL MATHEMATICS CLASSROOM
Students from rural communities undertake postsecondary education at rates lower than their counterparts from urban and suburban communities, and mathematics is a known gatekeeper along the pipeline toward a college degree. This study investigated the mathematics identity formation of students from a rural school who were college-bound to determine what existing strengths a rural school could build from in providing students with experiences in school mathematics that align with a college-bound path. Data collected included individual interviews with college-bound students, their AP Calculus teacher, and their guidance counselor, group interviews with the students, and classroom observations conducted in the participants’ AP Calculus class. The findings are presented as three narratives, each corresponding to one of the participants in the study, that detail the processes by which they developed their mathematics identities and their paths toward college, as well as the convergences and divergences between the two. Common themes in the participants’ narratives include family, the agricultural and industrial base of the local rural community, grades, the social status attained by achievement in school mathematics, and the benefits of high-quality mathematics instruction. These findings indicate that mathematics served a largely instrumental purpose for the participants, but that this does not prevent them from appreciating and learning from a teacher who frequently used pedagogical techniques associated with reform mathematics. This further implies that students in rural schools would benefit from increased access to mathematics instruction informed by best practices, as well as a lowered focus on grades in school mathematics.
- Doctor of Philosophy
- Curriculum and Instruction
- West Lafayette