Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Urban Education


Anna Stetsenko

Committee Members

Terrie Epstein

Eduardo Vianna

Subject Categories

Education | Higher Education | Science and Mathematics Education


This study examines how minoritized community college students taking developmental mathematics courses construct their math identities and how structures within academia affect this construction. It uses interviews and a focus group with open-ended questions to look beyond the quantitative studies examining the effectiveness of math developmental courses by exploring student narratives rather than statistical data. Both curricula and pedagogies need to be de-constructed so we may bring social change through diversity to the teaching and learning of mathematics at this level, as developmental math courses have become a systematized form of marginalization. In the process of de-constructing, we also need to illuminate how the mythologization of math has become another form of injustice in education. Mythologizing of mathematics is defined here as the belief by some instructors and students that only certain special people can understand and do well in mathematics—or that only certain lucky people are born with the “math gene.” This investigation is a qualitative study of power relations both inside and outside developmental math classrooms in community colleges with the goal of interrogating models of teaching where it is the students themselves who are considered lacking or deficient, not the marginalizing pedagogical methods of intervention.