Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Educational Psychology


Helen L. Johnson

Committee Members

Jay Verkuilen

Mary Q. Foote

Rob Moore

Daniel Battey

Subject Categories

Early Childhood Education | Educational Psychology | Elementary Education | Elementary Education and Teaching | Pre-Elementary, Early Childhood, Kindergarten Teacher Education


Mathematics identity, teacher education, elementary education, early childhood education, equity, pre-service teachers


Teaching practices in early childhood through post-secondary learning settings continue to reproduce inequities in mathematics education despite recognition of math’s utility and its necessity for competitiveness in the global economy. For reform efforts to be successful, teachers must change the way mathematics is presented in classrooms where students often experience differences in exposure to mathematics content and time spent covering particular mathematics topics. Therefore, teachers represent a critical component in the cycle of reproduction of unequal access to mathematics. This mixed-methods study examined the processes of mathematics identity formation and mathematics socialization in a diverse sample of pre-service elementary and early childhood teachers. Participants were pre-service teachers (N = 157) from three prominent urban colleges in the northeast. Qualitative and quantitative data on mathematics socialization, mathematics attitudes, mathematics teaching efficacy beliefs, mathematics anxiety, and demographics were collected. Data analysis revealed several themes underlying responses to both quantitative and qualitative responses, including the long-term impact of teaching practices on pre-service teachers’ mathematics identity and socialization and the contributions of family and institutional factors. Findings suggest that early experiences with mathematics are enduring and that the pre-service teachers in this study see access issues in mathematics as a function of gender and class rather than race.