Date of Degree

5-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Urban Education

Advisor(s)

Juan Battle

Subject Categories

Education

Keywords

achievement; dissonance; education; identity; mathematics; situated

Abstract

What student-level variables (e.g., demographic, attitudes toward math, attitudes toward school, and prior math achievement) affect the construction of a dissonant math identity? Research shows that the number of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) occupations is growing twice as fast as all other industries. Further, math achievement, more than any other academic factor, determines whether students have access to STEM majors in college and thus pursue STEM careers. Concomitantly, numerous studies have shown that the ways in which students identify with mathematics have a profound impact on their immediate performance and future decisions to pursue math and math-related majors and careers.

Employing the base year of the High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS: 09), a nationally representative sample of over 21,000 ninth grade students, this dissertation explores factors that contribute to math identity dissonance (MID). Math identity dissonance is defined as the difference between a student's personal math identity (i.e., the degree to which she sees herself as a math person) and her social math identity (i.e., the degree to which she believes others see her as a math person). While MID has not been thoroughly explored as a theoretical construct in previous research, using it in conjunction with similar theories (e.g., academic mindsets, stereotype threat, and communities of practice) will offer a nuanced window into students' distinct struggles identifying with mathematics. Using multivariate analyses to better understand factors that contribute to MID, this study informs education research and practice aimed at improving inclusive frameworks for all students of mathematics.

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