NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED513046
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 379
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1092-8123-1
Experiencing Socially Relevant Applications in the High School Mathematics Curriculum: Students' Perspectives on Mathematics as a Tool for Social Inquiry
Brelias, Anastasia
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Colorado at Boulder
The purpose of this study was to examine the use of socially relevant mathematics applications in high school mathematics classrooms and students' views of mathematics in light of their experiences with these applications. Also, the study sought to determine whether inquiries afforded by these applications incorporated features that promoted critical mathematics literacy and to describe the ways in which students' descriptions of mathematics evidenced critical mathematics literacy. The sites for this study were two high school mathematics classes--a statistics class and a mathematics modeling class. Qualitative research methods were used for both data collection and data analysis. Data analysis revealed that, collectively, the views of mathematics of the 60 high school participants were more complex and nuanced than they were simplistic. Students were neither idealistic about nor dismissive of mathematics as a tool for social inquiry. They described mathematics as a very useful tool for exploring social justice and other social issues. When mathematics was properly applied, they had a great deal of confidence in the results. At the same time, they indicated that mathematics has limitations as a tool for social critique. Students were unanimous in the view that many social issues could not be unproblematically mathematized. As result, most students indicated that they would now view with some skepticism claims that are unaccompanied by details about how mathematics was used in the production of evidence supporting them. The inquiries afforded by the socially relevant mathematics applications in this study often problematized social practices. For many applications, social inquiry ventured well beyond the mathematical investigations of these issues to engage students in conversations about them. While some inquiries did involve a fairly routine application of mathematics, in others, mathematics was problematized in its application to social issues. The transformation of the sociopolitical construct of fairness into its mathematical representation was often problematical for students. It proved to be fruitful for altering their ideas about the objectivity of mathematics in its applications. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A