Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor's Name

Barbara King

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee chair

Second Advisor's Name

Maria L. Fernandez

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Third Advisor's Name

Sarah Mathews

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Maria Lovett

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member


Mathematics Education, Equity, Elementary Education, Critical Mathematics, Dominant Mathematics, STEM Education, Teacher Education, Case Study, Teaching and Learning, Qualitative Research

Date of Defense



In the field of mathematics education, it is common for studies to use test scores to examine racial and socio-economic achievement gaps. The results of such studies have influenced mathematics teachers to address issues of equitable access and achievement as part of closing existing gaps (Gutiérrez & Ezekiel Dixon-Román, 2011). However, closing achievement gaps does not mean that equity has been addressed if marginalized students continue to express a cultural disconnect from the field of mathematics (Lubienski & Gutiérrez, 2008).

This qualitative multi-case study seeks to attend to these issues by exploring the understandings of equity and equitable teaching practices of five elementary mathematics teachers in Miami public schools. Data consisted of three, semi-structured interviews and was analyzed using Gutiérrez’s (2002, 2007, 2009) conceptual framework of equity, which encompasses dominant mathematics (access and achievement) and critical mathematics (identity and power). This conceptual framework was used to examine how the four dimensions were represented in the classroom of each mathematics teacher and to identify themes across all cases.

Findings revealed both similarities and differences across mathematics teachers as related to four major themes: (a) understandings of equity, (b) justification for equitable teaching in the mathematics classroom, (c) prevalence of dominant mathematics, and (d) scratching the surface of critical mathematics. For all participants, dominant mathematics played a major role in their teaching practices as they identified access and achievement as instrumental given the current system of accountability associated with testing and feared the consequences students could face if not exposed to those dimensions. Additionally, when highlighting teaching practices that attended to identity and power, participants did not encompass the criticality described by Gutiérrez (2002, 2007, 2009), which is centered on the marginalization of students based on their identities and the need to use mathematics beyond the classroom walls. Findings suggest a need to develop research and curriculum for pre-service teachers and in-service teachers, which is informed by questioning the prevalence of dominant mathematics and attending to the importance of critical mathematics as part of equitable teaching.





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