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Ashley Davis Proposes her Dissertation on “Exploring the Mathematics Identities of Pre-Service Elementary School Teachers”

Congratulations to Ashley Davis who successfully proposed her dissertation on “Exploring the Mathematics Identities of Pre-Service Elementary School Teachers.”

Ashley Davis and her dissertation proposal committee members. From right: Dr. Helen Johnson, Ashley Davis, Dr. Jay Verkuilen, Dr. Mary Foote

Dissertation Abstract:

Inequitable access to higher quality learning opportunities in mathematics has been a longstanding concern in mathematics education research. Persistent inequalities in access to mathematics and mathematical knowledge highlight the challenges of designing and implementing reform in mathematics education. The success of reform is dependent upon teachers’ ability to translate reform into improved classroom experience. This transformative ability is dependent upon the teacher’s own mathematics identity. The study detailed in this proposal addressed these issues by combining theoretical approaches to advance a conceptualization of math identity in pre-service elementary teachers that will contribute to the field’s understanding of the dynamic nature of the mathematics identities of individuals occupying dual roles as students and future elementary teachers. A review of literature related to social cognitive theory, mathematics identity, and math socialization are discussed in terms of theoretical and methodological significance for the current study. A convergent mixed-methods design is proposed with qualitative and quantitative components. A survey will be distributed to a diverse sample of pre-service elementary teachers recruited from City University of New York (CUNY) colleges. Individual and focus group interviews will be conducted to deepen understanding of students’ math attitudes, math efficacy beliefs, feelings of anxiety, personal histories, and understanding of their relationship to mathematics. Findings from this study will contribute to the field by addressing gaps in the mathematics identity literature where pre-service teachers remain an under researched group. Findings may also point towards ways that teacher education programs can address students’ mathematics identities before they start teaching.

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