Date of Award

2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

C. David Brell

Abstract

Critical mathematics literacy is a necessary but often overlooked portion of developmental mathematics. This exploratory study focuses on the experiences of students in a developmental algebra course at a community college in New England. The theoretical framework combined critical pedagogy, teacher research, and critical discourse analysis resulting in a qualitative analysis. The analysis found that students who completed a social-justice oriented developmental algebra course increased their perception of their ability to understand math. The analysis also indicated that developing a sense of solidarity within the classroom was beneficial to students. Other issues for future study that surfaced during the analysis are the problems of deeply engrained learner dependence on the instructor and students’ reliance on short term memorization rather than understanding.

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