Exploring the Nexus of African American Students Identity and Mathematics Achievement

Francis M. Nzuki


In this article, the author explores five African American students racial, mathematical, and technological identity construction and how these identities shape each other and the sense of agency exhibited in the process. Data collection for the study included classroom observations and interviews, including a task-based interview. The stories told by the participants, their solutions for the mathematical tasks, and their participation in the figured world of mathematical learning illuminated their sense of identity and agency. An analysis of the data revealed that the participants positioning and authoring of their identities were influenced by how they negotiated and interpreted the constraints and affordances in the figured worlds in which they participated. It is through this process of negotiation and interpretation that the participants exhibited a sense of agency, or lack thereof, which, in turn, shaped their opportunities to participate in mathematics and hence the authoring of their mathematical identities.


African American education, agency, equity, graphing calculators, identity, mathematics achievement

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