Views from a community college on the U.S.-Mexico border: Mexican/Mexican-American postsecondary students' perceptions of K-16 mathematics education

Carlos Ruben Paez Paez, University of Texas at El Paso

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate Mexican/Mexican-American postsecondary students' perceptions and experiences of mathematics instruction in U.S. formal education (K-16). Framed by critical race theory and using a grounded theory approach, this inquiry was conceptualized within the framework of the literature on academic disparities in achievement in mathematics between Mexican American students and other student populations in U.S. schools, highlighting students' perceptions and student voice. Qualitative data were collected through interviews and surveys from five postsecondary students who voluntarily participated in the study. Data analysis used the constant comparative method, a key element of grounded theory methodology (Glaser, 1978). Participants described simultaneously experiencing multiple dimensions as elements of their lived experiences in mathematics education, including active student resistance to unsuccessful pedagogical practices, ongoing reflections about these experiences, and the development of recommendations for improvement. The three major findings of this qualitative research study: a) generate deeper understanding of how Mexican/Mexican-American students perceive and experience mathematics instruction in U.S. K-16 schools; b) explicate how these students' underachievement may stem from their active resistance to unsuccessful teaching practices; and c), show how mathematics instruction frequently lacks in variety and innovation, assuming a "one-size-fits-all" strategy for all learners. Implications for research and practice include the need to examine culture, language, and social contexts to better support these students at every level throughout their mathematics education.^

Subject Area

Education, Community College|Education, Mathematics|Education, Evaluation|Latin American Studies

Recommended Citation

Paez Paez, Carlos Ruben, "Views from a community college on the U.S.-Mexico border: Mexican/Mexican-American postsecondary students' perceptions of K-16 mathematics education" (2014). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI3682478.
http://digitalcommons.utep.edu/dissertations/AAI3682478

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