Latino/a and Black Students and Mathematics

Rochelle Gutierrez and Sonya E. Irving

Many students feel disconnected from mathematics, often taught without context or relation to everyday life. Black and Latino/a students–typically underserved groups, may struggle with math more than their peers.

This 2012 report advocates for connecting math to students’ lives to engage and help them become lifelong learners and world citizens. The authors review research on ethnomathematics, adult and out-of-school contexts for learning math, and social justice mathematics to broaden understanding of where, when, and for whom math happens and the implications for teaching and learning.

Developing students' confidence, enlarging their repertoire of mathematical strategies, and building a mathematical identity that builds upon one's culture or community may be as important as increasing scores on standardized tests.