Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Teacher Education and Leadership

Committee Chair(s)

Patricia Moyer-Packenham (Committee Chair), Sherry Marx (Committee Co-Chair)


Patricia Moyer-Packenham


Sherry Marx


Jessica Shumway


Kady Schneiter


Beth MacDonald


In mathematics, Students of Color have persistently performed lower than their White counterparts, thus creating a need to explore instructional methods that could reduce performance disparities. This study investigated culturally relevant pedagogy (CRP) to understand how it might support students’ mathematics learning in undergraduate mathematics learning modules. The overarching research question focused on how CRP in undergraduate mathematics Learning Modules supported students’ mathematics learning. There were also two main questions that focused on participants’ evaluations of the CRP modules and how those evaluations were reported based on subgroups (Students of Color and White). The researcher employed a sequential explanatory mixed-methods design where quantitative and qualitative analysis examined participants’ performance and evaluations of the modules, respectively.

After experiencing the modules, most participants demonstrated performance gains, however, Students of Color outperformed White participants. Participants identified the presence of culture, real-world examples, safe and positive student to student interactions, learning aids rooted in real data, and the development of critical consciousness as the most effective aspects of the CRP modules. Students of Color were more likely than White participants to discuss elevated feelings of motivation and engagement, feelings of being listened to and included in the learning process, a connection to the instructor through similar perspectives, and reduced fears of being judged. White participants were more likely than Students of Color to discuss the high quality of the instructor’s skills and that they learned from their interactions with Students of Color. White participants had a higher curiosity (than Students of Color) toward better understanding the social issues presented in the CRP modules. Regardless of race/ethnicity, all participants preferred learning mathematics with the CRP modules over traditional methods.

Based on these results, the researcher recommends the use of real-world examples that are culturally relevant, current, and genuinely provoke students to interrogate social issues through mathematics. He also recommends that, in CRP, educators must participate like students, allow independent thought, and be culturally competent in order to develop positive relationships with Students of Color. These results are important because they demonstrate how CRP can be implemented and that Students of Color can excel in mathematics.