Need: Undergraduate calculus instruction contributes to racialized and gendered rates of persistence with mathematics coursework and STEM majors. While prior research has characterized a general ethos of exclusion in undergraduate mathematics, calculus instruction has not been examined to understand classroom practices that support or discourage STEM persistence and a sense of belonging in mathematics. Our project, titled Challenging, Operationalizing, and Understanding Racialized and Gendered Events (COURAGE) in Undergraduate Calculus, examines student and faculty perceptions of calculus instruction to address this needed area of research. The research explores the impacts of calculus instruction on underrepresented students, their responses, as well as mechanisms in classroom practices that reinforce racialized and gendered oppression. COURAGE uses this evidence to inform professional development for mathematics faculty that promotes race- and gender-conscious instruction to disrupt racialized and gendered gatekeeping functions of calculus education. Guiding Questions: We organize our poster around two research questions: (1) What influences shape underrepresented students’ experiences of calculus instruction as discouraging or supportive? (2) What do faculty and student perceptions of calculus instruction suggest about race- and gender-equitable classroom practices to inform professional development in mathematics departments? Findings are based on a single-institution case study at a large, public research university in the northeastern U.S. involving over 40 student participants and 7 faculty participants. We analyzed two types of data. One data source was underrepresented students’ journaling of discouraging and supportive instructional events in calculus classrooms. We also analyzed transcripts of individual and group interviews with faculty and students centered around 3-4 written prompts of instructional episodes that reflect themes from student journaling. Outcomes: Our poster highlights three sets of findings. First, we depict how racialized and gendered forces of systemic oppression (e.g., stereotypes of mathematical ability) shape underrepresented students’ experiences of calculus instruction to deepen our understanding of how classroom practices hinder equitable learning opportunities (Battey et al., 2021; Leyva, Quea, et al., 2021). Second, our analyses of faculty and student perspectives capture how dominant logics in mathematics departments (e.g., calculus as a weedout course) organize seemingly neutral instructional practices that have racialized and gendered impacts on underrepresented student populations despite good pedagogical intent (Leyva, McNeill, et al., 2021; McNeill et al., 2021). Third, our findings point to how equity-oriented instruction requires confronting how calculus education is situated in a broader sociopolitical context to disrupt exclusionary access to content and build robust mathematics identities (Leyva et al., in press). Broader Impacts: Our current work focuses on scaling up our research through a national survey study of faculty and student perceptions of calculus instructional features documented as discouraging or supportive in our earlier work. This study expands the scope of our inquiry beyond a single institution to over 100 U.S. colleges and universities with Black and Latinx undergraduate enrollment comparable to the institution in our case study. Such multi-institutional insights will both strengthen and nuance our claims about underrepresented students’ instructional experiences across identities and contexts, thus further informing implications for equity-oriented practices in U.S. calculus classrooms.
Megumi Asada, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ; Dan Battey, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ; Keith Weber, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ; Nora Hyland, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ; Kristen Amman, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ; Brittany L. Marshall, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ; R. Taylor McNeill, Vanderbilt University – Peabody College of Education & Human Development, Nashville, TN