“IF NOT ME, THEN WHO?” RESOURCES, ORIENTATIONS, AND GOALS OF EFFECTIVE AND EQUITY-MINDED DEVELOPMENTAL MATHEMATICS INSTRUCTORS IN A COMMUNITY COLLEGE CONTEXT
MetadataShow full item record
Community colleges in the United States are open-access higher education institutions whose mission includes granting two-year associate degrees for transfer to bachelor-granting colleges and universities. As community colleges serve all students regardless of the level of academic preparation, many students require remediation in mathematics in basic mathematical skills to prepare them for success in college level mathematics courses. Unfortunately, remedial or “developmental” programs at community colleges often result in low student success rates that are even lower for some demographic groups (e.g. race, SES). Developmental mathematics can be a roadblock for underprepared students, costing them time and money, and often resulting in failure. This dissertation posits that attention to instruction in community college developmental mathematics programs is necessary to remedy inequitable student outcomes. To that end, this study investigates the interplay of an instructor’s resources, orientations, and goals based on Schoenfeld’s (2011) decision-making framework in the context of equity-minded instruction and the teaching cycle in in community college developmental mathematics classroom. This study used a qualitative cross-case analysis to examine the relationship among the resources, orientations, and goals for four effective community college developmental mathematics instructors in relation to their perspectives on equity and teaching. A screening tool was used to identify effective instructors based on results from: a teaching characteristics survey, student success rates, supervisor evaluations, student evaluations, and amount of experience. The case studies and cross-case analysis, based on two interviews and two teaching observations for each participant, sought themes across the resources, orientations, and goals for an effective and equity-minded developmental mathematics instructor. The cross-case analysis resulted in seven themes: Two orientations, the instructor establishes a productive learning environment and teaching as inquiry; three goals, to assist students in understanding mathematics, to support each student in successful learning, and to grow and be satisfied as a professional; and two resources, experiential resources and institutional resources. A theory of equity-minded community college developmental mathematics instruction is suggested based on the themes that emerged from the cross-case analysis.