Date of Graduation

Fall 12-19-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education (MAE)


Curriculum & Instruction

Thesis Chair

Dr. Karen Burgard


The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of a social justice approach to mathematics instruction. While many students have math aversion, students in low socioeconomic communities exhibit this to a higher degree putting them at a disadvantage as they progress through their educational career. More than 3.4 million K-12 students in the United States come from families that earn less than the median income yet achieve scores in the top percentile (Wyner et al., 2007). This raises the question of why so many students in low-socioeconomic settings are not given rigorous content that will keep them competitive on the national stage. Because the study draws from a population of low-socioeconomic status, all participants are from a district of low-socioeconomic status (94% are designated by the state as economically disadvanted), therefore demonstrating a need for this study. Teaching math using social justice not only provides grade level appropriate and rigorous content, but it also helps them be informed of the injustices’ students in low-socioeconomic settings are facing that they may not notice. In most research done on social justice math, the discussion focuses on the impact of student performance and not the actual teaching methods. Of the research done on the topic, it is frequently pointed out that there are very few methods to teach social justice math that are known (Leonard, J., Brooks, W., Barnes-Johnson, J., & Berry, R. Q., 2010). Therefore, it is imperative to research what methods are successful for the implementation of social justice in a math classroom.