Becoming: Adult Learners’ Identity Work Toward Successful Learners of Mathematics
thesisposted on 01.08.2020, 00:00 by John Bragelman
This dissertation is a multi-case, life-story analysis of five adult learners’ experiences of success in the context of mathematics remediation in a large, urban community college. Prior research has shown that only a small percentage of learners experience formal success in remediation. To better understand how these learners experience formal success, I examine identity formation and identity work. Identity formation directs the analysis to how learners come to see themselves as doers of mathematics and how they negotiate identity ascriptions. I examine one aspect of these negotiations as identity work, defined as the narrative and behavioral effort invoked to actualize identities. Multiple forms of data inform this study, including mathematics artifacts as well as semi-structured interviews conducted at two time points. A cross-case analysis of the data revealed two explicit school-level narratives about remediation that participants worked to overcome: mathematics remediation as an institutionally-designated pathway for access and mathematics remediation as a deficit framing of students’ mathematics competencies and identities. A within-case analysis reveals how different participants navigated these narratives.