Research Commentary: A Gap-Gazing Fetish in Mathematics Education? Problematizing Research on the Achievement Gap

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  • 1 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

A substantial amount of research in mathematics education seeks to document disparities in achievement between middle-class White students and students who are Black, Latina/Latino, First Nations, English language learners, or working class. I outline the dangers in maintaining an achievement-gap focus. These dangers include offering little more than a static picture of inequities, supporting deficit thinking and negative narratives about students of color and working-class students, perpetuating the myth that the problem (and therefore solution) is a technical one, and promoting a narrow definition of learning and equity. I propose a new focus for research on advancement (excellence and gains) and interventions for specific groups.

Contributor Notes

Rochelle Gutiérrez, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1310 South Sixth Street, Champaign, IL 61820;

(Corresponding author is Gutiérrez
Journal for Research in Mathematics Education


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