The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Cultivating Equitable Pathways to Upper Level Math Courses for Black High School Students

Kirk D. Rogers, Jr., California State University, Dominguez Hills (United States)


Algebra I is considered a “gatekeeper course” as it is required for students to gain access to higher-level coursework. 80% of K-12 students are eligible to take Algebra I in eighth grade, yet only 24% of American eighth-graders actually take the course (US Department of Education, 2018). Black students are even les likely than their peers to be enrolled in Algebra I in the eighth grade, which ultimately impacts their math options in high school. The purpose of this critical race mixed-methods (CRMM) study was to demonstrate how tracking policies and certain math pathways offer inequitable access to high-quality math teachers that push Black students out of the STEM pipeline by influencing their options before they even make it to high school. Ultimately, my hope is that this study will help researchers understand the limited racial diversity in STEM fields, while also situating math as one of the major deterrents of Black students’ interest and persistence in STEM. This research could be impactful for developing systems of multilevel support for Black students in STEM classrooms and could serve as an impetus for changes in math curriculum, policy, and teaching practices. Furthermore, as it is becoming increasingly important that students are mathematically literate in order to understand the world and be fully engaged in our democratic society, scholars have called for math literacy to be seen as a civil right (Edley, 2017; Moses, 2002). Specifically, with recent developments regarding Covid-19 and statistics related to the disproportionate killings of Black persons by the police, a modicum of mathematical literacy and statistical fluency is crucial for the viability of the Black community as a whole.



Math, Black Students, STEM outcomes, equity



[1] Edley, C. (2017, June). At Cal State, Algebra is a civil rights issue. EdSource. Retrieved from:

[2] Moses, R.P. & Cobb, C.E. (2002). Radical equations: Civil rights from Mississippi to the Algebra project. Boston, MA: Beacon Press

[3] U.S. Department of Education (2018, November). A leak in the STEM pipeline: Taking Algebra early. Retrieved from:


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