Equity in mathematics textbooks: A new look at an old issue

Katrina Piatek-Jimenez, Matthew Madison, Julia Przybyla-Kuchek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

The images portrayed in textbooks have the ability to influence students' beliefs about self, ethnicity, social class, and gender. Several studies in the 1970s and 1990s documented the lack of equity in mathematics textbooks with respect to gender; however, few studies have been conducted recently. Research with a focus on minority representation in mathematics textbooks is sparse. This study examines equity in mathematics textbooks with a focus on gender, race, and ethnicity. We analyzed every image in three current middle school mathematics textbooks series commonly used in the United States. Each image was coded for gender, age, and race/ethnicity. We also examined how these groups are being portrayed with a focus on activities and careers by analyzing trends found in the photographs. While it is evident that an effort was made for all groups to be represented, the results indicate that groups are not portrayed equally in activities and careers. With respect to gender, males are portrayed as being more mathematical and are shown in more careers than females. Regarding race and ethnicity, Whites are portrayed as being more mathematical and more active and are shown in more careers than minorities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-74
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

Keywords

  • Ethnicity
  • Gender
  • Mathematics education
  • Minorities
  • Race
  • Textbook analysis

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