Date of Award

Summer 8-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching & Learning


Curriculum and Instruction

Committee Director

Melva Grant

Committee Member

Judith Dunkerly

Committee Member

Kala Burrell-Craft

Committee Member

Laura Smithers


Achievement gaps in mathematics between middle and high school Black students when compared to their white peers exist in part because of access, but also because Black learners’ brilliance is not recognized. Finding ways to help students, especially Black students, become successful mathematical problem solvers was a driving force behind this research. The purpose of this research is to explore ideas of how to improve Black students' opportunities to engage in effective mathematical problem solving to improve their mathematics understanding and achievement. This study introduces the Culturally Responsive Equitable Problem Solving (CREPS) pedagogy situated at the intersections of a conceptual framework comprised of three pedagogies - Gay’s (2002) Culturally Responsive Pedagogy, Aguirre, Mayfield-Ingram, and Martin’s (2013) Equity-Based Mathematics Practices, and Schroeder and Lester’s (1989) Teaching through Problem-Solving.

This dissertation study is guided by several research questions and reported through three separate, but related essays: (a) Theorizing a Culturally Responsive Equitable Problem-Solving Pedagogy; (b) Developing Culturally Responsive Equitable Problem-Solving Pedagogical Knowledge; and (c) Cases of Exemplary Instances of Teaching Culturally Responsive Equitable Problem-Solving Pedagogy. These three essays introduce and explain the tenets of CREPS pedagogy, examine secondary mathematics teachers' culturally responsive teaching readiness and their professional learning of CREPS through CREPS pedagogy, and identify instances of exemplary CREPS pedagogical teaching during lesson study (i.e., collaborative planning and iterative teaching of a CREPS lesson), respectively. There were several findings from this research. The most salient findings were the three CREPS pedagogical moves: (a) development of deep mathematics understanding; (b) acknowledgement of students’ backgrounds; and (c) employment of equitable pedagogical practices. Several ideas for future research are shared related to refining and testing the CREPS pedagogy, developing teachers' CREPS pedagogical knowledge, and teaching experiments for enacting CREPS pedagogy.


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