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What is Math Identity?
Mathematics identity refers to a person’s beliefs, attitudes, emotions, and dispositions about mathematics and their resulting motivation and approach to learning and using mathematics knowledge (Martin, 2000). It involves the ways students think about themselves in relation to mathematics and the extent to which they have developed a commitment to, are engaged in, and see value in mathematics (Cobb, Gresalfi, & Hodge, 2009). It is through social processes and shared experiences that individuals develop identity and gain a sense of self and meaning (Lave & Wenger, 1991; Boaler & Greeno, 2000). Students learn to engage in practices through  communities and develop a sense of self in relation to the practices and communities in which they learn.

What is a NIC?
A Networked Improvement Community (NIC) is an intentionally formed network of educational professionals and practitioners working with researchers to address a practical problem of high importance. The network accelerates the development, testing, and refining of interventions, and then spreads those interventions into a variety of contexts (e.g., in school experiences, informal/out of school experiences, practitioner professional development). The Girls’ Math Identity NIC aims to improve middle school girls’ math identity as a way to broaden participation in STEM. We are working together to identify what we know and still need to know about how to develop a positive and productive math identity, and how to disseminate that knowledge in the field in order to further research and improve practice. More information can be found here.

A scan of the literature was conducted to explore knowledge and knowledge gaps in the research about how girls develop a math identity and to identify studies on girls’ math identity with a focus on the middle grades. This annotated bibliography can be found here.

Project Planning Committee

Martha Bleeker
, Senior Survey Researcher, Mathematica Policy Research
Melissa S. Gresalfi, Associate Professor, Mathematics Education and Learning Sciences, Vanderbilt University, Peabody College
Dale McCreedy, Director of Gender, Adult Learning & Community Engagement, The Franklin Institute
Felicia Moore Mensah, Associate Professor of Science Education, Teachers College, Columbia University
Mark Saul,
Executive Director, Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival
David W. Stinson, Associate Professor, Middle and Secondary Education, Georgia State University
Robert H. Tai, Associate Professor, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Kathy D. Wright, Division Director of Multicultural/Equity in Science Education, National Science Teachers Association

Project Leads

Cheri Fancsali, Director of Research, The Research Alliance for New York City Schools
Merle Froschl, Co-Director, Educational Equity, FHI 360
Meghan Groome, Senior Vice President, Education, New York Academy of Sciences
Barbara Sprung, Co-Director, Educational Equity, FHI 360

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