Date of Award

Spring 2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Education Policy, Planning, and Administration

Committee Chairperson

Merry L. Staulters Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jacqueline Van Schooneveld, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Brian Bowen, Ph.D.


In the most simplistic form, mathematical identities manifest in the statements, “I am good at math” or “I am not good at math”. Once established, individuals’ identities influence how they interact and approach mathematical problem-solving (Bishop, 2012; Boaler, 2013; Boaler & Selling, 2017). The purpose of this mixed-method explanatory sequential study is to explore a deeper understanding of how elementary teachers’ mathematical identities influence their beliefs about effective math instruction. Utilizing an explanatory sequential mixed-method design, a questionnaire was used for the initial quantitative analysis of teachers' mathematical identities. Analysis of survey submissions identified three unique mathematical identity profiles. Two representatives from each of the profiles participated in qualitative semi-structured interviews. Participants in the survey were limited to elementary-certified math teachers in eight public school districts in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Forty-eight teachers completed the initial questionnaire, and six individuals participated in follow-up interviews. Using SPSS, descriptive and categorical statistical analysis was conducted to correlate participants’ current mathematical identity with their beliefs about mathematical instructional practices. Interview transcripts were coded and analyzed for themes to add additional context and rich description to the initial quantitative findings. The study found that teachers' past experiences significantly influence the development of their math identities which are dynamic and complex in nature. Furthermore, individuals with a more negative mathematical identity prefer more traditional math instructional practices and value solutions to problems over the process of learning mathematics.

Keywords: Mathematical identity, mixed methods, elementary mathematics