School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences Faculty Publications and Presentations

Interventions and diversity, equity, and inclusion: Two current directions in research on the teaching and learning of calculus

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Calculus continues to be an important topic of discussion among mathematics education researchers given how it often acts as a gatekeeper for students in STEM. In their extensive 2017 review of calculus literature, Larsen and colleagues identified two main areas of applied research that had largely been neglected: research related (1) to efforts to improve calculus teaching and learning and (2) to equity and social justice. In this review we investigate how scholars have answered this call by reviewing recent literature related to these two themes. First we identified some promising intervention studies that investigated changes at the course level (e.g., calculus courses intended for engineering students) and at the level of specific calculus topics (e.g. using digital tools to help students understand the Fundamental Theorem). Second, we identified several studies on diversity, equity, and inclusion. We found that some studies in this collection still approached this research through traditional methods (e.g., so called achievement gaps) but we also identified promising new directions for research in which scholars utilize critical theories and provide counter-narratives that highlight the strengths of calculus students from historically marginalized groups. We conclude our review by discussing future directions we hope to see in the field that we argue will strengthen current work.


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ZDM Mathematics Education