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Mathematics students’ aspirations for higher education: class, ethnicity, gender and interpretative repertoire styles

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journal contribution
posted on 17.08.2011, 09:21 authored by Paul Hernandez-Martinez, Laura Black, Julian Williams, Pauline Davis, Maria Pampaka, Geoff Wake
This paper reports how students talk about their aspirations in regard to higher education (HE) and their mathematics, what ‘repertoires’ they use to mediate this discourse, and how students’ predominant ‘repertoire style’ relates to their cultural background. Our analyses draw on an interview sample (n=40) of students selected because they are ‘on the cusp’ of participation or non‐participation in mathematically demanding programmes in further and higher education. The interviews explored the students’ aspirations for their future in general and HE in particular, influences on these choices, and the place of mathematics in these. Thematic analysis revealed four interpretative repertoires commonly in use, which we call ‘becoming successful’, ‘personal satisfaction’, ‘vocational’, and ‘idealist’ repertoires. Most of the sample was found to use a single, predominant repertoire, which we call their repertoire ‘style’: what is more, this style is found to be strongly related to background factors independently obtained. The implications for policy and practice are discussed.

Funding

This research has been funded by the ESRC Teaching and Learning Programme under the theme of Widening Participation in HE, grant number RES-139-25-0241.

History

School

  • Science

Department

  • Mathematics Education Centre

Citation

HERNANDEZ-MARTINEZ, P. et al., 2008. Mathematics students’ aspirations for higher education: class, ethnicity, gender and interpretative repertoire styles. Research Papers in Education, 23 (2), pp. 153-165.

Publisher

© Taylor and Francis

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publication date

2008

Notes

This is an electronic version of an article published in the journal Research Papers in Education [© Taylor and Francis] and is available online at: http://www.tandfonline.com

ISSN

0267-1522

Language

en