Protective Factors that Yield Empowerment for Black Girls’ Mathematical Brilliance Black Girls Protective Factors of Empowerment

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Natalie Parker-Holliman
Faith Maina


Black girls are marginalized and often experience barriers to accessing advanced mathematics, which affects their socialization and identity. Little is known about the experiences of Black girls who have gained access to advanced mathematics programs. The participants in this study were 11 middle school Black females enrolled in advanced mathematics, a course with a curriculum at a higher grade level and a faster pace compared to their same-age peers. Using a qualitative methodology, we use collective memory writings, individual and focus group interviews, and the researcher’s journal data to examine how girls’ perceptions of societal messages work to impact and empower Black girls enrolled in advanced mathematics coursework and extend current research on this topic. We conclude that Black girls have various protective factors--innate characteristics that yield positive outcomes, influencing their self-efficacy. The themes uncovered as a result were that Black girls are motivated by engaging in valuable mathematics that is meaningful to them; their perceived mathematical identity represents a protective factor. This research study illuminates that Black girls are brilliant, but only those with prominent protective factors are often recognized in educational institutions for their merit.



Article Details

Black, girls, advanced, mathematics, identity, protective factors
How to Cite
Parker-Holliman, Ph.D, N., & Maina, F. . (2023). Protective Factors that Yield Empowerment for Black Girls’ Mathematical Brilliance: Black Girls Protective Factors of Empowerment. Journal of Mathematics Education at Teachers College, 14(2), 1–8.