Status & Mindset Interventions


In her book Strength in Numbers: Collaborative Learning in Secondary Mathematics, Ilana Horn writes:


“Judgements about who is smart based on prior achievement or social categories violate

a fundamental principle of equity and are consequential: learning is not the same as

achievement” (2012, p.20). 

When students experience mathematics classes that emphasize competition, procedures and speed over conceptual understanding they often compare themselves to others and feel that they are not a math person. Additional toxic messages may come from the implicit biases about who is good at math from parents, teachers, and images in our broader culture that usually portray mathematicians as white and male. These biases are often internalized by students and can create status issues in the classroom. But don't take it from us, here are students explaining how it feels in their own words.

Math as an Equity Issue
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