A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction

This online resources guides instructions on how to support Black, LatinX, and Multilingual students to a path for math equity.

Author(s) Organizational Affiliation
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Publication Year
Resource Type
Instructional Material
Key Words

A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction is an integrated approach to mathematics that centers Black, Latinx, and Multilingual students, addresses barriers to math equity, and aligns instruction to grade-level priority standards. The Pathway offers guidance and resources for educators to use now as they plan their curriculum, while also offering opportunities for ongoing self-reflection as they seek to develop an anti-racist math practice. The toolkit “strides” serve as multiple on-ramps for educators as they navigate the individual and collective journey from equity to anti-racism.

Benefits and Uses

This resource can help adult educators at all levels evaluate and reflect on current teaching practices and better understand how to be equitable in the mathematics classroom. State staff could use this resource as a tool for professional development initiatives. Local program leadership could identify areas of instructional need and employ recommended practices. Lead instructors and instructional coaches will find a wealth of resources to help practitioners improve their craft. Individual instructors might use the tools to reflect on their math teaching practices, use the suggested teaching methods, analyze their results, and understand ways to incorporate more inclusive lessons. The tools can help practitioners unpack their own understanding of diversity and equity in the classroom. Working together in a professional learning community, instructors would have many potential topics that they could discuss and employ in their teaching, completing assignments independently and sharing their experiences together.  Each stride could be used in a as a way of developing practitioners independently using an informal training guide.

Stride 1 offers the opportunity for instructors to critically examine their actions, beliefs, and values around teaching math (Pgs. 7 – 10). This stride also offers eleven opportunities for educators to reflect on their practice (Pgs. 12 – 81) in areas such as how did I learn math, how do I teach math, and how do I engage students in learning.

The pandemic has sharpened the focus on addressing all students’ social and emotional well-being. Pages 16 to 18 of stride 3 provide excellent activities and strategies that build on the themes of agency, belonging, discourse, and identity.

Programs serving English learners (EL) will benefit from stride 4’s focus on equitably serving this learner population. It takes an asset-based approach to teaching ELs and several English learners worked in its development. 

Administrators and other instructional leaders will benefit from stride 5’s coaching structures for math equity. Understanding leaning cycle structures and using instructional acceleration days serve as effective coaching tools.

Required Training

No prior training required.

What the experts say

This toolkit outlines five strides (tools) that can be used to address barriers to equitable math instruction. Each stride provides an access point for educators in their efforts to develop and sustain an equitable math teaching practice. The strides are dismantling racism, fostering deep understanding, creating conditions to thrive, connecting critical intersections, and sustaining equitable practice.

This resource is thoroughly researched, carefully crafted, and definitely timely. The Pathway for Equitable Math Instruction clearly identifies learner characteristics, instructional setting, and expected outcomes. Instructions for use are clear, and it is accessible to all practitioners. While primarily developed for use in grades 6 to 8, it is appropriate for adult educators. “Many educators are sharing that the tools are helpful for shaping learning conditions and experiences across multiple subject areas as well” (FAQ, A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction).

The authors do not claim that math itself is racist. Instead, they say, “A traditionally narrow approach to mathematics has unintentionally left many students – especially Black, Latinx, and multilingual learners – disconnected and left out from the world of mathematics” (FAQ, A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction). Because of these racial overtones, some programs may doubt the underlying assumptions of this curriculum and resist its use.

The toolkit is extremely comprehensive. Since most adult education programs feature a primarily part-time instructional staff, finding adequate staff time to work through each section will prove challenging. Programs may choose instead to focus on selected areas based on their assessed needs.

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