An Investigation of How Humans are Portrayed in High School Mathematics Textbooks


  • Evelyn Pohle
  • Alison Marzocchi
  • Alexis Di Pasqua
  • Emily Rumaldo


Mathematics textbooks convey messages to students about people in mathematics. Unfortunately, past textbook research has revealed few examples of people of color, women, non-binary genders, and STEM careers, and sometimes even perpetuation of problematic stereotypes. We present our investigation of how humans are portrayed in high school mathematics textbooks, and encourage teachers to investigate their own materials. Our findings reveal low human presence, few named characters, non-inclusive gender identities, and few examples of STEM careers. Teachers can be mindful of representation within their materials, and can foster an inclusive classroom by deliberately showcasing examples of diverse professionals in STEM careers.