The Promise of Qualitative Metasynthesis: Mathematics Experiences of Black Learners

Robert Berry, Kateri Thunder


The purpose of this article is to present the findings of a qualitative metasynthesis focused on Black learners negotiating their mathematics experiences in multiple settings (in school and out-of-school) and reflecting on experiences that contributed towards their mathematics identities over time. Five findings emerged from this qualitative metasynthesis to describe the ways Black learners negotiated their experiences in mathematics across time. The findings are: 1) Learners determined their values, which were influenced by others; 2) Learners defined success in life, in academics, and specifically in mathematics, based on their values; 3) Learners encountered issues of awareness and access along their experience pathways, which included opportunities to make academic choices and to experience high expectations in academics; 4) Learners developed self-images based on their values and a mosaic of images, which comprised their image-based criteria for negotiating experience pathways; and 5) Learners’ development of agency depended on their understanding of the consequences of their encounters with issues of awareness and access as well as their image-based criteria for success.

Full Text: