Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name



Department of History

First Advisor

Dr. Alexa Henderson

Second Advisor

Dr. Richard Morton


This study examines mathematics curriculum development in the United States from 1973 to 1992 and analyzes the impact of this development upon African American students. The study was based upon the supposition that mathematics curricula that promote active engagement and utilize an interdisciplinary approach are more successful than traditional curricula in educating African American students. Historical data, which outlines the evolution of mathematics curriculum development between 1973 and 1992, was analyzed and compared to various performance indicators for students in mathematics. The analysis showed that during this time period, there was a considerable effort by the educational community to enhance mathematics curricula. Although the level of implementation varied tremendously, there was a pronounced trend towards utilizing new methodologies including discovery teaching and learning. In addition to an overall improvement of their mathematics proficiency at the national level, African American students demonstrated an even greater improvement in programs that were specifically designed to improve their performance in mathematics. Although it was concluded that improved proficiency among African American students was not the exclusive result of developments in mathematics curricula, there was evidence that curricula that promoted active engagement and utilized an interdisciplinary approach positively impacted their performance.