Social Mathematics in the Curriculum of American Civics: An Analysis of Selected National and State Standards and of Magruder's American Government

Open Access
Mauch, James William
Graduate Program:
Curriculum and Instruction
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
March 23, 2005
Committee Members:
  • Patrick Willard Shannon, Committee Chair/Co-Chair
  • Murry R Nelson, Committee Member
  • Marilyn L Page, Committee Member
  • John B Frantz, Committee Member
  • statistics
  • mathematics
  • numeracy
  • innumeracy
  • quantitative literacy
  • social mathematics
  • civics
  • citizenship
  • social studies
Social mathematics has enjoyed over twenty-five years of representation in social studies education literature. To better understand the development of social mathematics and how it relates to social studies education, historical research was conducted in order to determine the ways in which mathematics and statistics pertain to social studies education. A new definition of social mathematics is presented, one that is based upon the historical and contemporary review of the ways in which historical and contemporary theorists and practitioners conceptualize the intersection of mathematics, statistics, and civics. Descriptive research methodologies are also employed in order to analyze the treatment of social mathematics within the curriculum of American Civics. Representative samples of civic curricula were identified at the national, state, and textbook levels. The official texts of all samples were analyzed regarding their treatment of social mathematics. Results indicate that national social studies and civics standards at best imply the importance of social mathematics, state social studies standards treat social mathematics marginally, and the textbook selected for analysis offers primarily practice and assessment in rudimentary skills of social mathematics. Several conclusions are offered to account for the lack of representation of social mathematics in the civics curriculum. Additionally, numerous examples are provided of how national and state education agencies and textbook publishers can address social mathematics within the civics curriculum and why students of American Civics need instruction in and practice with the concepts and skills of social mathematics.