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"We had not dared to do that earlier, but now we see that it works": Creating a culturally responsive mathematics exam

Anne Birgitte Fyhn, Ylva Jannok Nutti, Kristine Nystad, Ellen J. Sara Eira, Ole Einar Hætta


This paper describes two Sámi mathematics teachers’ development of an innovative instructional practice. Having recognized that Norway’s national written exam disadvantaged their students, the teachers developed and established a culturally responsive local oral mathematics exam as part of a five-year research project that took place between 2010 and 2015 in Guovdageaidnu, Norway. The aim of the paper is to illuminate the role of teachers’ autonomy in the process towards Indigenous educational self-determination. We analyse the teachers’ development from a state of recovery to a state of self-determination with respect to a framework consisting of 1) the four states in Smith’s (2012) Indigenous Research Agenda: survival, recovery, development and self-determination; and 2) Deci and Ryan’s (2012) distinction between supporting autonomy and controlling behaviour. The teachers’ development of a culturally responsive mathematics exam reflects their development towards self-determination. We draw on data consisting of audio recordings and handwritten notes from meetings between the teachers and researchers.

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Print ISSN 1177-1801 Online ISSN 1174-1740