Kari Kokka - Research and Grants


Co-Principal Investigator (2020-2023). Political Conocimiento in Teaching Mathematics: Preparing Teachers to Advocate for Students. With Rochelle Gutierrez, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign (PI), Marrielle Meyers, Kennesaw State University (Co-PI). Spencer Foundation ($500,000).

Pitt subaward $150,000

In an era of high stakes testing, anti-immigration sentiments, racially-biased tracking practices, and corporate investment in schools, teaching is more political than ever. Yet, without understanding this political aspect, mathematics teachers are unlikely to identify their role as advocates for equity and may simply reproduce the teaching they experienced and the accompanying inequities. In fact, we risk losing teachers unprepared to navigate politics. Rather than assuming they will develop acquire political knowledge on-the-job, pre-service teachers need to be offered opportunities to critique initiatives, leverage resources, and practice making ethical decisions to significantly change classrooms, schools, and society. Developing and producing this requires further theorizing mathematics teacher education around political knowledge and practice, and sharing research methods/tools that seriously address teachers’ need for professional support to negotiate the politics they face.

To address this timely issue, the Political Conocimiento in Teaching Mathematics, situated across 3 universities, seeks to understand and address: (1) the nature of politics that mathematics teachers are facing in different contexts; (2) how intentionally-designed activities prepare teachers to understand how politics affect their teaching and students; and (3) how such activities prepare teachers to take risks in addressing politics they face now and in the future.

Co-Principal Investigator (2019-2022). Student Engagement in Mathematics: A Longitudinal Study of Classroom and Psychosocial Processes. With Ming-Te Wang (PI), Xu Qin (Co-PI), and Jennifer Fredricks (Co-I). National Science Foundation ($1.5 million).

Research Interests

Kari Kokka


University of Pittsburgh
4318H Wesley W. Posvar Hall
230 South Bouquet Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15260