Through theoretical and empirical studies of pedagogical processes, Paola Valero's research contributes with an understanding of how mathematics education has become central in processes of political, cultural and economic inclusion and exclusion of diverse populations in modern society. Her research is of relevance for teachers and policy-makers.

Paola Valero's current research posits the focus of the political in how math in the curriculum is an important site of subjectification in contemporary societies. Such perspective unfolds in a diversity of studies of how mathematics education generates inclusion and exclusion in society with respect to, for example, newly-arrived students, indigenous communities, low-income students etc. Some studies are of a more historical type and explore the forming of mathematics education as a field of study, and the growing importance given to mathematics in schools since the Second World War. Her research is highly interdisciplinary and provides an understanding of math (and science) as subjects of teaching and learning at the intersection between the scientific subjects, educational and pedagogical processes, and society. This basic research is of relevance to the theoretical but also practical construction of teacher education as well as to policy-making.