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Frequently Asked Questions About the National Indian Education Study (NIES) and the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)

Questions about the National Indian Education Study (NIES)

Questions about the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)

 

What is the National Indian Education Study (NIES)?

The National Indian Education Study (NIES) is designed to describe the condition of education for American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) students in the United States. The study was conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) at the request of the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Indian Education (OIE).

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What is the purpose of the NIES?

The goal of the study is to describe the condition of education of American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) students by focusing on both their academic performance and educational experiences in grades 4 and 8. This activity is part of a collaborative effort among Indian tribes and organizations, the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE), and state and local education agencies toward meeting the challenging academic standards set forth in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorized in 2001.  

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Who conducted the study?

The study was conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) with support from the Office of Indian Education (OIE), U.S. Department of Education. NCES designed the study in consultation with a Technical Review Panel (TRP) whose members include American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) educators and researchers from across the country.

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Who participated in the NIES?

Nationally representative samples of 5,500 AI/AN fourth-graders and 4,100 AI/AN eighth-graders participated in the 2011 NAEP reading assessment, and nationally representative samples of 5,400 AI/AN fourth-graders and 4,200 AI/AN eighth-graders participated in the 2011 NAEP mathematics assessment. About 10,200 AI/AN students from approximately 1,900 schools at grade 4 and about 10,300 AI/AN students from approximately 2,000 schools at grade 8 participated in the 2011 NIES survey. Also responding to the survey were about 3,000 teachers and 1,900 school administrators at grade 4 and about 4,600 teachers and 2,000 school administrators at grade 8. Read more about the sample design of the study.

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Did the sample for the NIES differ from the main NAEP sample?

American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) students represent about 1 percent of the total student population in the United States. While sufficient for reliable reporting of national-level results, a typical NAEP AI/AN sample is often not large enough to provide reliable results by state or by region, or for variables such as gender, eligibility for free/reduced-price school lunch, or type of geographic location of the schools. Because the purpose of the current study was to probe more deeply into the reading and mathematics achievements of AI/AN students, the typical NAEP samples for this population of students were augmented to permit reporting of performance in greater detail.

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What types of questions were asked in the NIES survey?

In addition to the questionnaires administered as part of the 2011 NAEP assessments, American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) students and their teachers and school administrators also completed questionnaires specifically for the NIES. Most of the survey questions were multiple choice, but space at the end for additional comments was included. The questionnaires were developed with the guidance of a Technical Review Panel assembled to advise the NIES.

Examples of the themes that were addressed by the student respondents include perceptions about school and learning, exposure to and knowledge of the AI/AN culture in school and at home, and the students' plans for the future. Teachers were asked questions about their general qualifications, experience with AI/AN culture, and preparation to teach AI/AN students. The demographic characteristics of students and staff, community involvement within the school, and the general emphasis on AI/AN culture and curriculum are some of the types of questions that were asked of school administrators.

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How will the results of the NIES be used to further explore education and policy issues related to American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) education?

The 2005 results of Part I of the NIES set a baseline for 21st century NAEP reading and mathematics performance of American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) students in grades 4 and 8. The 2007, 2009, and 2011 reports build on this information to form a more complete picture of the status of education for AI/AN students in the United States.

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What is the Executive Order, and why is it important?

NIES is authorized under Executive Order 13592, Improving American Indian and Alaska Native Educational Opportunities and Strengthening Tribal Colleges and Universities, which was issued in 2011 to improve education efforts for American Indian and Alaska Native students nationwide.

The order is aimed at assisting American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) students in meeting challenging student academic standards set forth in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorized in 2001.

The order called for studies and reports on the current educational status of AI/AN students, including a compilation of comprehensive data on the academic achievement and progress of these students. The present study falls within the spirit of the compilation of information about education achievement called for by the executive order.

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What is the Office of Indian Education (OIE), and what does it do?

The mission of the Office of Indian Education (OIE), within the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE), is to support the efforts of local educational agencies, American Indian tribes and organizations, postsecondary institutions, and other entities to meet the unique educational and culturally related academic needs of American Indians and Alaska Natives so that these students can meet the standards set for all students.

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Are there other NCES studies describing the education of American Indian/Alaskan Native (AI/AN) students?

The NIES was first conducted in 2005 and reported in two parts, examining American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) students' performance in NAEP mathematics and reading assessments, and their educational experiences. It was conducted again in 2007, 2009, and 2011.

Additional studies using NAEP data include Status and Trends in the Education of American Indians and Alaska Natives: 2008, and an earlier status and trends report.  

Four studies from NCES that use 2007-08 Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS) data describe characteristics of elementary and secondary public, private, and Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) schools, focusing on school characteristics, school library media centers, principals, and teachers.

Also see American Indian and Alaska Native Children: Findings From the Base Year of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort (ECLS-B) from NCES.

There are other recent reports using NAEP data from the Regional Educational Laboratories (REL) in the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). To find these reports, search the Education Resources Information Center known as ERIC.

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What is the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)?

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), was developed in 1969, and is the largest nationally representative assessment of what the nation's students know and can do in core subjects such as civics, mathematics, reading, science, U.S. history, and writing. Teachers, principals, parents, policymakers, and researchers all use NAEP results to assess progress and develop ways to improve education in America. The results of NAEP are published as The Nation's Report CardTM, and are available for the nation, states, and in some cases, urban districts. NAEP is administered by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), within the Institute of Education Sciences of the U.S. Department of Education.

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What subjects does NAEP assess, and how are the subjects chosen?

Since its inception in 1969, NAEP assessments have been conducted in numerous academic subjects, including the arts, civics, economics, geography, mathematics, reading, science, U.S. history, and writing. In addition to these subjects, NAEP is developing computer-based writing assessments for fourth-, eighth-, and twelfth-grade students, and is working on the development of an assessment of student literacy in technology and engineering. This assessment is scheduled for 2014.

Since 1988, the National Assessment Governing Board has been responsible for selecting the subject areas to be assessed. Furthermore, the Governing Board oversees development of the frameworks that underlie the assessments and the specifications that guide the development of the assessment instruments. The framework for each subject area is determined through a collaborative development process that involves teachers, curriculum specialists, subject-matter specialists, school administrators, parents, and members of the general public.

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What types of questions are asked in the NAEP assessments?

NAEP questions are based on content frameworks developed by the Governing Board. NAEP asks both multiple-choice and open-ended questions in all assessments. After each assessment, a number of NAEP questions are released to the public. Questions released from the mathematics and reading assessments are available in the NAEP Questions Tool. The tool also provides the percentage of students who answered each question correctly, the content classification, the scoring guide for open-ended questions, and sample student responses.

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What are non-cognitive questionnaires, and how are they used?

NAEP collects information that serves to fulfill reporting requirements of federal legislation and to provide a context for reporting student performance. The legislation requires that, whenever feasible, NAEP include information on special groups such as race/ethnicity, students eligible for the National School Lunch Program, gender, students with disabilities, and English language learners. View the NAEP background questionnaires

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Who participates in NAEP?

NAEP assesses students in grades 4, 8, and 12 attending all types of schools (public and nonpublic). NAEP selects a stratified random sample across the country in each grade. NAEP has always endeavored to assess all students selected as a part of its sampling process, including students who are classified by their schools as students with disabilities and/or English language learners. Some students may participate with testing accommodations. Find out more about the NAEP policy of inclusion.

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Last updated 10 October 2012 (JM)
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National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
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