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Summary of National Results

The National Indian Education Study (NIES) is administered as part of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and is designed to describe the condition of education for American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) students in the United States. The study provides educators, policymakers, and the public with information about the academic performance in reading and mathematics of AI/AN fourth- and eighth-graders as well as their exposure to Native American culture.

A nationally representative sample of 5,500 AI/AN fourth-graders and 4,100 AI/AN eighth-graders participated in the 2011 NAEP reading assessment nationwide. About 5,400 AI/AN fourth-graders and 4,200 AI/AN eighth-graders participated in the 2011 NAEP mathematics assessment. Explore the participation rates for the assessment. Learn more about the NIES sample and what the mathematics and reading assessments measure. Read about NAEP mathematics scales and reading scales and the NAEP mathematics achievement levels and reading achievement levels.

On this page, explore highlights from the NIES performance results, including trend and gap information for the following categories:

Additional information about the schools that AI/AN students attend is also provided by:

Complete national results for NIES are available by using the menu below.

       

Overall Results

  • At both grades 4 and 8, the mathematics score gap between non-AI/AN and AI/AN students is larger than in 2005.

In 2011, AI/AN students scored 16 points lower on average in mathematics than non-AI/AN students at grade 4, and 19 points lower at grade 8. The score gaps for both grades in 2011 were not significantly different from the gaps in 2009, but were larger than the gaps in 2005. In comparison to 2009 and 2005, average scores for fourth- and eighth-grade AI/AN students did not change significantly in 2011.

Line graph showing two horizontal lines: one labeled AI/AN and the other labeled Non-AI/AN. The space in-between the graph lines is labeled Score gap. The X axis is labeled year. The Y axis is labeled scale score and shows a range from 0 to 500. Grade 4: In 2005, the scale score = 238 for Non-AI/AN students, significantly different from 2011 and 226 for AI/AN students. The score gap of 12 between the groups, significantly different from 2011. In 2007, the scale score = 240 for Non-AI/AN students and 228 for AI/AN students, both are significantly different from 2011. The score gap of 12 between the groups, significantly different from 2011. In 2009, the scale score = 240 for Non-AI/AN students, significantly different from 2011 and 225 for AI/AN students. The score gap of 15 between the groups. In 2011, the scale score = 241 for Non-AI/AN students and 225 for AI/AN students. The score gap of 16 between the groups.

* Significantly different (p < .05) from 2011.
NOTE: AI/AN = American Indian/Alaska Native. Score gaps are calculated based on differences between unrounded average scores.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), various years, 2005-2011 Mathematics Assessments.

 

  • No significant change in average reading scores for AI/AN students compared to 2005 or 2009

At both grades 4 and 8, average reading scores for AI/AN students in 2011 were not significantly different from the scores in 2009 or 2005. AI/AN students scored 19 points lower on average in reading than non-AI/AN students in 2011 at grade 4 and 13 points lower at grade 8.

Line graph showing two horizontal lines: one labeled AI/AN and the other labeled Non-AI/AN. The space in-between the graph lines is labeled Score gap. The X axis is labeled year. The Y axis is labeled scale score and shows a range from 0 to 500. Grade 8: In 2005, the scale score = 279 for Non-AI/AN students, significantly different from 2011 and 264 for AI/AN students. The score gap of 15 between the groups, significantly different from 2011. In 2007, the scale score = 282 for Non-AI/AN students, significantly different from 2011 and 264 for AI/AN students. The score gap of 18 between the groups. In 2009, the scale score = 283 for Non-AI/AN students, significantly different from 2011 and 266 for AI/AN students. The score gap of 18 between the groups. In 2011, the scale score = 284 for Non-AI/AN students and 265 for AI/AN students. The score gap of 19 between the groups.

* Significantly different (p < .05) from 2011.
NOTE: AI/AN = American Indian/Alaska Native. Score gaps are calculated based on differences between unrounded average scores.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), various years, 2005-2011 Reading Assessments.


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Race/ethnicity

  • AI/AN students lag behind other racial/ethnic groups in mathematics at both grades.
Mathematics average scores for AI/AN students compared to scores for selected racial/ethnic groups: 2005 and 2011
Grade Year Average score for AI/AN students Difference in average score compared to AI/AN students
White Asian/Pacific Islander Black Hispanic
4 2011 225 24  31  -1 
2005 226 20* 25* -6* -1*
8 2011 265 28  37  -3 
2005 264 25* 31* -9* -2*
* Significantly different (p < .05) from 2011.
NOTE: AI/AN = American Indian/Alaska Native. Score gaps are calculated based on differences between unrounded average scores.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 2005 and 2011 Mathematics Assessments.

Looking at the gaps by specific racial/ethnic groups provides additional context for the non-AI/AN data.

With mathematics scores for AI/AN students flat over time and all other racial/ethnic groups showing gains in 2011 compared to 2005, White-AI/AN and Asian/Pacific Islander-AI/AN score gaps widened and there was a relative decline in performance for AI/AN students in comparison to their Black and Hispanic peers.

For example, AI/AN eighth-graders scored 2 points higher than their Hispanic peers in mathematics in 2005, but scored 5 points lower in 2011.

 

  • AI/AN fourth-graders lose ground in comparison to Asian/Pacific Islander, Black, and Hispanic peers in reading
Reading average scores for AI/AN students compared to scores for selected racial/ethnic groups: 2005 and 2011
Grade Year Average score for AI/AN students Difference in average score compared to AI/AN students
White Asian/Pacific Islander Black Hispanic
4 2011 202 28  32 
2005 204 25  25* -4* -1*
8 2011 252 22  23  -3 
2005 249 22  22  -6  -3 
# Rounds to zero.
* Significantly different (p < .05) from 2011.
NOTE: AI/AN = American Indian/Alaska Native. Score gaps are calculated based on differences between unrounded average scores.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 2005 and 2011 Reading Assessments.

In reading, the relative performance shifts were not as pervasive. At grade 4, the Asian/Pacific Islander-AI/AN score gap widened, the score gap for Black-AI/AN students reversed, and Hispanic students outscored their AI/AN peers in 2011 by 4 points while performing comparably to them in 2005.

At grade 8, there were no statistically significant changes in score differences.

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Gender

  • Female AI/AN students consistently score higher than their male peers in reading

While there has been no measurable gender gap in mathematics performance for AI/AN students in any of the assessments from 2005 to 2011, there has been a consistent gap in reading. In 2011, female students scored 12 points higher than their male counterparts at grade 4 and 9 points higher at grade 8. The gaps at either grade were not significantly different from the gaps in previous assessment years.

Line graph showing two horizontal lines: one labeled AI/AN and the other labeled Non-AI/AN. The space in-between the graph lines is labeled Score gap. The X axis is labeled year. The Y axis is labeled scale score and shows a range from 0 to 500. Grade 4:
 In 2005, the scale score = 219 for Non-AI/AN students, significantly different from 2011 and 204 for AI/AN students. The score gap of 15 between the groups. In 2007, the scale score = 221 for Non-AI/AN students and 203 for AI/AN students. The score gap of 18 between the groups. In 2009, the scale score = 221 for Non-AI/AN students and 204 for AI/AN students. The score gap of 17 between the groups. In 2011, the scale score = 221 for Non-AI/AN students and 202 for AI/AN students. The score gap of 19 between the groups.

* Significantly different (p < .05) from 2011.
NOTE: AI/AN = American Indian/Alaska Native. Score gaps are calculated based on differences between unrounded average scores.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), various years, 2005-2011 Reading Assessments.

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Family Income

  • AI/AN eighth-graders from higher-income families score higher in reading than in 2005

Students' eligibility for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is used in NAEP as an indicator of family income. Students from lower-income families are eligible for either free or reduced-price school lunches, while students from higher-income families are not.

While reading scores in 2011 did not change significantly for AI/AN fourth-graders who were eligible for NSLP or for students who were not eligible, the reading score in 2011 for AI/AN eighth-graders who were not eligible for NSLP was higher than the score in 2005.

In 2011, AI/AN eighth-grade students who were eligible for NSLP scored about 20 points lower on average than AI/AN eight-grade students who were not eligible. The score gaps at both grades in 2011 were not significantly different from the score gaps in earlier assessment years.

Although not shown here, 72 percent of AI/AN fourth-graders and 66 percent of AI/AN eighth-graders participating in the 2011 reading assessment were eligible for NSLP, which was higher than the percentages in 2005 (65 and 60 percent respectively).

At both grades, compared to earlier assessment years, mathematics scores in 2011 did not change significantly for AI/AN students who were eligible for NSLP or for students who were not eligible.

Line graph showing two horizontal lines: one labeled AI/AN and the other labeled Non-AI/AN. The space in-between the graph lines is labeled Score gap. The X axis is labeled year. The Y axis is labeled scale score and shows a range from 0 to 500. Grade 8: In 2005, the scale score = 262 for Non-AI/AN students, significantly different from 2011 and 249 for AI/AN students. The score gap of 13 between the groups. In 2007, the scale score = 263 for Non-AI/AN students and 247 for AI/AN students, both are significantly different from 2011. The score gap of 16 between the groups. In 2009, the scale score = 264 for Non-AI/AN students, significantly different from 2011 and 251 for AI/AN students. The score gap of 13 between the groups. In 2011, the scale score = 265 for Non-AI/AN students and 252 for AI/AN students. The score gap of 13 between the groups.

* Significantly different (p < .05) from 2011.
NOTE: AI/AN = American Indian/Alaska Native. Score gaps are calculated based on differences between unrounded average scores.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 2005 and 2011 Reading Assessments.

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School Location

  • Almost half of AI/AN students attend schools in rural locations

While approximately 20 percent of fourth- and eighth-grade students in the nation attended schools in rural locations in 2011, almost half of AI/AN students attended rural schools. In addition, almost 70 percent of non-AI/AN students attended schools in city or suburban locations combined, while around 30 percent of AI/AN students did so.



Percentages of AI/AN students by school location: 2011
Grade Race/ethnicity School location
City Suburb Town Rural
4 AI/AN 17 12 21 49
Non-AI/AN 30 36 12 21
8 AI/AN 16 14 21 49
Non-AI/AN 30 36 12 22
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 2011 Mathematics Assessment.


  • At grade 4 in 2011, AI/AN students attending schools in suburban locations scored higher in
    both reading and mathematics than their peers attending rural schools.
  • At grade 8 in 2011, AI/AN students attending schools in city and suburban locations scored higher in reading than their peers attending rural schools.

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School Type/density

  • Most AI/AN students attend low density public schools

In 2011, fifty percent of AI/AN fourth-graders and 57 percent of eighth-graders attended low density public schools where less than 25 percent of the students were AI/AN. Forty-four percent of AI/AN fourth-graders and 37 percent of eighth-graders attended high density public schools where 25 percent or more of the students were AI/AN.

AI/AN students also attended Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) schools. There are 183 BIE schools located on or near 64 reservations that serve approximately 41,000 students in 23 states. The percentages of AI/AN students attending federally supported BIE schools in 2011 were 7 percent at grade 4 and 6 percent at grade 8.



Percentage of AI/AN students, by school type/density: 2011 
Grade Low density public High density public BIE
4 50 44 7
8 57 37 6
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 2011 National Indian Education Study.


Compared to 2009, AI/AN students attending BIE schools scored higher in 2011

  • in grade 4 mathematics and
  • in grade 8 reading.

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National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
U.S. Department of Education