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Survey Summary

Data collected from the National Indian Education Study (NIES) student, teacher, and school questionnaires provide information about the students themselves, their communities, teachers’ background and instructional practices, and how schools address the needs of AI/AN students. NIES questionnaires were completed by about 10,200 grade 4 and 10,300 grade 8 American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) students; 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. Some school administrators responded for both grades 4 and 8. See complete copies of the NIES student, teacher, and school questionnaires.

Results were reported for three mutually exclusive categories based on the type of school and proportion of AI/AN students:

  • low density public schools (less than 25 percent of the students are AI/AN)
  • high density public schools (25 percent or more of the students are AI/AN)
  • Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) schools (which serve AI/AN students almost exclusively)

Highlights from the NIES survey are discussed below, with student-reported factors presented first, followed by teacher- and administrator-reported factors. Exact wording of the survey questions presented here is available at the bottom of this page along with links providing complete data for all response categories.

STUDENT-REPORTED FACTORS

Knowledge about AI/AN Heritage and Family use of AI/AN languages

Fourth-grade AI/AN students were asked how much they knew about their American Indian tribe or Alaska Native group and eighth-grade students were asked specifically about their AI/AN history. Students at both grades were asked how often members of their family talked to each other in their AI/AN languages. For both fourth- and eighth-graders, higher percentages of students in BIE schools than in high or low density public schools, and higher percentages in high density public schools than in low density schools reported having a lot of knowledge about their AI/AN heritage and reported that their families talked to each other in their AI/AN language every day.

Responses to Survey questions
Survey questions Grade 4 Grade 8
Low High BIE Low High BIE
Knows a lot about AI/AN heritage 20 25a 30a,b 20 29a 42a,b
Family uses AI/AN language every day 16 27a 49a,b 10 29a 59a,b
a Significantly different (p < .05) from low density public schools.
b Significantly different (p < .05) from high density public schools.
NOTE: AI/AN = American Indian/Alaska Native. Low = low density public schools. High = high density public schools. BIE = Bureau of Indian Education schools.
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.

Help with Schoolwork (grade 4)

AI/AN students were asked how often a family member or a teacher helped them with schoolwork, including helping to study for a test, helping with a school project, or going over homework. There were no significant differences in the percentages across low density, high density, and BIE schools for students who reported that family members helped every day or almost every day. In contrast, the percentage of BIE students who reported they received help on schoolwork from a teacher or another adult from school was higher than for high or low density schools, and the percentage in high density schools was higher than in low density schools.

Grade 4 responses to survey questions
Survey questions Low High BIE
Parent or other family member helps every day or almost every day 48 44 48
Teacher or another adult from school helps every day or almost every day 30 37a 44a,b
a Significantly different (p < .05) from low density public schools.
b Significantly different (p < .05) from high density public schools.
NOTE: AI/AN = American Indian/Alaska Native. Low = low density public schools. High = high density public schools. BIE = Bureau of Indian Education schools.
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.

Education Plans (grade 8)

Eighth-grade students were asked how often they talked to a family member, teacher, or school counselor about what classes to take in high school or about what they wanted to do after high school. The percentages of students who spoke to a family member about high school and future plans two or more times during the eighth-grade ranged from 69 percent for students attending high density schools to 75 percent for students attending low density schools. About one-third of AI/AN eighth-graders talked to a teacher and 16 to 18 percent talked to a school counselor two or more times about their education plans in and after high school.

While approximately 60 percent of AI/AN eighth-graders reported never talking to a school counselor about their future plans, 57 percent of eighth-graders in high density and BIE schools and 63 percent in low density schools planned to go to college full time.

Grade 8 responses to survey questions
Survey questions Low High BIE
Talked to family member about high school classes or plans after high school two or more times 75 69a 70a
Talked to a teacher about high school classes or plans after high school two or more times 32 33 33
Talked to a school counselor about high school classes or plans after high school two or more times 16 18 16
Planned to go to college full time 63 57a 57a
a Significantly different (p < .05) from low density public schools.
b Significantly different (p < .05) from high density public schools.
NOTE: AI/AN = American Indian/Alaska Native. Low = low density public schools. High = high density public schools. BIE = Bureau of Indian Education schools.
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.

TEACHER-REPORTED FACTORS 

Teacher Knowledge and Skills

Both fourth- and eighth-grade teachers were asked about the extent to which they acquired information from various sources specific to teaching AI/AN students. Higher percentages of students in BIE schools than in high or low density schools (and higher percentages in high density than in low density schools) had teachers who reported they learned about teaching AI/AN students to a large extent from independent study. This same pattern was evident for teachers who indicated they acquired specific teaching skills to a large extent from living and working in an AI/AN community.

Teachers were also asked to indicate the extent to which they spoke any of the native languages spoken by American Indian or Alaska Native students who attended their schools. Around 75 percent of students in BIE schools had teachers who speak AI/AN languages with at least a minimal ability, compared to about 5 percent of their peers in low density public schools.

Responses to survey questions
Survey questions Grade 4 Grade 8
Low High BIE Low High BIE
Acquired skills specific to teaching AI/AN students from independent reading and study to a large extent 5 16a 35a,b 6 17a 36a,b
Acquired skills specific to teaching AI/AN students from living and working in an AI/AN community to a large extent 6 43a 68a,b 6 52a 77a,b
Speaks AI/AN language/s with at least a minimal ability 5 43a 77a,b 3 33a 76a,b
Speaks AI/AN language/s with fluency (native) # 8a 28a,b # 6a 18a,b
# Rounds to zero.
a Significantly different (p < .05) from low density public schools.
b Significantly different (p < .05) from high density public schools.
NOTE: AI/AN = American Indian/Alaska Native. Low = low density public schools. High = high density public schools. BIE = Bureau of Indian Education schools.
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.

ADMINISTRATOR-REPORTED FACTORS

Involvement of AI/AN Community Members 

School administrators were asked about the involvement of AI/AN community members in school-related activities. At grade 8, higher percentages of students in BIE schools than in high or low density schools (and higher percentages in high density than in low density schools) had someone from their community visit the school to discuss education issues with students and staff, other than a conference regarding an individual student, three or more times during the school year. At both grades, there was no measurable difference in the percentages of students in high density public schools and in BIE schools who had a community member visit their schools to share AI/AN traditions and culture with students and staff three or more times.

Responses to survey questions
Survey questions Grade 4 Grade 8
Low High BIE Low High BIE
Community members visited school to discuss education issues three or more times 16 51a 52a 14 48a 58a,b
Community members visited school to share AI/AN traditions and culture three or more times 9 49a 46a 8 47a 44a
a Significantly different (p < .05) from low density public schools.
b Significantly different (p < .05) from high density public schools.
NOTE: AI/AN = American Indian/Alaska Native. Low = low density public schools. High = high density public schools. BIE = Bureau of Indian Education schools.
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.

Instruction in AI/AN language 

Administrators were also asked whether their students received instruction about American Indian or Alaska Native cultures in a variety of areas, including oral language or written language. Around 90 percent of students attending BIE schools received instruction about native oral languages, with about 70 percent of BIE students receiving instruction about written languages.

Responses to survey questions
Survey questions Grade 4 Grade 8
Low High BIE Low High BIE

Students receive instruction about AI/AN cultures:
oral language

27 65a 92a,b 22 64a 88a,b

Students receive instruction about AI/AN cultures: written language

25 58a 70a 20 50a 73a,b
a Significantly different (p < .05) from low density public schools.
b Significantly different (p < .05) from high density public schools.
NOTE: AI/AN = American Indian/Alaska Native. Low = low density public schools. High = high density public schools. BIE = Bureau of Indian Education schools.
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.

Click on the links to explore these results further

STUDENT-REPORTED

Knows About Tribe or Group (grade 4)
How much do you know about your American Indian tribe or Alaska Native group (history, traditions, or arts and crafts)?

Knows About AI/AN History (grade 8)
How much do you know about your American Indian or Alaska Native history?

Family Uses AI/AN Language
How often do members of your family talk to each other in your American Indian or Alaska Native language?

Parent Helps with Schoolwork
How often does a parent or someone else from your family help you with your schoolwork?

Educator Helps with Schoolwork
How often does a teacher or another adult from your school help you with your schoolwork?

Talked to School Counselor About Future Education
During 8th grade, how many times have you talked to a school counselor about the classes you should take in high school or about what you want to do after high school?

Plans to Go to College
Which of the following would you plan to do in your first year after high school? Go to college full time.

TEACHER-REPORTED

Acquires Teaching Skills from Independent Study
To what extent have you acquired knowledge, skills, and information specific to teaching American Indian or Alaska Native students from independent reading and study?

Acquires Teaching Skills from Living in AI/AN Community
To what extent have you acquired knowledge, skills, and information specific to teaching American Indian or Alaska Native students from living and working in American Indian or Alaska Native community?

Speaks AI/AN Language/s
To what extent do you speak any of the native languages spoken by American Indian or Alaska Native students who attend this school?

SCHOOL ADMINISTRATOR-REPORTED

Community Members Share AI/AN Culture
In a typical school year, how many times has a member of the American Indian or Alaska Native community visited the school to share American Indian or Alaska Native traditions and culture with students and staff?

Community Members Discuss Education
In a typical school year, how many times has a member of the American Indian or Alaska Native community visited the school to discuss education issues with students and staff, other than a conference regarding an individual student?

Students Instructed in AI/AN Oral Language
Do students in your school receive instruction about American Indian or Alaska Native cultures in oral language?

Students Instructed in AI/AN Written Language
Do students in your school receive instruction about American Indian or Alaska Native cultures in written language?


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