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National Indian Education Study:
Part I: The Performance of American Indian and Alaska Native Fourth- and Eighth-Grade Students on NAEP 2005 Reading and Mathematics Assessments

May 2006

Authors: Bobby D. Rampey, Anthony D. Lutkus, and Arlene W. Weiner

PDF Download the complete report in a PDF file for viewing and printing. (955K PDF)


Executive Summary

Reading Results
Mathematics Result

The National Indian Education Study is a two-part study designed to describe the condition of education for American Indian/Alaska Native students in the United States. The study was conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics for the U.S. Department of Education, with the support of the Office of Indian Education. This report, Part I of the study, presents the performance of American Indian/Alaska Native students at grades 4 and 8 on the 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress in reading and mathematics. Part II, a separate report, will present the results of a special survey of American Indian/Alaska Native students and schools, focusing on demographic and cultural factors.

A primary objective of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is to provide educators and policymakers reliable data on academic performance of students at the national, state, and local levels. NAEP serves as an integral part of our nation’s evaluation of the condition and progress of education. The National Indian Education Study was conducted for the first time in 2005 as a part of NAEP, and in accordance with Title VII Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, 2001. This report is a summary of a compilation of comprehensive data on the academic achievement and progress of American Indian/Alaska Native students.

This report, Part I of the National Indian Education Study, presents the performance results of American Indian/Alaska Native students at grades 4 and 8 on the 2005 NAEP in reading and mathematics. In 2005, approximately 325,000 students (combined grades 4 and 8) participated in the reading assessment nationwide, and 334,000 participated in the mathematics assessment. Of these, approximately 7,200 American Indian/Alaska Native students participated in the reading assessment, and 7,300 participated in mathematics. The national sample includes students from both public and nonpublic schools (i.e., Bureau of Indian Affairs [BIA], Department of Defense Education Activity [DoDEA], and private schools).

In addition to the national sample, states with relatively large populations of American Indian/Alaska Native students were selected for this study. The states whose results are included in this report (Alaska, Arizona, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and South Dakota) are the seven states with the largest proportions of American Indians and Alaska Natives as a percentage of the state’s total population. The state samples included only public and BIA schools.

Chapters 2 and 3 provide performance results for reading and mathematics and are divided into four sections: National Results, Results by Region of the Country, Selected State Results, and Student Group Results. In all of the sections, except for Selected State Results, the comparisons are generally between the performance results of American Indian/Alaska Native students and the performance results of students who are neither American Indian nor Alaska Native. In the section discussing state results, the comparisons are between the performance results of American Indian/Alaska Native students within each selected state and those of American Indian/Alaska Native students in each of the other selected states, and to the performance results of the national sample of American Indian/Alaska Native students. At the state level, the sample design did not permit comparisons to students who are not American Indian or Alaska Native. Only differences that have been determined to be statistically significant at the .05 level after controlling for multiple comparisons are discussed in this report.

The Technical Notes section provides information about sampling, accommodations, interpreting statistical significance, and other technical features. The Data Appendix provides tables that support the findings provided in this report.

The data in this report provide a snapshot of American Indian/Alaska Native students’ current performance. When considering these data, it should be noted that the results represent students from a variety of educational settings and that future NAEP assessments may reveal different patterns of performance. Further, NAEP does not collect information about students’ prior educational experience, which contributes to present performance.

Reading Results

National

  • At both grades 4 and 8, American Indian/Alaska Native students had a lower average score in reading than the average score for all other students in the nation (students who are neither American Indian nor Alaska Native).
  • The percentages of students performing at or above Basic and at or above Proficient were lower for American Indian/Alaska Native students than those for all other students at both grades.

Regional

  • At grade 4, the average reading score for American Indian/Alaska Native students in each of the five regions was lower than the average score for all other students in the same region.
  • At grade 8, American Indian/Alaska Native students in the North Central, Mountain, and Pacific regions had lower average scores than the average score for all other students in the same regions.

Selected States

  • At grade 4, American Indian/Alaska Native students in Oklahoma had a higher average score and a higher percentage performing at or above Basic than American Indian/Alaska Native students in the nation and in the other selected states. Compared to American Indian/Alaska Native students in the nation, American Indian/Alaska Native students in Alaska, Arizona, New Mexico, and South Dakota had lower average scores.
  • At grade 8, compared to American Indian/Alaska Native students in the nation, American Indian/Alaska Native students in Oklahoma had a higher average score. American Indian/Alaska Native students in Alaska, Arizona, New Mexico, and South Dakota had lower average scores than American Indian/Alaska Native students in the nation. American Indian/Alaska Native students in Oklahoma had a higher average score than their peers in Alaska, Arizona, New Mexico, and South Dakota.

Student Groups

  • At both grades 4 and 8, compared to Black students in the nation, American Indian/Alaska Native students had a higher average score and a higher percentage performing at or above Basic. American Indian/Alaska Native students had a lower average score and a lower percentage performing at or above Basic than White and Asian/Pacific Islander students. No significant difference was found between the performance of Hispanic students and American Indian/Alaska Native students on either measure.
  • At grade 4, the average scores and the percentages of American Indian/Alaska Native students performing at or above the Basic and Proficient levels were higher in urban fringe/large town and central city locations than in rural/small town locations. For all other students at both grades, reading performance was higher, on average, in urban fringe and rural locations than in central city locations.

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Mathematic Results

National

  • At both grades 4 and 8, American Indian/Alaska Native students had lower average scores in mathematics than the average score for all other students in the nation (students who are neither American Indian nor Alaska Native).
  • The percentages of students performing at or above Basic and at or above Proficient were lower for American Indian/Alaska Native students than for all other students at both grades.

Regional

  • At grade 4, American Indian/Alaska Native students in each of the five regions had a lower average score than the average score for all other students in the same region.
  • At grade 8, the average mathematics score for American Indian/Alaska Native students in each of the five regions was lower than the average score for all other students in the same region.

The second part of the National Indian Education Study is entitled The Educational Experiences of Fourth- and Eighth-Grade American Indian and Alaska Native Students. This report provides results from an in-depth survey of American Indian/Alaska Native students and their teachers, focusing on demographic factors, school culture and climate, the use of traditional culture and language in the home, student perceptions about school, and teacher qualifications and cultural preparation. Results from the questionnaires used in the survey report (Part II) will not be linked to data from this performance report (Part I). Future studies will aim to link student performance results with the survey data.

Selected States

  • At grade 4, compared to American Indian/Alaska Native students in the nation, the average scores for American Indian/Alaska Native students in Montana and Oklahoma were not significantly different; American Indian/Alaska Native students in all the other selected states had lower average scores. American Indian/Alaska Native students in Oklahoma had a higher percentage performing at or above Basic than American Indian/Alaska Native students in the nation. American Indian/Alaska Native students in Alaska, Arizona, New Mexico, and South Dakota had lower percentages performing at or above Basic than American Indian/Alaska Native students in the nation.
  • At grade 8, American Indian/Alaska Native students in New Mexico and South Dakota had lower average scores and lower percentages performing at or above Basic than American Indian/Alaska Native students in the nation.

Student Groups

  • At grade 4, compared to Black students in the nation, American Indian/Alaska Native students had a higher average score and a higher percentage performing at or above Basic. American Indian/Alaska Native students performed lower on both measures than White students and Asian/Pacific Islander students.
  • At grade 8, compared to Black students in the nation, American Indian/Alaska Native students had a higher average score and a higher percentage performing at or above Basic. Compared to Hispanic students, American Indian/Alaska Native students had a higher average score. American Indian/Alaska Native students had a lower average score and lower percentage performing at or above Basic than White students and Asian/Pacific Islander students.
  • At both grades, the average scores of American Indian/Alaska Native students were higher in urban fringe and central city locations than in rural locations.

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PDF Download the complete report in a PDF file for viewing and printing. (955K PDF)

NCES 2006-463 Ordering information

Suggested Citation
Rampey, B.D., Lutkus, A.D., Weiner, A.W. (2006). National Indian Education Study: Part I: The Performance of American Indian and Alaska Native Fourth- and Eighth-Grade Students on NAEP 2005 Reading and Mathematics Assessments (NCES 2006–463). U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

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Last updated 15 May 2006 (RH)

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National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
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