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National Indian Education Study - Part I:
Performance of American Indian and Alaska Native Students at Grades 4 and 8 on NAEP 2009 Reading and Mathematics Assessments

June 2010

Authors: Wendy Grigg, Rebecca Moran, and Ming Kuang

PDF Download National Indian Education Study - Part I: Performance of American Indian and Alaska Native Students at Grades 4 and 8 on NAEP 2009 Reading and Mathematics Assessments PDF for viewing and printing (6431K PDF)


Image of the cover of the 2009 National Indian Education Study: Part I

Executive Summary

Reading

Mathematics

The National Indian Education Study (NIES) is administered as part of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), which was expanded to allow more in-depth reporting on the achievement and experiences of American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) students. It fulfills a mandate of Executive Order 13336 issued in 2004 calling for closer examination of the educational experiences and progress of AI/AN students as well as the promotion of research opportunities and collaboration with tribal communities.

This report, the first in a two-part series in 2009, presents results on the achievement of AI/AN fourth- and eighth-graders in reading and mathematics. Results are reported for AI/AN students in the nation and for 12 states with relatively large populations of AI/AN students. The performance of AI/AN students is compared to that of other race/ethnicity groups as well as among AI/AN students based on gender, eligibility for the National School Lunch Program, region of the country, type of school location, and the proportion of AI/AN students in the schools they attend. Results from the 2009 assessments are also compared to the results from 2007 and 2005.

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Reading

Nationally representative samples of about 5,100 AI/AN students at grade 4 and 4,200 students at grade 8 participated in the 2009 NAEP reading assessment. At each grade, students responded to questions based on literary and informational texts they were given to read. The questions were aligned to three reading behaviors or cognitive targets: locate and recall information; integrate and interpret what was read; and critique and evaluate.

Average reading scores increase since 2007 at grade 8 but show no significant change at grade 4

The average reading score for AI/AN fourth-graders in 2009 was not significantly different from the scores in either 2007 or 2005. The average score for AI/AN students at grade 8 was higher in 2009 than in 2007 but was not significantly different from the score in 2005.

Trend in average scores for fourth- and eighth-grade AI/AN students in NAEP reading

Image of graphic showing the average scores for fourth-grade AI/AN students in NAEP reading as 204 in 2005, 203 in 2007, and 204 in 2009.          Image of graphic showing the average scores for eighth-grade AI/AN students in NAEP reading as 249 in 2005, 247* in 2007, and 251 in 2009.

* Significantly different (p < .05) from 2009.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 2005, 2007, and 2009 National Indian Education Studies.

In 2009, the percentages of AI/AN students performing at or above the Basic level were 50 percent at grade 4 and 62 percent at grade 8. Twenty percent of AI/AN students at grade 4 and 21 percent at grade 8 performed at or above the Proficient level in 2009. There were no significant changes in the percentages of students at or above Basic or at or above Proficient in comparison to earlier assessment years at either grade.

Performance of AI/AN students in reading sometimes differs from other race/ethnicity groups and by demographic characteristics

Average reading scores for fourth-grade AI/AN students were

  • not significantly different from the scores for Black and Hispanic students, and lower than the scores for White and Asian/Pacific Islander students;
  • lower for students eligible for free school lunch than for those eligible for reduced-price lunch and not eligible for the National School Lunch Program;
  • higher for students attending schools in city, suburban, and town locations than for those attending schools in rural locations; and
  • higher for students in low density public schools (i.e., less than 25 percent AI/AN students) than in high density public schools (25 percent or more AI/AN students), and higher in both low and high density public schools than in Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) schools.

Average reading scores for eighth-grade AI/AN students were

  • higher than the score for Black students, not significantly different from the score for Hispanic students, and lower than the scores for White and Asian/Pacific Islander students;
  • lower for students eligible for free school lunch than for those eligible for reduced-price lunch or not eligible for the National School Lunch Program;
  • higher for students attending schools in suburban locations than for those in city, town, and rural schools; and
  • higher for students in low density public schools than in high density public schools, and higher in low and high density public schools than in BIE schools.

Reading scores decrease since 2007 for AI/AN students in one state and increase in another

Among the 11 states with samples large enough to report results for AI/AN students in both 2009 and 2007, Alaska had an 8-point decrease at grade 4, and Arizona had a 10-point increase at grade 8. Of the 7 states with samples large enough to report results in both 2009 and 2005, none had a significant change in average reading scores at grade 4 or grade 8.

Average reading score gaps between White and AI/AN students ranged from 8 to 47 points at grade 4 and from 6 to 35 points at grade 8 in the 12 states selected in 2009.

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Mathematics

Nationally representative samples of about 4,800 AI/AN students at grade 4 and 4,100 students at grade 8 participated in the 2009 NAEP mathematics assessment. At each grade, students responded to questions designed to measure their knowledge and abilities across five mathematics content areas: number properties and operations; measurement; geometry; data analysis, statistics, and probability; and algebra.

Average mathematics scores show no significant change for AI/AN fourth- and eighth-graders

Average mathematics scores in 2009 for AI/AN fourth- and eighth-graders were not significantly different from the scores in either 2007 or 2005. Although there was no significant change in the average score for eighth-grade AI/AN students overall, scores were higher in 2009 than in 2005 for higher-performing students (those scoring at the 75th and 90th percentiles).

In 2009, the percentages of AI/AN students performing at or above the Basic level were 66 percent at grade 4 and 56 percent at grade 8. There were no significant changes in the percentages of students at or above Basic in comparison to earlier assessment years at either grade.

Trend in average scores for fourth- and eighth-grade AI/AN students in NAEP mathematics

Image of graphic showing the average scores for fourth-grade AI/AN students in NAEP mathematics as 226 in 2005, 228 in 2007, and 225 in 2009.          Image of graphic showing the average scores for eighth-grade AI/AN students in NAEP mathematics as 264 in 2005, 264 in 2007, and 266 in 2009.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 2005, 2007, and 2009 National Indian Education Studies.

Twenty-one percent of AI/AN students at grade 4 and 18 percent at grade 8 performed at or above the Proficient level in 2009. While the percentage of fourth-graders at or above Proficient in 2009 was not significantly different from the percentages in earlier assessments, the percentage of eighth-graders was higher in 2009 than in 2005. The percentage of eighth-graders at Advanced also increased from 2 percent in 2005 to 3 percent in 2009.

Performance of AI/AN students in mathematics sometimes differs from other race/ethnicity groups and by demographic characteristics

Average mathematics scores for fourth-grade AI/AN students were

  • higher than the score for Black students, and lower than the scores for Hispanic, White, and Asian/Pacific Islander students;
  • lower for students eligible for free school lunch than for those not eligible for the National School Lunch Program;
  • higher for students attending schools in city, suburban, and town locations than for those attending schools in rural locations; and
  • higher for students in low density public schools than in high density public schools, and higher in low and high density public schools than in BIE schools.

Average mathematics scores for eighth-grade AI/AN students were

  • higher than the score for Black students, not significantly different from the score for Hispanic students, and lower than the scores for White and Asian/Pacific Islander students;
  • lower for students eligible for free school lunch than for those eligible for reduced-price lunch or not eligible for the National School Lunch Program; and
  • higher for students in low density public schools than in high density public schools, and higher in low and high density public schools than in BIE schools.

AI/AN students in Oklahoma and South Dakota make gains in mathematics

Although there were no significant changes in the overall national scores for AI/AN fourth- and eighth-graders in comparison to earlier assessment years, scores did change in some states. Of the 7 states with samples large enough to report results in both 2009 and 2005, Oklahoma had a 5-point increase at grade 4, and South Dakota had a 10-point increase at grade 8. Among the 11 states with samples large enough to report results for AI/AN students in both 2009 and 2007, none had a significant change in average mathematics scores at grade 4, and South Dakota had a 6-point increase at grade 8.

Average mathematics score gaps between White and AI/AN students ranged from 7 to 33 points at grade 4 and from 13 to 41 points at grade 8 in the 12 states selected in 2009.

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Download the complete report in a PDF file for viewing and printing:

PDF National Indian Education Study - Part I: Performance of American Indian and Alaska Native Students at Grades 4 and 8 on NAEP 2009 Reading and Mathematics Assessments report PDF (6431K PDF)

NCES 2010-462  Ordering information


Suggested Citation
Grigg, W., Moran, R., and Kuang, M. (2010). National Indian Education Study - Part I: Performance of American Indian and Alaska Native Students at Grades 4 and 8 on NAEP 2009 Reading and Mathematics Assessments (NCES 2010–462).  National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C.

For more information, see National Indian Education Study in the Special Studies section of this website.

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Last updated 23 June 2010 (RH)

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