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Status and Trends in the Education of American Indians and Alaska Natives
Highlights

Status and Trends in the Education of American Indians and Alaska Natives examines both the educational progress and challenges of American Indian/Alaska Native children and adults in the United States. This report shows that over time more American Indian/Alaska Native students have completed high school and gone on to college and that their attainment expectations have substantially increased in the past 20 years. Despite these gains, progress has been uneven and differences persist between American Indian/Alaska Native and White students on key indicators of educational performance.

Demographics and educational outcomes:

  • In 2003, 4.4 million persons living in the United States were American Indian/Alaska Native alone or in combination with one or more other races, including those of Hispanic origin. (Indicator 1.1)
  • In 2003, a larger percentage of American Indian/Alaska Native individuals and families lived in poverty than White individuals and families. (Indicator 1.6)
  • In 2003, the majority of American Indian/Alaska Native public school 8th-graders came from homes in which English was the predominant spoken language. (Indicator 5.2)
  • In 2003, the American Indian/Alaska Native unemployment rate was three times as high as the unemployment rate for the White population. (Indicator 8.2)
  • Between 1989 and 2003, the median income of American Indian/Alaska Native households increased. However, the median income of American Indian/Alaska Native households was lower than that of the total population. (Indicator 8.3)
Elementary/secondary education:
  • American Indian/Alaska Native students were more likely to have dropped out of school than White or Asian/Pacific Islander students in 2003. However, they were less likely to have dropped out than Hispanics. Status dropout rates represent the percent of 16- to 24-year-olds who are out of school and who have not earned a high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) credential. (Indicator 3.3)
  • In 2003, American Indian/Alaska Native 4th- and 8th-grade students scored lower on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading and mathematics assessments than White and Asian/Pacific Islander students. However, American Indian/Alaska Native 4th-grade students scored higher on NAEP reading and mathematics assessments than Blacks. (Indicators 4.2 and 4.3)
  • In 2003, relatively more American Indian/Alaska Native high school students took Advanced Placement tests than in prior years. (Indicator 4.8)
  • American Indians/Alaska Natives scored lower, on average, than Whites on the SAT and the ACT in 2004. (Indicator 4.9)
  • In 2003, some 20 percent of American Indian/Alaska Native children between the ages of 12 and 17 had used alcohol in the past month and they were more likely than other children to have used marijuana in the past month. (Indicator 6.2)
Postsecondary education:
  • Enrollment of American Indian/Alaska Native students in degree-granting institutions has more than doubled in the past 25 years. In 2002, American Indian/Alaska Native total enrollment was 60 percent female and 40 percent male. (Indicator 7.1)
  • The number of American Indian/Alaska Native students earning degrees more than doubled for each level of degree between 1976 and 2003. However, American Indians/Alaska Natives were less likely to earn a bachelorís or higher degree than their peers. (Indicators 7.4 and 7.5)
  • In 2003, 42 percent of American Indians/Alaska Natives 25 years and older had attended at least some college. (Indicator 8.1)

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