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National Indian Education Study

The National Indian Education Study (NIES) is designed to describe the condition of education for American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) students in the United States. The study samples AI/AN students in public, private, Department of Defense, and Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) funded schools. Conducted in 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2015, 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.

2015 NIES

Overview of the Study

The study is sponsored by the Office of Indian Education (OIE) and conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) for the U.S. Department of Education. A Technical Review Panel, whose members included American Indian and Alaska Native educators and researchers from across the country, helped design the study.

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Participation

See who participated in the NIES 2015 study.

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NIES Fact Sheet

Read the 2019 Facts for Associate Deputy Directors, Education Program Administrators, and Education Line Officers.

Survey Design

The NIES survey explores the educational experiences of the AI/AN students participating in the NAEP assessments. See how survey results are reported, the survey sample was designed, and how survey data were collected for analysis.

Frequently Asked Questions About NIES

What is the National Indian Education Study (NIES)?
What is the purpose of the NIES?

The goal of the study is to describe the condition of education of American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) students by focusing on both their academic performance and educational experiences in grades 4 and 8. This activity is part of a collaborative effort among Indian tribes and organizations, the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE), and state and local education agencies toward meeting the challenging academic standards set forth in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, reauthorized in 2015 as the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Who conducted the study?

The study was conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) with support from the Office of Indian Education (OIE), U.S. Department of Education. NCES designed the study in consultation with a Technical Review Panel (TRP) whose members include American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) educators and researchers from across the country.

Who participated in the NIES?

A nationally representative sample of 3,900 AI/AN fourth-graders and 3,600 AI/AN eighth-graders participated in the 2015 NAEP reading assessment, and nationally representative samples of 3,900 AI/AN fourth-graders and 3,600 AI/AN eighth-graders participated in the 2015 NAEP mathematics assessment. About 8,500 AI/AN students from approximately 1,600 schools at grade 4 and about 8,200 AI/AN students from approximately 1,500 schools at grade 8 participated in the 2015 NIES survey. Also responding to the survey were about 1,900 teachers and 1,600 school administrators at grade 4 and about 2,400 teachers and 1,500 school administrators at grade 8.

Did the sample for the NIES differ from the main NAEP sample?

American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) students represent about 1 percent of the total student population in the United States. While sufficient for reliable reporting of national-level results, a typical NAEP AI/AN sample is often not large enough to provide reliable results by state. Therefore, the NAEP samples for this population of students were augmented to permit reporting of performance in 2015 for the 14 NIES states.

What types of questions were asked in the NIES survey?

In addition to the questionnaires administered as part of the 2015 NAEP assessments, American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) students and their teachers and school administrators also completed questionnaires specifically for the NIES. Most of the survey questions were multiple choice, but space at the end for additional comments was included. The questionnaires were developed with the guidance of a Technical Review Panel assembled to advise the NIES.

Examples of the themes that were addressed by the student respondents include perceptions about school and learning, exposure to and knowledge of the AI/AN culture in school and at home, and the students' plans for the future. Teachers were asked questions about their general qualifications, experience with AI/AN culture, and preparation to teach AI/AN students. The demographic characteristics of students and staff, community involvement within the school, and the general emphasis on AI/AN culture and curriculum are some of the types of questions that were asked of school administrators.

How will the results of the NIES be used to further explore education and policy issues related to American Indian/Alaska Native education?

The 2005 results of Part I of the NIES set a baseline for 21st century NAEP reading and mathematics performance of American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) students in grades 4 and 8. The 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2015 reports build on this information to form a more complete picture of the status of education for AI/AN students in the United States.

What is the Office of Indian Education (OIE), and what does it do?

The mission of the Office of Indian Education (OIE), within the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE), is to support the efforts of local educational agencies, American Indian tribes and organizations, postsecondary institutions, and other entities to meet the unique educational and culturally related academic needs of American Indian and Alaska Native students so that they can meet the standards set for all students.

Are there other NCES studies describing the education of American Indian/Alaskan Native students?

The NIES was first conducted in 2005 and reported in two parts, examining American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) students' performance in NAEP mathematics and reading assessments, and their educational experiences. It was conducted again in 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2015

Additional studies using NAEP data include Status and Trends in the Education of American Indians and Alaska Natives: 2008, and an earlier status and trends report

Four studies from NCES that use 2007-08 Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS) data describe characteristics of elementary and secondary public, private, and Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) schools, focusing on school characteristics, school library media centers, principals, and teachers.

Also see American Indian and Alaska Native Children: Findings From the Base Year of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort (ECLS-B) from NCES. 

There are other recent reports using NAEP data from the Regional Educational Laboratories (REL) in the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). To find these reports, search the Education Resources Information Center known as ERIC.

Frequently Asked Questions About NAEP

See frequently asked questions about NAEP.

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Last updated 06 June 2018 (DS)