Indian Education Articles: Achievement, Closing the Achievement gap, School Improvement

Effective standards-based practice for Native American students: A review of research literature

This is a literature review where the authors summarized evidence on the effectiveness of different instructional practices targeted at helping Native American students meet academic standards.  Promising practices were identified.

Providing Support to Frontier Communities through State Oversight, Embedded Coaching, and   Community Engagement: The Montana Story

Based on federal guidance, the Office of Public Instruction (OPI) leadership team analyzed Montana’s student performance data to determine the lowest-performing schools in the state.  All seven schools on the persistently lowest-performing list were located on American Indian reservations and in some of the most remote locations of the state.  This brief highlights Montana’s school improvement efforts in these communities.

Improving academic performance among Native American students: A review of the research literature.

This literature review examines research-based information on educational approaches and programs associated with improving the academic performance of Native American students. The status of research and major research findings are categorized; brief summaries of research findings with citations are included following the review of each category.

Engaging Native American Learners with Rigor and Cultural Relevance

In this issue brief, the Center for Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement identifies research-based strategies that foster Native American student engagement and improved academic achievement. To meet this goal, the publication examines the distribution of Native American students and explores three areas that are identified in the literature for improving educational outcomes for Native students: (1) instructional practices, (2) curriculum content, and (3) school climate. The publication concludes with a description of three schools that have had success in serving Native American learners.

A review and analysis of the research on Native American students.

“What does the research literature say about the academic achievement of Native American students?” and “Where should future research on Native American achievement and educational outcomes be directed?”   This study focuses on findings from the ECLS-K longitudinal study. The study also looks at the 2003 national NAEP results of tests given to 4th and 8th graders in math and reading.

Family/Cultural Component

Navajo culture and family influences on academic success: Traditionalism is not a significant predictor of achievements among young Navajos.

This study tested several predictions, such as “Native language use is expected to have a negative influence on education outcomes”, and “Cultural conventions will have a positive influence on education outcomes”.    This article found no significant relationship between students’ academic achievement and their cultural attachments and practices.  Families modestly influenced educational outcomes.

English language acquisition and Navajo achievement in Magdalena, New Mexico.

This paper consists of a descriptionof a heritage language revitalization and English language acquisition program in a rural New Mexico school district.  It targeted speakers of the Alamo dialect of Navajo Students of Navajo heritage received English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction, and  instruction in Navajo language and culture through this multi-faceted program,.  This report indicates that students showed increased involvement in school, and improved reading, math, and science scores on standardized tests.

Culturally Responsive Schooling for Indigenous Youth: A Review of the Literature

This is a review of the literature about culturally responsive schooling (CRS) for Indigenous youth.  It discusses components of effective CRS and summarizes research results.  Findings provided evidence that f Native language and culture programs, and student identification with them are related to improved academic performance, decreased dropout rates, improved school attendance rates, and improved behavior.

Learning Styles of American Indian/Alaska Native Students: A Review of the Literature and Implications for Practice.

This study reviews the theories, research, and models of American Indian/Alaska Native student learning styles, suggesting that Native American students often learn in ways characterized by social/affective emphasis, harmony, holistic perspectives, expressive creativity, and nonverbal communication. Moreover, Native learning styles are strongly influenced by language, culture, and heritage. Implications for instruction, curricula, assessment, and future research are discussed.

What We Don’t Know Can Hurt Them: White Teachers, Indian Culture

The author shares important lessons for white teachers who are involved in the education of Native American students. She points out that white teachers generally know very little about the ways that Native American children learn, and as a consequence, do not recognize the rift between students’ needs and traditionally accepted curricula and methods. The article summarizes research-based findings on what works in education for Native American children, the central importance of culture and community, the implications of resiliency research for the teaching of Native students, and the mismatch between legislation and the research base on Native American learning.

Dropout Prevention/Student Motivation

Exploring Navajo motivation in school settings.

This article described results of survey research that investigated the cultural relevance of the personal incentives components (task, ego, social solidarity, and rewards) and sense if self-components of the Inventory of School Motivation (ISM) for Navajo students. One focus of the research was, “How can school be made more adaptive to the special needs of Navajo students?”

Math and Science

Mathematics lesson interactions and contexts for American Indian students in plains region schools: An exploratory study.

This study focused on three different approaches to mathematics teaching and their impact on American Indian student achievement.  The authors sought to find the differences among the lesson cases, across approaches and grades, in terms of the nature of mathematical tasks, discourse, and learning environment.

Improving elementary American Indian students’ math achievement with inquiry-based mathematics and games.

This study focuses on whether inquiry-based mathematics strategies were consistently implemented in three fifth-grade classrooms with substantial Native American student populations.  Achievement as measured by test results from Native American fifth-grade students were compared with Native American students at another school that implemented inquiry-based math instruction.