Indian Education-National Activities
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Office of Indian Education
The National Activities authority funds research, evaluation, and data collection to provide information on the education status of the Indian population and on the effectiveness of Indian education programs. This authority enables the Department to improve the national knowledge base on the education status and needs of Indians and to identify and disseminate information on best practices for serving this population.
Types of Projects
The Department uses these funds, primarily through contracts, to support research, evaluation, and data collection on the status and effectiveness of Indian education programs, and for other activities to improve programs that serve American Indians and Alaska Natives, age preschool through adult.
National Indian Education Study (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.
The NIES helps to provide a more complete picture of the status of education for American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) students in the United States. The last two studies were conducted in 2019 and 2015. Click here to see the 2015 report. Members of the NIES Technical Review Panel (TRP) also released a Setting the Context synthesis outlining key recommendations from the TRP on future NIES development.
The 2019 full report is coming soon.
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.
The 2019 study has occurred, and the full report is coming soon. Visit this page for updates.
Based on the 2015 NIES – A Closer Look publication, composite results found that:
- Between 25–30 percent of AI/AN students are very interested in reading about cultures;
- AI/AN students are engaged in their schoolwork;
- AI/AN eighth-graders expect their academic efforts to positively affect their future;
- About one-half of AI/AN students reported never being exposed to their Native languages; and
- Sixteen percent of AI/AN eighth-graders report having a lot of cultural knowledge.
Further analysis of these composites found that
- AI/AN fourth-graders who indicated they were exposed to their Native languages “often” were more likely to express a high level3 of interest in reading about cultures compared to their peers who said they were exposed to their Native languages to a lesser degree.
- Conversely, AI/AN fourth-graders who reported “never” being exposed to their Native languages were more likely to express a low level of interest in reading about cultures.
Click here to find out more about the NIES and findings.