Looking at data by race and ethnicity can provide a better understanding of education performance and outcomes than examining statistics that describe all students. In observation of Native American Heritage Month, this blog presents NCES findings on the learning experiences of American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) students throughout their education careers.
Early Childhood Education
- In 2019, 45 percent of AI/AN 3- to 4-year-olds and 83 percent of AI/AN 5-year-olds were enrolled in school.
- The 2019 National Indian Education Study (NIES) surveyed students, teachers, and school principals about the experiences of AI/AN students in 4th and 8th grades.
- How much do AI/AN students know about their culture?
- Most 4th-grade AI/AN students reported having at least “a little” knowledge of their AI/AN tribe or group, with 17 percent reporting knowing “nothing.” About 19 to 23 percent reported having “a lot” of cultural knowledge across school types. (For more information, see NIES 2019, p. 11.)
- Where do AI/AN students learn about their culture?
- Family members were identified as the people who taught students the most about AI/AN history, with 45 percent of 4th-grade students and 60 percent of 8th-grade students so reporting. Teachers were the second most commonly identified group of people important for educating students on AI/AN cultural topics. (For more information, see NIES 2019, p. 12.)
- How do teachers contribute to AI/AN student cultural knowledge?
- A majority of AI/AN students had teachers who integrated AI/AN culture or history into reading lessons: overall, 89 percent of 4th-grade students and 76 percent of 8th-grade students had teachers who reported using these concepts in reading lessons “at least once a year.” (For more information, see NIES 2019, p. 16.)
- What are AI/AN student trends on assessments in mathematics and reading?
- Nationally, mathematics scores for AI/AN students from 2015 to 2019 remained unchanged for 4th-graders and declined for 8th-graders. Most states saw no change. (For more information, see NIES 2019, p. 46.)
- In 2019, 52 percent of AI/AN 4th-grade students had access to a computer at home. (For more information, see NIES 2019, p. 45.)
- There were 505,000 AI/AN students enrolled in public schools in 1995, compared with 490,000 AI/AN students in fall 2018 (the last year of data available).
- In fall 2018, less than half of AI/AN students (40 percent) attended schools where minority students comprised at least 75 percent of the student population.
- There are approximately 45,000 American Indian/Alaska Native students served by approximately 180 Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) schools located on 64 reservations in 23 states.
- In school year 2018–19, the adjusted cohort graduation rate (ACGR) was 74 percent for AI/AN public school students. The ACGRs for AI/AN students ranged from 51 percent in Minnesota to 94 percent in Alabama and were higher than the U.S. average in eight states (Texas, Virginia, Louisiana, Tennessee, Connecticut, New Jersey, Alabama, and Kentucky).
- In 2020, 95 percent of 25- to 29-year-olds who were AI/AN had completed at least high school.
- In academic year 2018–19, 14 percent of bachelor’s degrees conferred to AI/AN graduates were in a STEM field.
- About 41 percent of AI/AN students who began seeking a bachelor’s degree full-time at a 4-year institution in fall 2013 completed that degree at the same institution within 6 years.
By Mandy Dean, AIR