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Home Publications The characteristics and education outcomes of American Indian students in grades 6-12 in North Carolina

The characteristics and education outcomes of American Indian students in grades 6-12 in North Carolina

by Cassandra Davis and Sarah Fuller

In the 2012/13 school year American Indian students accounted for 1.1 percent of K-12 students nationwide and 1.4 percent of K-12 students in North Carolina (U.S. Department of Education, n.d.). Research has identified substantial achievement gaps between American Indian and other students on national tests, in graduation rates, and in postsecondary attainment. The gaps highlight the need to examine a broad range of education outcomes and to look for connections between the outcomes and student characteristics, school characteristics, and education resources. A 2014 report by the North Carolina State Advisory Council on Indian Education identified important achievement gaps between American Indian students and White students. The report found that proficiency rates in all tested subjects and at all grade levels were 25-28 percentage points lower among American Indian students than among White students and that large disparities also existed in dropout rates, graduation rates, Advanced Placement coursetaking, and SAT performance (State Advisory Committee on Indian Education, 2014). The current study was conducted in response to a request from the council to compare student and school characteristics and education outcomes of American Indian students in grades 6-12 in North Carolina with those of non-American Indian students within the state. The study has two comparison groups. One group is composed of all non-American Indian students enrolled in the same grades in the same schools attended by American Indian students during the same years (referred to as within-school peers)--in short, the non-American Indian students at the schools that have American Indian enrollments. The other group is composed of all non-American Indian students enrolled in the same grades as American Indian students in any school in North Carolina during the same years (referred to as statewide peers). Although within-school peers are more similar to American Indian students in many respects, comparing only students within the same schools hides important differences across schools. By using both within-school and statewide comparisons of student demographic characteristics, school characteristics, and education outcomes (including standardized test scores, absenteeism, grade retention, suspensions, advanced coursetaking, and four-year graduation rates), this report provides a more complete picture of the differences between American Indian students and their peers. This study also examines teacher quality in schools attended by American Indian students in grades 6-12 in North Carolina. The primary analyses used administrative data for school years 2010/11-2013/14 collected and provided by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. The following are appended: (1) Previous research on the education outcomes and characteristics of American Indian students; (2) Data and methodology; and (3) Detailed quantitative results.

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