An Introduction to the National Indian Education Study
As American Indians and Alaska Natives, our unique cultures are a source of pride and strength. Our languages and traditions form the foundation of our communities. Our cultures empower us to tell our stories, pass down traditions and give us a unique perspective of the world. Embracing and celebrating our identities are essential to the success of our communities. And the more we understand, the more successful we can be. This is why the Office of Indian Education sponsors the only nationwide study that explores native culture and academic achievement. It’s called the National Indian Education Study, better known as NIES. Since 2005, NIES has been conducted by the U.S. Department of Education as part of the National Assessment of Educational Progress. The study looks at the academic performance in math and reading of thousands of native students in fourth and eighth grades, and the role of native languages and customs in the classroom and at home. NIES provides the data we need to better understand how our students’ academic achievement has changed over time, and how native students compare with their peers across the country. Results help determine if schools are meeting the unique educational and cultural needs of our children. The findings can be used in our classrooms as a tool to understand where our students succeed and where there is room to grow, while respecting the languages, cultures and traditions that have been rooted in American Indian tribes and Alaska Native villages for thousands of years. NIES is one important way for us to measure and evaluate academic achievement of American Indian and Alaska Native students. By participating in NIES, our community contributes to the understanding of how native students are performing in school. While students who participate do not receive individual results, they play an important role in ensuring that results from the study are meaningful and accurate. Every student makes a difference. We all want to do what’s best for our
students and our communities. With your support, this study can help strengthen the voices of our communities and enhance the education of our current and future generations.