American Indian and Alaska Native Self-Concept in Math and Reading: Academic Support, Ethnic Identity, and Gender Differences
Strong, Zoe Higheagle
MetadataShow full item record
This dissertation study explored both the influence of academic support and aspects of identity that contribute to American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) eighth grade student’s Self-concept in math and reading. The secondary data analysis utilized the National Indian Education Study (NIES) 2011 secured data set, a part of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) report card. Participants included 10,300 AI/ANs from public schools (96%), Bureau of Indian Education schools (6%), and private schools (2%) located in 12 different states. The NIES (2011) survey provides student-reported responses on educational perceptions and experiences. On average, males rated themselves higher in math self-concept, whereas females rated themselves higher in reading self-concept. Students rated the amount of two types of academic support received from parent/family, teachers and peers, homework help and academic planning. Parent/family academic planning support was a strong predictor of self-concept in math and reading. Parent homework support significantly predicted math self-concept, but not reading self-concept. Students who reported never receiving academic planning support from their teachers in the past year had low self-concept in math and reading, yet receiving guidance four or more times per year only predicted higher math self-concept. Peer academic planning support predicted female student’s self-concept in math and reading. No relationship was found for male students. Cultural identity also showed gender differences. Female students who reported knowing a lot about important AI/AN issues had a higher reading self-concept, and knowing a lot about AI/AN history predicted a higher math self-concept. Male students who attended several of their own AI/AN cultural gatherings/ceremonies had a lower math self-concept. Ethnic identity is highly complex. In this study, students are identified as AI/AN based on parent report. Research could benefit from examining differences between students who self-identify as AI/AN, identify with more than one ethnicity, and do not identify as AI/AN. Also needed are comparisons between students who live on AI/AN reservations or villages versus those who do not. Other important findings and implications for practice are discussed.