The gap in math performance between American Indian and Alaskan native students and their peers has gotten worse since 2005 on the National Assessment of Education Progress, while the gap in reading performance hasn’t budged.
But wedged into that discouraging news on the academic achievement of Native American students—who comprise about 1 percent of the nation’s student population—is the performance of American Indian students in Oklahoma. It was the only state in which American Indian students exceeded the national average in reading and math in 4th and 8th grades.
While Oklahoma’s progress is quite clear, what’s harder to pinpoint are the reasons why. NAEP officials said they don’t have a concrete explanation of Oklahoma’s superior performance, but an official with the National Indian Education Association said Oklahoma has made efforts to get American Indian students more engaged in school and improve attendance.
I would love to learn more about what specific efforts Oklahoma has made to drive up achievement for its Native American students. Those of you in the know should comment here or email me.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.