Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department or School

Leadership and Counseling

Committee Member

William Price, PhD, Chair

Committee Member

James Berry, EdD

Committee Member

Jaclynn Tracy, PhD


Most of the studies on student achievement gaps involve the Black-White achievement gap due to the availability of significant sample populations in order to draw scientific conclusions from the analysis of the student achievement data. However, there are few empirical quantitative studies that analyze a similar gap in achievement between the Native American student and their White cohort. Such studies have been limited due to a small and isolated Native American population in regions across the nation. In Michigan, less than 1% of the student population in the schools is Native American. This study identified 20 select school districts (both urban and rural) in the state of Michigan where the total student population was 26,659 and 4,388 (16.5%) were Native American. School districts in the study were selected based on a total Native American population greater than 50. A large scale quantitative study analyzed the financial status, student assessment, socioeconomic status, and special education rates of the selected districts to determine the presence of a significant achievement gap over a period from 2008 to 2011. The sample population in the study involved disaggregation of data by school district, school buildings, grade, subgroup population, core subject areas assessed by the state (Michigan Educational Assessment Program and Michigan Merit Exam), and socioeconomic status. An analysis of the variance that existed between the Native American cohort and White cohort was performed using a t-test measure with significance at p < .05. The key findings from this study indicate the presence of an achievement gap between Native American student assessments on state measures and those of their White peer group. Statistical significance between the two subgroups was commonly represented when comparing students scoring in the top level category of proficiency on the assessment measures. There is a strong correlation with student performance and socioeconomic factors as demonstrated through correlation analysis of free and reduced lunch eligibility and state performance ranking of the school building. An inconsistent lower identification of Native American students who are receiving special education services was also demonstrated when compared to their White peer group.


Additional committee member: Derrick Fries, PhD

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