U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

OERI Native American Youth At Risk Study

NCJ Number
A S Clarke
Date Published
183 pages
This report examines personal, cultural, school, and family factors that contribute to the decision of American Indian students to remain in school until graduation or to drop out.
A 140-item questionnaire, the Native American School Study, was completed by 165 participants who had either graduated or dropped out of school during 1989-91. Respondents lived on reservations in Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota. In addition, 76 graduates and 37 dropouts were interviewed at length. Factors examined in the questionnaire and interview included substance abuse by self or family members, peer pressure, trouble with the law, self-esteem, teen pregnancy, family structure, socioeconomic status, parent education, academic achievement, teacher attitudes and expectations, school attendance, abuse by school personnel, tribal self-identity and pride, discrimination and racism, and bilingualism. Results indicate that respondents who dropped out of school demonstrated significant differences from graduates regarding self-esteem, frequency of skipping school, teacher expectations and attitudes, and grade retention. During interviews, the themes of poverty, self-esteem, and teacher attitudes repeatedly surfaced. Graduates frequently reported that family expectations (particularly those of the mother and grandmother) kept them in school. This report contains a lengthy literature review; recommendations to educators, policy makers, parents, and Native-American communities; and many references in endnotes.