Title

A Study of Native American GED Graduates at Four Tribal Community Colleges in North Dakota

Date of Award

2001

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Educational Leadership

Abstract

This study focused on the General Educational Development (GED) graduates of four tribal colleges in North Dakota. The purpose was to provide answers to five research questions and to determine baseline data on Indian education in an area not fully studied. The study will assist in closing the gap between research already conducted with Hispanics and African American populations.

The study accumulated data on participants in GED programs at the four adult education and/or testing centers at the tribal colleges in North Dakota for the years 1990–1999. The participants were analyzed using a set of variables that was specific to Native American GED participants. Data were obtained from the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction and adult education centers at four tribal colleges. Data were gathered on completers and non-completers of the GED program at the local and state level.

The study found that the completion rate of GED graduates from tribal college GED programs was moderate (20%). Similarities at the local, state, and national levels were found in GED test scores, age, gender, and marital status. Differences were found in race, marital status, and employment. In tribal college programs, the variables of age, gender, marital status, location of services, financial support, employment status, support system, and an educational goal desire appeared to be important in obtaining a GED diploma.

Recommendations include implementing a uniform record keeping system at all four tribal colleges, increasing prominence of GED programs in the tribal college, emphasizing heritage and culture in the GED programs, and establishing a communications network with all entities serving the GED participants. Research on the population served, adult learners, by staff (full-time certified counselors, instructors, and administrative assistants) of the GED programs to assist in program operation and aggressive fund seeking to expand and enhance GED programs was also recommended.

Further research is recommended to explore reasons for dropping out of school or the GED program, returning to complete the process, and discovering how many GED graduates pursue higher education at two year and four year colleges and universities or technical training.

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