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Category: Relevant Research

Analyzing Assessment Practices for Indigenous Students

Source: Frontiers in Education, Jane P. Preston & Tim R. Claypool

Summary: The purpose of this article is to review common assessment practices for Indigenous students. We start by presenting positionalities – our personal and professional background identities. Then we explain common terms associated with Indigeneity and Indigenous and Western worldviews. We describe the meaning of document analysis, the chosen qualitative research design, and we explicate the delimitations and limitations of the paper. The review of the literature revealed four main themes. First, assessment is subjugated by a Western worldview. Next, many linguistic assessment practices disadvantage Indigenous students, and language-specific and culture-laden standardized tests are often discriminatory. Last, there is a pervasive focus on cognitive assessment. We discuss how to improve assessment for Indigenous students. For example, school divisions and educators need quality professional development and knowledge about hands-on assessment, multiple intelligences, and Western versus Indigenous assessment inconsistencies. Within the past 20 years, assessment tactics for Indigenous students has remained, more or less, the same. We end with a short discussion addressing this point.

Indigenous Ways of Learning, Being and Teaching: Implications for New Teachers to First Nations Schools

Source: H. Colleen Marchant, University of BC

Summary: As First Nations communities in British Columbia take control over the education of their children, it is important for teachers to understand some of the distinctions and nuances of the culture particular to First Nations schools and communities. This project attempts to provide some of that information. Three sources of information provide important cultural knowledge for teachers new to First Nations schools. Interviews with five respected principals and five respected educators, of First Nations schools in British Columbia, provide the first source of knowledge. Personal and significant cultural experiences, obtained over seven years teaching in First Nations schools, provide the second source. Finally, a literature review, depicting aspects of Indigenous cultures, important for new teachers to understand, provides the third source.

Supporting Success for Indigenous Students

Source: OECD – Directorate for Education and Skills

Summary: Indigenous Peoples around the world are diverse, within and across nations. At the same time, Indigenous children have not generally had access to the same quality of education that other children in their country enjoy. This situation arises, in part, because school leaders and teachers have not always been effectively prepared to teach Indigenous students, nor are they necessarily provided with resources to help them develop their capabilities and confidence.

Some teachers and schools are successfully supporting Indigenous students. Indigenous students report feeling supported when the people at their schools:  Care about them and who they are as Indigenous People; Expect them to succeed in education; and, Help them to learn about their cultures, histories and languages.

OECD research indicates several ways that teachers can make a big difference in supporting success for Indigenous students: Extra support for students: Finding ways to change the experiences of individual students goes a long way. Engaging families: Mutually respectful relationships between schools and parents can have significant benefits for students. Monitoring and reporting: Tracking progress with data helps educators and families understand where progress is being made.

Principals and other school leaders can make all the difference in supporting teachers and promoting success for Indigenous students. In addition, school systems can strengthen the efforts of teachers and principals by focusing on early learning: High quality early childhood education and care (ECEC) for Indigenous children sets them on an early pathway for success.

Indigenous values in education benefit everyone

Source: University of Victoria

Focus: Teachers and administrators

Summary: Education is key to creating social change. This research explores how education can build relationships among Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities if Indigenous values are included in schools. Knowing that many non-Indigenous teachers may need guidance and support when starting to include Indigenous values, the researchers make connections with other teaching methods being adopted in schools and show how Indigenous values can benefit everyone.

This research explores Indigenous values in education and how they can benefit all students. The authors point out that recent innovations in education are methods rooted in Indigenous communities for generations. Incorporating Indigenous values into school spaces can make education relevant to Indigenous students and give non-Indigenous students opportunities to learn about Indigenous history and culture through an Indigenous perspective.

Supporting Success for Indigenous Students

Source: OECD Directorate for Education and Skills

 Summary: Indigenous Peoples are diverse, within and across nations. At the same time, Indigenous children have not generally had access to the same quality of education that other children in their country enjoy. This situation arises, in part, because school leaders and teachers have not always been effectively prepared to teach Indigenous students, nor are they necessarily provided with resources to help them develop their capabilities and confidence.

Some teachers and schools are successfully supporting Indigenous students. Indigenous students report feeling supported when the people at their schools: 

•   Care about them and who they are as Indigenous People;

•   Expect them to succeed in education; and,

•   Help them to learn about their cultures, histories, and languages.

Residential schools and the effects on Indigenous health and well-being in Canada—a scoping review

Source: Wilk, P., Maltby, A. & Cooke, M. Residential schools and the effects on Indigenous health and well-being in Canada — a scoping review. Public Health Rev 38, 8 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40985-017-0055-6

Summary: Background

The history of residential schools has been identified as having long lasting and intergenerational effects on the physical and mental well-being of Indigenous populations in Canada. Our objective was to identify the extent and range of research on residential school attendance on specific health outcomes and the populations affected.

First Nations Employment and Deaths of Despair

Source: Inroads: Canadian Journal of Opinions. John Richards

Summary: Social conditions in many of Canada’s First Nation communities are, by expectations of a modern society, intolerable. While, on average, social conditions among those who have “gone to town” are better, they remain intolerable for many urban First Nation families. What’s to be done?

[S]ince the 1996 report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, the dominant answer among First Nation and non-Indigenous political leaders, academics, and newspaper editors has been affirmation of First Nation identities via an expansive interpretation of treaty rights and emphasis on autonomous Indigenous communities separate from mainstream society.

COVID-19 and Education Disruption in Ontario: Emerging Evidence on Impacts

Source: Gallagher-Mackay, Kelly; Srivastava, Prachi; Underwood, Kathryn; Dhuey, Elizabeth; McCready, Lance; Born, Karen; Maltsev, Antonina; Perkhun, Anna; Steiner, Robert; Barrett, Kali; and Sander, Beate, “COVID-19 and Education Disruption in Ontario: Emerging Evidence on Impacts” (2021). Law and Society Faculty Publications.

Summary:  Key Messages

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to significant education disruption in Ontario. This has included mass and localized school closures, multiple models of educational provision, and gaps in support for students with disabilities. The unequal distribution of school closures and pandemic associated hardships, particularly affecting low-income families in which racialized and Indigenous groups, newcomers and people with disabilities are overrepresented, appear to be deepening and accelerating inequities in education outcomes, wherever data have been collected. Further, there are health risks associated with closures including significant physical, mental health and safety harms for students and children.

Modeling suggests long-term impacts on students’ lifetime earnings and the national economy. There are substantial data gaps on the impact of closures on Ontario’s children. However, existing information and analysis can inform strategies to minimize further pandemic disruptions to children’s education and development. Identifying or tracking areas where students are facing the greatest challenges in the wake of COVID-19 and implementing systematic supports to address pandemic-associated educational harms are critical to minimizing the overall impact and supporting recovery.

Improving Transitions for Indigenous Learners through Collaborative Inquiry

Source: Aboriginal Enhancement Schools Network (AESN)

Summary: The Aboriginal Enhancement Schools Network (AESN) has been a catalyst for change in British Columbia schools since 2009. Based on the initiative of Dr. Trish Rosbourgh, then Director of Aboriginal Education in the Ministry of Education, this network was designed to be a strategy through which school districts could more effectively and productively engage in bringing their Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreements to life (Rosborough, Halbert & Kaser, 2017). The purpose of the AESN is “to create an inquiry community where people learn and work together to ensure that every Indigenous learner crosses the stage with dignity, purpose and options, and together, we eliminate racism in schools”.

The goal of this particular research investigation would be to determine how an inquiry-based focus on student transitions — elementary to secondary, middle school to secondary school, secondary school to post-secondary school, secondary school to employment — would help us to better support Indigenous learners and equip them for purposeful and successful lives, while also demonstrating the catalytic effects of this network as a means of affecting professional change.

Calmer Classrooms: A Guide to Working with Traumatized Children

Source: Child Safety Commissioner, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Summary: This booklet assists Kindergarten, primary and secondary teachers, and other school personnel in understanding and working with children and young people whose lives have been affected by trauma. The majority of such children will have come from backgrounds of abuse and neglect, although some of them will have suffered as refugees, or experienced war or dislocation overseas. An even smaller number will have experienced illness, painful medical interventions, or one-off traumas such as disasters or accidents. Calmer Classrooms particularly addresses the needs of children who have been traumatized by abuse and neglect. These children may be involved in the child protection and family support systems. Some may not be able to remain in the care of their families and are living in foster care or other forms of state care.

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