The authors of the article aimed to decipher the factors that contribute or hinder the academic success of Native Americans attending American universities at the freshman year level. Specifically, they directed their study on the relationship between the culture of Native Americans to their academic grade point average, or GPA. They theorized that Native Americans who conformed to the beliefs, values and interests of Caucasians had higher GPA’s than Native Americans who hold on to their cultural beliefs, values, interests and traditions.
The study was conducted in the fall of 1998 where 48 Native Americans participated in a series of examinations designed to ascertain how well the participants are able to conform to Caucasian American culture. The results of the tests are compared to the high school GPA’s and Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores of the participants. The results of the study showed that there is a direct relationship between how well Native Americans conform to the Caucasian American culture and their high school GPA’s and SAT scores.
It revealed that Native Americans who have strong ties to their own cultures have lower high school GPA’s and SAT scores compared to those who have assimilated the beliefs, values and interests of Caucasians. Although the study conducted by the authors only had a small sample of participants, their findings were supported by studies done by other authors. One study had linked to conflicts brought about by the differences in the traditions, beliefs, values and interests between Native Americans and Caucasians have caused many Native Americans to drop out from universities, widening the gap in academic success between the two cultural groups.
The authors concluded based on the information obtained from their independent study and studies carried out by other authors that the cultural background of a student plays a significant role in achieving success in their academic life. Based on this conclusion, the authors recommended that in order for Native American to succeed academically, steps must be taken to help them understand the Caucasian American culture and its importance in their academic life, specifically in university studies.
The authors also stated that since the conclusion and recommendation made are based on their independent studies and related review materials, they encourage further research be done to fully comprehend the academic achievement gap between these two cultures in order to ensure that the proper measures are done to close this gap. This article was to my liking since most academic achievement gaps studies between Caucasians and minority groups concentrated on African American, Hispanic and Asian cultures.
As what was mentioned in the article, more research must be done to evaluate and address the academic achievement gap between Native Americans and Caucasians. Although the findings of the study is disturbing, it had also made me aware that biases towards the Caucasian culture in the academic world may be the cause for the growing academic achievement gap between Caucasians and other culture groups.
Today, our universities are seeing an increase in the diversity of students enrolling, partly in line with universities encouraging diversity in their student population. However, it is apparent that the only way to succeed in an American university, a student from another cultural group must assimilate the “American” culture. This revelation based on this study contradicts universities’ claim that they encourage diversity in their student population.