Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Degree Name

Curriculum and Instruction

Department or School/College

College of Education and Human Sciences

Committee Co-chair

David Erickson, Edith Gummer

Commitee Members

Joan LaFrance, Bharath Sriraman, Tammy Elser


culturally congruent teaching, Native American science teaching, Teacher assessment


University of Montana

Subject Categories



Demographers forecast that ethnic minority students will make up the majority of students in America’s K-12 schools sometime in the next few decades. Yet most ethnic minority students continue to experience a lower level of achievement compared to their White peers. Emerging research indicates that culturally congruent instruction (CCI) is correlated with improved ethnic minority student achievement and so may be one means to close the achievement differential. Calls for more research in CCI are increasing, yet measuring CCI is challenging due to its context specific nature and abstract elements that are difficult to define and operationalize. This study responded to the need for improved assessment of CCI through the investigation of two research questions: What is a culturally congruent process for developing a valid instrument for assessing the use of CCI in teaching science with Montana American Indian students? and What is the technical quality of such an instrument? Investigating these questions resulted in (a) a culturally congruent instrument development model that utilized participatory methods and involved numerous and diverse stakeholders, (b) a model of CCI composed of three major elements (content, pedagogy, and environment), (c) a teacher self report survey known as the Revised Culturally Congruent Instruction Survey, and (d) a substantive body of evidence for the use of the instrument to draw valid inferences regarding CCI. While the context specific nature of CCI means that the Revised CCIS will likely require adaptation if used in contexts outside of the one for which it was designed, it holds significance to the research and education community in providing a template for the operationalization of CCI and its assessment. Likewise, the development process model, in demonstrating the use of culturally congruent practices to equitably engage stakeholders in instrument development, has potential value as a resource for guiding those looking to work with communities to develop a similar instrument. Both the instrument and development model have potential to move the research base forward regarding CCI, worthwhile goals that may assist in the attainment of equitable educational outcomes for all students.

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© Copyright 2014 Regina Christine Sievert