Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Degree Name

Curriculum and Instruction

Other Degree Name/Area of Focus

Teaching and Learning

Department or School/College

College of Education and Human Sciences

Committee Chair

Lisa Blank

Commitee Members

Morgen Alwell, Fletcher Brown, Martin Horejsi, Darrell Stolle


American Indian Student, Cultural Border Crossing, Culturally Congruent Instruction, Science Education, Tribal College and University, Undergraduate Education


University of Montana


This study is motivated by two research questions: (1) How does Culturally Congruent Instruction (CCI) influence American Indian (AI) students' attitudes and achievement in natural resources science at a tribally controlled college/university (TCU)? And (2) What is the nature of the relationship between CCI course modifications and changes (or lack of) in AI students' science attitudes and achievement at a TCU? Findings developed a Culturally Congruent Instructional Framework (CCIF) for use in TCUs and beyond.

Previous research suggest that AI students and tribal college science must find congruence for the student to cross cultural boundaries of the institution. TCUs can address the need for AI science experts to provide stewardship over natural resources within sovereign territory. Previous researchers developed a survey that operationalized CCI content, pedagogy and instruction environment for K-12 science education. The present study used the content and pedagogy items as the basis for modifications in natural resources courses.

This study utilized a mixed-method, quasi-experimental design to assess changes in student attitude and achievement. Four courses were selected for treatment. Faculty engaged in workshops and follow-up individual training to modify their courses. The treatment and control courses were subjected to pre/post surveys assessing changes in attitude toward science, motivational orientation and students’ perception of CCI. Student and faculty focus groups were conducted to gain insight into course modifications and challenges. Formative and summative data were collected to determine student achievement. Quantitative data were gathered using a non-equivalent control group design and analyzed using between group comparisons with t-tests and ANOVA. Qualitative data were gathered using a multiple case study design and within and across case thematic analysis.

Findings indicate no changes in attitude towards science; increase in self-efficacy and task value for treatment group; and a greater agreement that the use of Native languages, tribal guest speakers and collaborative group work support border crossing. Treatment AI students experienced higher achievement scores than the control AI groups. The CCIF model encompasses three levels of support for student border crossing. Institutions, departmental, faculty/course and student level mediating factors are presented to mediate the least hazardous border crossings for AI students.



© Copyright 2018 Shandin Hashkeh Pete