Indigenous Culture-Based Education Rubrics

Date 

June 2008

Social 

Female student reading in a school library

This document is organized to provide training and basic information for use of the Indigenous Culture-Based Education Rubrics, which were originally developed to measure culture-based education (CBE) program levels in partner schools. Each of these schools focuses on the use and teaching of an indigenous language in a CBE environment.

The instrument for measuring the level of CBE in a school is referred to as an Indigenous Culture-Based Education Continuum. This continuum was formulated in response to the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory (NWREL) report on the influences of CBE on academic performance (Demmert & Towner, 2003). The NWREL report identifies six critical elements of CBE programs:

  1. Recognition and use of Native American (American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian) languages (either bilingually or as a first or second language)
  2. Pedagogy that stresses traditional cultural characteristics and adult-child interactions as the starting place for education (mores that are currently practiced in the community and that may differ from community to community)
  3. Pedagogy in which teaching strategies are congruent with the traditional culture, as well as with contemporary ways of knowing and learning (opportunities to observe, opportunities to practice, and opportunities to demonstrate skills)
  4. Curriculum that is based on traditional culture and recognizes the importance of Native spirituality while placing the education of young children in a contemporary context (e.g., use and understanding of the visual arts, legends, oral histories, and fundamental beliefs of the community)
  5. Strong Native community participation (including parents, elders, and other community resources) in educating children and in the planning and operation of school activities
  6. Knowledge and use of the social and political mores of the community

This continuum is reflected in the rubrics, which enable schools and programs to measure CBE levels, identify and set goals for advancing CBE levels, and identify relationships among the level of CBE, student academic performance, and the general well-being of students.