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Mental abilities of British Columbia Indian children Fraser, William Donald

Abstract

The purpose of this investigation was to determine whether Indian children differ significantly from white children, and whether urban Indian children differ significantly from rural Indian children in their mental abilities; and to identify possible differences with implications for Indian education. The study was motivated by a concern over the pattern of poor school achievement and early drop-out which became more obvious among Indians in the late 1960's when integration into British Columbia public schools was rapidly accelerated. A sample of 62 Indian pupils (CA range, 76 months to 108 months), including 27 urban children from Vancouver School District and 35 rural children from Merritt School District were administered the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale Form L-M. Results were obtained for the sample and for each sub-group in the form of mean IQ scores and mean scores on 14 of Guilford1s Structure of Intellect (S. O. I.) ability categories. In the latter case, an adaptation of Meeker's:procedure for S. O. I. analysis of Binet responses was used. Urban results were compared with rural results and Indian results were compared with white population norms. The latter were derived on the basis of the Binet standardization. 1. Hypothesis number one was that there would be significant differences between Indian children and white children on all S. O. I. ability categories and on IQ. The differences between mean scores were statistically significant on all ability categories (p< .05). Indian scores were lower but not uniformly lower. The Indian mean IQ was 87.47. The difference between this and IQ=100.00 was statistically significant (p< .001). 2. Hypothesis number 2 was that there would be no significant difference between urban and rural Indian children on any S. O. I. ability category or on IQ. The difference between mean scores was not statistically significant on any category. The urban mean IQ was 87.37 and the rural was 87.54. The difference was not statistically significant. 3. Hypothesis number 3 was that there would be significant differences between both urban and rural Indian children, and white children, on their profiles of mean scores on S. O. I. ability categories. Differences were statistically significant, Indian groups being lower (p< .01). 4. Hypothesis number 4 was that there would be no significant difference between urban and rural Indian children on their profiles of mean scores on S. O. I. ability categories. No statistically significant difference was found. The results suggest that Indian children are less well equipped with abilities which are important to do well in school than white children. However, it appears that they are not uniformly lower in these abilities. Further research might determine whether remedial practice for Indians fitted to the differential pattern of S. O. I. abilities indicated in this investigation, would help close the gap between Indian and white level of achievement. The results imply that such remedial practice would be equally suitable for urban and rural Indians.

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