Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy




Dr. Jerry White


Each of the articles in this dissertation addresses a policy or theoretical issue at a different point on the learning continuum. Chapter 2, First Nations Early Learning and Child Care in Canada, examines federal policy specific to First Nations early learning and child care (ELCC). This article contributes to our understanding of ELCC by examining the historical role and relationship of the federal government in the financing and delivery of ELCC, outlining the current state of federal early learning policy related to First Nations, and presenting national data on First Nations ELCC to assess how it can inform policy and data needs.

The third chapter, Standardized Testing and First Nations Schools: A Case Study examines the impact of the use of provincial standardized testing in an on-reserve elementary school in Ontario. Using a case study approach, the perspectives of the school administration and teachers are explored. The research questions include: 1) Why might an Indigenous school choose to implement a regional standardized assessment? 2) How does this impact the schools’ ability to provide a culturally based education? 3) What challenges does a First Nations school face in implementing a standardized assessment?

Chapter 4, Educational Expectations of First Nations Applicants to Postsecondary, utilizes data from a large-scale Canadian survey to look at the relationship between personal, family, community, and academic factors and the educational expectations of First Nations learners. Expectations are a fundamental part of the attainment process, and have been shown to be a key predictor of eventual educational attainment. Most theories of educational expectations, however, have been developed based on the experiences of non-Indigenous youth. The concluding chapter discusses policy implications and future research.