Theses Doctoral

Understanding Intercultural Bilingual Education for Education Equity among Indigenous Students in Ecuador and Peru

Martel, Mirka

In this dissertation, I focused on education equity for Indigenous communities in Ecuador and Peru and the policy implications of intercultural bilingual education in the countries’ primary schools. The goals of the study were to (a) measure the extent to which intercultural bilingual education led to increased education outcomes for Indigenous students in Ecuador and Peru and (b) analyze how intercultural bilingual education was implemented in Ecuador by interest groups and how this affected its interpretation and success. Using a sequential mixed methods design, the study began with a longitudinal analysis of education outcomes among Indigenous and non-Indigenous students from 2006-2013 using standardized tests from the Second and Third Regional Comparative and Explanatory Studies. Indigenous students increased their test scores in Spanish language over time; however, these findings were not solely attributed to intercultural bilingual education schools. Improvements among Indigenous students did not necessarily reflect increased equity, as low-income children and those from rural areas continued to underperform. In Ecuador, intercultural bilingual education reform from 2006-2016 resulted in divergent perspectives on the purposes and outcomes of this type of education between the government and Indigenous groups. Opposing interpretations of this education reform as a realization of Indigenous rights and equity as outlined in the 2008 constitution, and its subsequent implementation in Indigenous communities, led to differences in how to measure the success of the reform. Government adherence to a state-level system of evaluation and testing for all students and teachers in 2012 predisposed intercultural bilingual education schools to standardized testing that undermined the theoretical underpinnings of intercultural education.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Comparative and International Education
Thesis Advisors
Cortina, Regina
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
June 3, 2019