Native American Students' Self-Perceptions Regarding Gardner's Multiple Intelligences


Replicating Harms' (1998) study regarding self-perceptions of multiple intelligences among selected third-, seventh-, and eleventh-grade students in South Dakota, this study examined and compared Native American students' self-perceptions regarding Gardner's multiple intelligences.  Since Gardner (1983) posited his theory of multiple intelligences, people throughout the world have redefined intelligence.  His theory of multiple intelligences states there are eight, or more, ways that students learn and are smart.

Survey instruments were adapted by Harms (1998) from a model developed by the New City School faculty in St. Louis.  Data were collected from 174 third-grade, 122 seventh-grade, and 89 eleventh-grade Native American students enrolled in Bureau of Indian Affairs schools in South Dakota.  A five-point Likert scale was used to measure respondents' perceptions of the predominance of each of the multiple intelligences.  Computation of item means and rankings indicated that the respondents perceived naturalist and visual/spatial intelligences to be their most predominant intelligences and musical/rhythmic intelligence to be their least predominant intelligence.

A one-way analysis of variance showed that there were significantly different perceptions (p < .05) among Native American students at the three grade levels of all intelligences.  A series of t tests for independent means indicated that among all Native American students, there were significantly different perceptions (p < .01) between females and males regarding five of the eight intelligences.  Additionally, the t tests revealed significant differences (p < .01) in perceptions of multiple intelligences by females and males within each selected grade level.

*Dissertation included in Howard Gardner's updated appendices for his book, Intelligence Reframed, see

*Dissertation available from:

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