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Status and Trends in the Education of American Indians and Alaska Natives: 2008

NCES 2008-084
September 2008

Guide to Sources

The indicators in this report present data from a variety of sources that are described below. Most of these sources are federal surveys, and many are conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The majority of the sources are sample surveys; these are the sources of the estimates for which standard errors are provided on the NCES website: A few sources are universe surveys, meaning that they collect information on the entire population of interest; there are no standard errors in these surveys because there is no error introduced by sampling.

Some of the indicators in this report use different data sources or different definitions of terms to present estimates on similar variables. It is important to note that comparisons between estimates with such differences should be made with caution, if at all, because differences in populations, methodologies, question phrasing, and other factors may compromise such comparisons.

U.S. Department of Education

National Center for Education Statistics
Common Core of Data
NCES uses the Common Core of Data (CCD) to acquire and maintain statistical data from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Bureau of Indian Education, Department of Defense dependents schools (overseas and domestic), and the other jurisdictions. Information about staff and students is reported annually at the school, local education agency (LEA) or school district, and state levels. CCD data include prekindergarten through 12th-grade schools and students.

CCD categories for student race/ethnicity are White, Black, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaska Native. All students of Hispanic origin are included in the Hispanic category regardless of their race. Data are collected for a particular school year via an online reporting system open to state education agencies during the school year. Beginning with the 2006–07 school year, nonfiscal CCD data are collected through the Department of Education's Education Data Exchange Network (EDEN). Since the CCD is a universe collection, CCD data are not subject to sampling errors. However, nonsampling errors could come from two sources: nonresponse and inaccurate reporting. Almost all of the states submit the five CCD survey instruments each year, but submissions are sometimes incomplete. Further information on the CCD data may be obtained from


Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort of 2001
The Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort (ECLS-B) is designed to provide decision-makers, researchers, child care providers, teachers, and parents with nationally representative information about children's early learning experiences and the transition to child care and school. Children's physical and cognitive development, care, and learning experiences at home and school are measured using standardized assessments from birth through kindergarten entry. At the 9-month parent interview, respondents indicated whether the child belonged to one or more of 14 race categories: (1) White, (2) Black or African American, (3) American Indian or Alaska Native, (4) Asian Indian, (5) Chinese, (6) Filipino, (7) Japanese, (8) Korean, (9) Vietnamese, (10) Other Asian, (11) Native Hawaiian, (12) Guamanian or Chamorro, (13) Samoan, and (14) Other Pacific Islander. Data were collected on Hispanic ethnicity as well; specifically, respondents were asked whether the child was of Hispanic or Latino origin. A child's ethnicity was classified as Hispanic if a parent respondent indicated the child's ethnicity was Hispanic, regardless of the race identified. During the 2-year parent interview, for cases that were identified as being of American Indian/Alaska Native descent in the 9-month collection (by either the birth certificate data or during the parent interview), parent interview respondents were asked to confirm the child was of American Indian/Alaska Native descent. If the parent interview respondent indicated "no," the case was reclassified as the race/ethnicity specified by the parent interview respondent. Similar procedures were repeated at the preschool round. In this report, the categories presented for race/ethnicity are as follows: White; Black; Hispanic; Asian; Pacific Islander; American Indian or Alaska Native; and children of more than one race.

Data were collected from a sample of about 10,700 children born in the United States in 2001, representing a population of approximately 4 million. The children participating in the study come from diverse socioeconomic and racial/ethnic backgrounds, with oversamples of Chinese, other Asian and Pacific Islander, American Indian/Alaska Native, twin, and moderately low and very low birth weight children. Children, their parents (including nonresident and resident fathers), their child care providers, and their teachers provide information on children's cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development across multiple settings (e.g., home, child care, and school). Further information on the ECLS-B may be obtained from


Education Longitudinal Study of 2002
The Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS:2002) is a longitudinal survey that is monitoring the transitions of a national probability sample of 10th-graders in public, Catholic, and other private schools. Survey waves follow both students and high school dropouts and monitor the transition of the cohort to postsecondary education, the labor force, and family formation.

The ELS student questionnaire asks students to self-report race/ethnicity. Students are first asked whether they are Hispanic or Latino/Latina. Next, they are asked to select any of the following race categories that apply to them: White, Black/African American, Asian, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, and American Indian or Alaska Native. In the base year of the study, of approximately 1,200 eligible contacted schools, 750 participated, for an overall weighted school participation rate of 68 percent (62 percent unweighted). Of approximately 17,600 selected eligible students, 15,400 participated, for an overall weighted student response rate of 87 percent. Information for the study is obtained not just from students and their school records, but also from the students' parents, their teachers, their librarians, and the administrators of their schools. The first follow-up was conducted in 2004, when most sample members were high school seniors. Base-year students who remained in their base schools were resurveyed and tested in mathematics, along with a freshening sample to make the study representative of spring 2004 high school seniors nationwide. Students who were not still at their base schools were administered a dropout or a transfer questionnaire.

The second follow-up, completed in 2006, continued to follow the sample of students into postsecondary education or work, or both. The next follow-up is scheduled for 2012.

Further information on ELS:2002 may be obtained from


High School and Beyond Longitudinal Study
The High School and Beyond Longitudinal Study (HS&B) is a national longitudinal survey of individuals who were high school sophomores and seniors in 1980. The base-year survey (conducted in 1980) was a probability sample of approximately 1,000 high schools with a target number of 36 sophomores and 36 seniors in each school. Of the approximately 58,300 students who participated in the base-year survey, over 30,000 were sophomores and over 28,000 were seniors. Substitutions were made for nonparticipating schools—but not for students––in those strata where it was possible. Overall, about 1,100 schools were selected in the original sample and 800 of these schools participated in the survey. An additional 200 schools were drawn in a replacement sample. Student refusals and absences resulted in an 82 percent completion rate for the survey. Several small groups in the population were over-sampled to allow for special study of certain types of schools and students. Students completed questionnaires and took a battery of cognitive tests. In addition, a sample of parents of sophomores and seniors (about 3,600 for each cohort) was surveyed. Follow-up surveys were conducted in 1982, 1984, 1986 and 1992.

HS&B categories for student race/ethnicity are White, Black, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaska Native.

An NCES series of technical reports and data file user's manuals, available electronically, provides additional information on the survey methodology. Further information on HS&B may be obtained from


Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System
Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) are universe surveys that collect data from all primary providers of postsecondary education in the United States. IPEDS surveys approximately 6,500 postsecondary institutions, including universities and colleges, as well as institutions offering technical and vocational education beyond the high school level. IPEDS, which began in 1986, replaced the Higher Education General Information Survey (HEGIS). IPEDS consists of nine interrelated components that obtain information on who provides postsecondary education (institutions), who participates in it and completes it (students), what programs are offered and what programs are completed, and both the human and financial resources involved in the provision of institutionally based postsecondary education.

IPEDS asks institutions to provide enrollment and completion data on students based on the following race/ethnicity categories: Black, non-Hispanic; American Indian/Alaska Native; Asian/Pacific Islander; Hispanic; and White, non-Hispanic. Each student may only be reported in one category. Further information on IPEDS may be obtained from


National Assessment of Educational Progress
The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is a nationally representative and continuing assessment of what America's students know and can do in various subject areas. For over three decades, assessments have been conducted periodically in reading, mathematics, science, writing, history, geography, and other subjects.

In the main national NAEP, a nationally representative sample of students is assessed at grades 4, 8, and 12 in various academic subjects. The assessments change periodically and are based on frameworks developed by the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB). Results are reported in two ways. Average scores are reported for the nation, for participating states and jurisdictions, and for subgroups of the population. In addition, the percentage of students at or above the Basic, Proficient, and Advanced achievement levels is reported for these same groups. The achievement levels are developed by NAGB.

NAEP reports data on student race/ethnicity based on information obtained from school rosters. Race/ ethnicity categories are White, Black, Hispanic, Asian American/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/ Alaska Native. NAEP also provides data on students whose race/ethnicity is unclassified, but these are not presented in this report. All students of Hispanic origin are classified as Hispanic, regardless of race. The assessment data presented in this publication were derived from tests designed and conducted by the Educational Testing Service (ETS).

Information from NAEP is subject to both nonsampling and sampling errors. Two possible sources of nonsampling error are nonparticipation and instrumentation. Certain populations have been oversampled to ensure samples of sufficient size for analysis. Instrumentation nonsampling error could result from failure of the test instruments to measure what is being taught and, in turn, what the students are learning.

Further information on NAEP may be obtained from


NAEP National Indian Education Study
The National Indian Education Study (NIES) was conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) at the request of the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Indian Education Programs (OIEP). The goal of the study is to describe the condition of education of American Indian/Alaska Native students by focusing on both their academic achievement (Part I) and educational experiences (Part II) in grades 4 and 8. This activity is part of a collaborative effort among Indian tribes and organizations, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), and state and local education agencies to ensure that programs serving American Indian and Alaska Native children are of the highest quality and meet their unique culturally related academic needs.

Conducted in 2005 and 2007, NIES provides data on a nationally representative sample of American Indian and Alaska Native students in public, private, Department of Defense, and Bureau of Indian Education funded schools. Part I of the 2007 NIES presents the performance results of American Indian and Alaska Native students at grades 4 and 8 on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in reading and mathematics. The first NIES study was conducted in 2005, and the results for 2007 are compared to results from that assessment. The Technical Review Panel, whose members included American Indian and Alaska Native educators and researchers from across the country, was assembled to advise the study and oversee the development of survey questionnaires.

In 2005, a nationally representative sample of about 14,500 American Indian/Alaska Native students (combined grades 4 and 8 in reading and mathematics) were assessed in NIES Part I. Approximately 5,100 American Indian/Alaska Native students, 1,300 teachers of American Indian/Alaska Native students, and nearly 500 principals of American Indian/Alaska Native students completed survey questionnaires for NIES Part II. In 2007, a nationally representative sample of about 28,000 American Indian/Alaska Native students (combined grades 4 and 8 in reading and mathematics) were assessed in NIES Part I. Approximately 22,000 American Indian/Alaska Native students, and 7,600 teachers and 3,500 principals of these students completed survey questionnaires for NIES Part II . The Part I and Part II samples included students attending public, private, and Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) schools. Further information on NIES may be obtained from


National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988
The National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NELS:88) was designed to provide trend data about critical transitions experienced by young people as they develop, attend school, and embark on their careers. NELS:88 was the third major secondary school student longitudinal study conducted by NCES. The two studies that preceded NELS:88, the National Longitudinal Study of the High School Class of 1972 (NLS:72) and the High School and Beyond Longitudinal Study (HS&B) in 1980, surveyed high school seniors (and sophomores in HS&B) through high school, postsecondary education, and work and family formation experiences.

Unlike its predecessors, NELS:88 began with a cohort of 8th-grade students. For the approximately 1,000 public and private schools with 8th grades that were sampled and agreed to participate in NELS:88, complete 8th-grade rosters were produced for each school. From this roster, approximately 24 students were randomly selected. The remaining students on the roster were then grouped by race and ethnicity, and additional 2-3 Asian and Hispanic students were then selected for each school. In 1988, some 25,000 8th-graders, their parents, their teachers, and their school principals were surveyed. Follow-ups were conducted in 1990 and 1992, when a majority of these students were in the 10th and 12th grades, respectively, and then in 1994, approximately 2 years after their scheduled high school graduation. A fourth follow-up was conducted in 2000.

NELS respondents were asked to self-identify their race/ethnicity, first by indicating if they were of Hispanic origin. If they identified themselves as Hispanic, they were assigned to the Hispanic or Latino category. Respondents were then asked to identify their primary choice of race. Those who responded with more than one race/ethnicity category were put in the More than one race category. Thus, the resulting race/ethnicity categories are: 1) Asian or Pacific Islander; 2) Hispanic or Latino (any race); 3) Black, non-Hispanic; 4) White, non-Hispanic; 5) American Indian or Alaska Native; and 6) More than one race.

Further information on NELS:88 may be obtained from


National Postsecondary Student Aid Study
The National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS) is a comprehensive nationwide study of how students and their families pay for postsecondary education. It covers nationally representative samples of undergraduates, graduates, and first-professional students in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, including students attending less-than-2-year institutions, community colleges, 4-year colleges, and major universities. Participants include both students who do and those who do not receive financial aid, and their parents. Study results are used to help guide future federal policy regarding student financial aid. The first NPSAS study was conducted during the 1986-87 school year; subsequent studies have been carried out during the 1989-90, 1992-93, 1995-96, 1999-2000, and 2003-04 school years.

NPSAS asks students to self-report race/ethnicity. Race/ethnicity categories are White, Black, Hispanic, Asian, American Indian, Pacific Islander, and Other. Students may select more than one race and students of Hispanic origin are classified as Hispanic regardless of race. Further information on NPSAS may be obtained from


Private School Universe Survey
The purposes of the Private School Universe Survey (PSS) data collection activities are (1) to build an accurate and complete list of private schools to serve as a sampling frame for NCES sample surveys of private schools; and (2) to report data on the total number of private schools, teachers, and students in the survey universe. Begun in 1989, the PSS has been conducted every 2 years, and data for the 1989–90, 1991–92, 1993–94, 1995–96, 1997–98, 1999–2000, 2001–02, 2003–04, and 2005–06 school years have been released.

The PSS is completed by administrative personnel in private schools and produces data similar to that of the CCD for public schools, and can be used for public-private comparisons. The target population for this universe survey is all private schools in the United States that meet the PSS criteria of a private school (i.e., the private school is an institution that provides instruction for any of grades K through 12, has one or more teachers to give instruction, is not administered by a public agency, and is not operated in a private home). The survey universe is composed of schools identified from a variety of sources. The main source is a list frame initially developed for the 1989–90 PSS. The list is updated regularly by matching it with lists provided by nationwide private school associations, state departments of education, and other national guides and sources that list private schools. The other source is an area frame search in approximately 124 geographic areas, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Race/ethnicity categories identified in the PSS survey are White, non-Hispanic, Black, non-Hispanic, Hispanic (regardless of race), Asian or Pacific Islander, and American Indian or Alaska Native. Further information on the PSS may be obtained from


Other Department of Education Agencies

Bureau of Indian Education
The Bureau of Indian Education (BIE), formerly known as the Office of Indian Education Programs (OIEP), is a service organization devoted to providing quality education opportunities for American Indian people. BIE was established in the latter part of the nineteenth century to carry out the Federal Government's education commitment to Indian tribes. The BIE fulfills its mission through its headquarters, 19 regional offices located throughout the United States, and 184 elementary and secondary schools and dormitories funded by the Federal Government that provide an education program to approximately 50,000 students from birth through grade 12. The Bureau of Indian Education also operates two postsecondary institutions and funds 24 colleges operated by tribes and tribal organizations.

The BIE collects, analyzes, and reports on educational activities and results. BIE operates the Division of Compliance, Monitoring, and Accountability (DCMA) to collect data on over fifty different items related to school operations and effectiveness for use by both the BIE and the Department of Education. The DCMA monitors schools through on-site audits/ inspections. Analysis of the collected data is performed by BIE and any recommendations resulting from the analysis are developed in conjunction with consultations with Tribal leaders. The BIE makes data and results from the Tribal consultations available to the public through BIE maintained web sites. Further information on BIE may be obtained from

Office for Civil Rights
OCR Elementary and Secondary School Survey
The OCR Elementary and Secondary School (E&S) Survey has been used since 1968 by the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) to obtain trend data from the nation's public elementary and secondary schools. The E&S Survey provides information about the enrollment of students in public schools in every state and about some education services provided to those students. These data are reported by race/ ethnicity, sex, and disability. OCR E&S Survey categories provided to the districts and schools for reporting student race/ethnicity are White, Black, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaska Native.

Data in the E&S Survey are collected pursuant to 34 C.F.R. Section 100.6(b) of the Department of Education regulation implementing Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The requirements are also incorporated by reference in Department regulations implementing Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975. School, district, state, and national data are currently available. Data from individual public schools and districts are used to generate projected national and state data.

In recent surveys, the sample has been approximately 6,000 districts and 60,000 schools; however, in 2000, data were collected from all public school districts. In sample surveys, the following districts are sampled with certainty: districts having more than 25,000 students; all districts in states having 25 or fewer public school districts; and districts subject to federal court order and monitored by the U.S. Department of Justice. The survey is conducted biennially (with few exceptions); the most recent survey was conducted in 2006. Data currently are available from the 2006 survey.

Further information on the E&S Survey may be obtained from


Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act
The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), formerly the Education of the Handicapped Act (EHA), requires the Secretary of Education to transmit to Congress annually a report describing the progress made in serving the nation's children with disabilities. This annual report contains information on children served by public schools under the provisions of Part B of the IDEA and on children served in state-operated programs for the disabled under Chapter I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

Statistics on children receiving special education and related services in various settings and school personnel providing such services are reported in an annual submission of data to the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) by the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the outlying areas. The child count information is based on the number of children with disabilities receiving special education and related services on December 1 of each year. Each child can only be reported in one of the following race/ethnicity categories: American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian or Pacific Islander, Black, Hispanic, and White. Since children may only be reported in one category, all children of Hispanic origin are reported as Hispanic, regardless of race, and are not included in any of the four race categories.

Since each participant in programs for the disabled is reported to OSERS, the data are not subject to sampling error. However, nonsampling error can arise from a variety of sources. Some states follow a noncategorical approach to the delivery of special education services, but produce counts by disabling condition because Part B of the EHA requires it. In those states that do categorize their disabled students, definitions and labeling practices vary. Further information on this annual report to Congress may be obtained from


U.S. Department of Commerce

Census Bureau
Decennial Census
The Decennial Census is a universe survey mandated by the U.S. Constitution. It is a questionnaire sent to every household in the country composed of seven questions about the household and its members (the questions request the following information: name, sex, age, relationship, Hispanic origin, race, and whether the housing unit is owned or rented). About 17 percent of households receive a much longer questionnaire that includes questions about ancestry, income, mortgage, and size of the housing unit. The Census Bureau also produces annual estimates of the resident population by demographic characteristics (age, sex, race, and Hispanic origin) for the nation, states, and counties, as well as national and state projections for the resident population. The reference date for population estimates is July 1 of the given year. With each new issue of July 1 estimates, Census revises estimates for each year back to the last census. Previously published estimates are superseded and archived.

Census respondents self-report race and ethnicity. In the 2000 Census, they were first asked "Is this person Spanish/Hispanic/Latino?" and given the response options "No, not Spanish/Hispanic/Latino," "Yes, Puerto Rican," "Yes, Mexican, Mexican American, Chicano," "Yes, Cuban," and "Yes, other Spanish/ Hispanic/Latino" (with space to print the group). The next question was "What is this person's race?". This question's response options were "White," "Black, African American, or Negro," "American Indian or Alaska Native" (with space to print the name of enrolled or principal tribe), "Asian Indian," "Japanese," "Native Hawaiian," "Chinese," "Korean," "Guamanian or Chamorro," "Filipino," "Vietnamese," "Samoan," "Other Asian," "Other Pacific Islander," and "Some other race." The last three options included space to print the specific race. The 2000 Census was also the first Census survey that gave respondents the option of choosing more than one race. The Census population estimates program modified the enumerated population from the 2000 Census to produce the population estimates base for the year 2000 forward. As part of the modification, program staff recoded the "Some other race" responses from Census 2000 to one or more of the five OMB race categories used in the estimates program. Prior to 2000, the Census Bureau combined the categories Asian and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander. All persons of Hispanic origin were included in the Hispanic category regardless of the race option(s) chosen. Therefore, persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race.

Further information may be obtained from


American Community Survey (ACS)
The American Community Survey (ACS) is a sample survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. The ACS was first implemented in 1996 and has expanded in scope in subsequent years. The ACS will replace the long-form survey in the Decennial Census by 2010. The race/ethnicity questions in the ACS are the same as in the Decennial Census (see above). Therefore, prior to 1999, respondents could choose only one race, but from 2000 onward, respondents could choose one or more races. The ACS also asks respondents to write in their ancestry or ethnic origin. All persons of Hispanic origin are included in the Hispanic category regardless of the race option(s) chosen. Therefore, persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race. Data on persons who identified themselves as "Some other race" are included in the totals, but these data are not separately shown.

The American Indian/Alaska Native categories presented in this report are Cherokee, Navajo, Latin American Indian, Choctaw, Sioux, Chippewa, Apache, Blackfeet, Iroquois, Pueblo (American Indian tribes), Eskimo, Tlingit-Haida, Alaska Athabascan, and Aleut (Alaska Native tribes). Tribal groupings compiled by the Census Bureau do not necessarily correspond with federally recognized tribes. Self-identified membership does not necessarily correspond with official membership in a federally recognized tribe. Tribal groupings are tallies of the number of American Indian and Alaska Native responses, rather than the number of American Indian and Alaska Native respondents. Respondents reporting several American Indian and Alaska Native tribes are counted several times.

Global differences exist between the ACS and Census. These include differences in universes, reference periods, residence rules, and the collection of race/ethnicity. Specifically, the 2006 ACS uses a "two-month" residence rule—defined as anyone living for more than two months in the sample unit when the unit is interviewed whereas Census uses a "usual residence" rule—defined as the place where a person lives or stays most of the time. In addition, counts of American Indians/Alaska Natives reported through the American Community Survey (Tables 1.1b, 1.2a, and 1.2b) are lower than those reported in the Population Estimates data series (Tables 1.1a and 1.1c). Data for Population Estimates are based on aggregations of racial/ethnic groups compiled from various Census Bureau sources. Racial/ethnic data reported through the American Community Survey are based on responses of individuals to a detailed question on race/ethnicity, which include more racial/ethnic groups, plus a category of "some other race." Further information on the American Community survey may be obtained from

Current Population Survey
Prior to July 2001, estimates of school enrollment rates, as well as social and economic characteristics of students, were based on data collected in the Census Bureau's monthly household survey of about 50,000 dwelling units. Beginning in July 2001, this sample was expanded to 60,000 dwelling units. The monthly Current Population Survey (CPS) sample consists of 754 areas comprising 2,007 geographic areas, independent cities, and minor civil divisions throughout the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The samples are initially selected based on the decennial census files and are periodically updated to reflect new housing construction.

The monthly CPS deals primarily with labor force data for the civilian noninstitutional population (i.e., excluding military personnel and their families living on bases and inmates of institutions). In addition, in October of each year, each member of a household is asked supplemental questions regarding highest grade completed, level and grade of current enrollment, attendance status, number and type of courses, degree or certificate objective, and type of organization offering instruction. In March of each year, supplemental questions on income are asked. The responses to these questions are combined with answers to two questions on educational attainment: what was the highest grade of school ever attended and was that grade completed.

CPS respondents are asked to identify their race. Between 1979 and 2002, respondents were asked to choose one of the following race categories: White, Black, Asian or Pacific Islander, or American Indian/ Aleut/Eskimo. For the years 2003, 2004, and 2005, respondents were asked to choose from White, Black or African American, Asian, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, and/or American Indian/ Alaska Native. Beginning with the 2003 CPS, respondents had the choice of selecting more than one race category. Also, in 2003 and subsequent years, respondents were asked to specify whether or not they were of Hispanic origin following the race question. Further information on CPS may be obtained from


Other Organization Sources

American College Testing Program
The American College Testing Program (ACT) is an independent, not-for-profit organization that provides services in the broad areas of education and workforce development.

The American College Testing (ACT) assessment is designed to measure educational development in the areas of English, mathematics, social studies, and natural sciences. The ACT assessment is taken by college-bound high school students and by all graduating seniors in Colorado and Illinois. The test results are used to predict how well students might perform in college.

Separate ACT standard scores are computed for English, mathematics, science reasoning, and, as of October 1989, reading. ACT standard scores are reported for each subject area on a scale from 1 to 36. The four ACT standard scores have a mean (average) of 21.2 and a standard deviation of 5.0 for test-taking students nationally. A composite score is obtained by taking the simple average of the four standard scores and is an indication of a student's overall academic development across these subject areas.

Students taking the ACT college entrance exam are asked to self-select one of the following racial/ ethnic groups to describe themselves: African-American/Black, American Indian/Alaskan Native, Caucasian-American/White, Mexican-American/ Chicano, Asian-American/Pacific Islander, Puerto Rican/Hispanic, Other, Multiracial, or "Prefer Not to Respond."

It should be noted that graduating students who take the ACT assessment are not necessarily representative of graduating students nationally. Students who live in the Midwest, Rocky Mountains, Plains, and South are overrepresented among ACT-tested students as compared to graduating students nationally. These students more often attend public colleges and universities, which require the ACT assessment more often than the SAT test.

Further information on the ACT may be obtained from

The College Board
The Admissions Testing Program of the College Board consists of a number of college admissions tests, including the SAT Reasoning Test (SAT) and Advanced Placement (AP) testing. High school students participate in the testing program as sophomores, juniors, or seniors—some more than once during these 3 years. If they have taken the tests more than once, only the most recent scores are tabulated.

The SAT reports subscores in the areas of reading, writing and mathematics. Each section of the SAT is scored on a scale of 200-800, with two writing subscores for multiple-choice questions and the essay. It is administered seven times a year in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and U.S. Territories, and six times a year overseas. In recent years, more than 1.4 million high school students have taken the SAT examination annually. The latest version of the SAT, which includes the writing component, was first administered in March 2005.

Data on race and ethnicity come from the Student Descriptive Questionnaire (SDQ). SAT results are not representative of high school students or college-bound students nationally since the sample is self-selected, i.e., taken by students who need the results to apply to a particular college or university. Public colleges in many states, particularly in the Midwest, parts of the South, and the West, require ACT scores rather than SAT scores. The proportion of students taking the SAT in these states is very low and is inappropriate for comparison.

The College Board collects race/ethnicity information for AP testing based on the categories American Indian/ Alaskan; Asian/Asian American; Black/Afro-American; Latino: Chicano/Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Other Latino; White; and Other. Black refers to test takers who identified themselves as Black/Afro-American, and Hispanic refers to the sum of all Latino subgroups. Pacific Islander may or may not be included in the Asian/Asian American category because the response option provided by The College Board was given only as Asian/Asian American. Possible scores on Advanced Placement (AP) examinations range from 1 to 5.

Further information on the SAT can be obtained from


Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
National Survey on Drug Use and Health
Conducted by the federal government since 1971, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) is an annual survey of the civilian, non-institutionalized population of the United States age 12 or older. It is the primary source of information on the prevalence, patterns, and consequences of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drug abuse. The survey collects data by administering questionnaires to a representative sample of the population (since 1999, the NSDUH interview has been carried out using computer-assisted interviewing). NSDUH collects information from residents of households, residents of noninstitutional group quarters, and civilians living on military bases. The main results of the NSDUH present national estimates of rates of use, numbers of users, and other measures related to illicit drugs, alcohol, and tobacco products.

The survey asks separate questions about Hispanic ethnicity and race. Respondents' race options are White, Black/African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, and Asian. Respondents may choose more than one race.

Prior to 2002, the survey was called the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA). Because of improvements to the survey in 2002, the data from 2002 through 2006 should not be compared with 2001 and earlier NHSDA data for assessing changes in substance use over time. Further information on the NSDUH may be obtained from


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Youth Risk Behavior Survey
The National School-Based Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) is one component of the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS), an epidemiological surveillance system developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to monitor the prevalence of youth behaviors that most influence health. The YRBS focuses on priority health-risk behaviors established during youth that result in the most significant mortality, morbidity, disability, and social problems during both youth and adulthood. These include: tobacco use; unhealthy dietary behaviors; inadequate physical activity; alcohol and other drug use; sexual behaviors that may result in HIV infection or other sexually transmitted diseases; unintended pregnancies; and behaviors that may result in violence and unintentional injuries, as well as overweight.

Race/ethnicity of respondents is ascertained by the following two questions: "Are you Hispanic or Latino?" and "What is your race? (Select one or more responses.)" Race/ethnicity categories identified in the YRBS survey are White, Black, Hispanic, Asian, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaska Native. Further information on the YRBSS may be obtained from

National Vital Statistics System (NVSS)
The NVSS is the method by which data on births, deaths, marriages, and divorces are provided to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), by registration systems in various jurisdictions.

Separate questions are asked about race and Hispanic ethnicity in the NVSS. Data are available for non-Hispanic Whites and Blacks; however, the Asian/ Pacific Islander and American Indian/Alaska Native categories include persons of Hispanic origin.

Race/ethnicity categories are White, Black, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaska Native. In order to maintain continuity with previous years of data, all race categories may include persons of Hispanic origin. Further information on the NVSS may be obtained from