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Managing an Identity Crisis: Forum Guide to Implementing New Federal Race and Ethnicity Categories
NFES 2008-802
October 2008

Appendix C: Introduction

In its "Final Guidance on Maintaining, Collecting and Reporting Racial and Ethnic Data on Race and Ethnicity to the U.S. Department of Education," the U.S. Department of Education (ED) says that "states, educational institutions, and other recipients may propose to ‘bridge' the ‘two or more races' category into single-race categories or the new single-race categories into the previous single-race categories."1 To aid in this process of selecting and implementing a bridging technique, this report presents 13 data-bridging methodologies for states' consideration: 9 studied by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB); 1 developed and used by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS); as well as 3 alternative methods. While states may exclude several of the 13 from consideration rather easily, many will remain as viable options. This report will summarize each methodology's merits and weaknesses and will offer some best-practice recommendations. If states decide to bridge, a single bridging methodology should be selected based on such considerations, as the characteristics of local populations as well as data processing capabilities and should be used by all districts in the state for purposes of No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

1 U.S. Department of Education, "Final Guidance on Maintaining, Collecting and Reporting Racial and Ethnic Data to the U.S. Department of Education." Federal Register, Vol. 72, No. 202. October 19, 2007, pp. 59, 278.