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

Exhibit 1.1 - U.S. Department of Education's Final Guidance At-A-Glance

(See appendix A for the full text of the Final Guidance)

Data Collected and Maintained by Educational Institutions

1. A two-part question must be used to collect data about students' or staff's race and ethnicity:
The first part should consist of a question about the respondent's ethnicity:
  • Hispanic/Latino or not—the term “Spanish origin” can be used in addition to “Hispanic/Latino.”

The order of the questions is important. The question about ethnicity must be asked first.

The second part should ask the respondent to select one or more races from five racial groups:

  • American Indian or Alaska Native
  • Asian
  • Black or African American
  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander
  • White

Additional categories may be used, but they must be subcategories of these groups.

2. Whenever possible, students and staff should be allowed to self-identify their race and ethnicity.

At the elementary and secondary levels, students' parents or guardians are typically the more appropriate source of race/ethnicity information. If self-identification is not practicable or feasible or the respondent has been provided adequate opportunity to self-identify, but still leaves the item blank or refuses to self-identify, observer identification should be used. Observer identification should also be used if staff persons decline to identify race and ethnicity for themselves. (This last advice is from EEOC instruction in its EEO-1 Collection, not directly from Final Guidance.)

3. States and districts are strongly encouraged to re-inventory their racial and ethnic data.

Though not mandated by this guidance, ED strongly encourages that current students and staff be allowed to re-identify their race and ethnicity using the 1997 OMB standards to ensure comparability of data and to accurately reflect diversity.

4. Newly collected racial and ethnic data must be retained for at least 3 years.

ED will indicate in its data collections the length of time educational institutions must maintain the original individual responses from students and staff. Racial and ethnic data as well as the original individual responses to the two-part question must be retained for at least 3 years or until the completion of any litigation involving those records.

Data Reported to the U.S. Department of Education.

1. Aggregated racial and ethnic data should be reported in the following seven categories:
  • Hispanic/Latino of any race; and, for individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only
  • American Indian or Alaska Native
  • Asian
  • Black or African American
  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander
  • White
  • Two or more races.
2. These aggregated categories are used for reporting data about students and for reporting data about staff to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Implications of Multiple-Race Responses for NCLB 2001
The introduction of multiple-race aggregation has implications for several ESEA requirements reauthorized under No Child Left Behind that involve racial and ethnic data, including AYP, report cards (for states and districts that receive ESEA Title I, Part A funds), and the 2-year trend comparisons included on state report cards. States will continue to determine which racial and ethnic groups will be used in the fulfillment of these requirements.

Bridging Data to Prior Years' Data
To facilitate trend analyses, educational institutions may adopt a bridging method to link new data collected using the 1997 guidelines to old data collected under the 1977 standards. For guidance on methods of “bridging” the “two or more races” category into single-race categories or the single-race categories into the previous single-race categories, see OMB's Provisional Guidance on the Implementation of the 1997 Standards for Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity.

Implementation Schedule
Educational institutions and recipients must implement by the fall of 2010 to report data for the 2010–2011 school year. Though not required, ED encourages reporting of aggregate race and ethnicity data in accordance with the guidance prior to that deadline whenever possible.