ADE Director's Communication Memo Form

Memo Number : FIN-09-040

Date Created : 01/09/2009


Co-op Directors
Elementary Principals
Middle School Principals
High School Principals
other: Business Officials and Counselors

Type of Memo: Informational
Response Required: No
Section:   Fiscal and Administrative Services - William J. Goff, Assistant Commissioner
Race and Ethnicity Information

Regulatory Authority:

Contact Person:
Carmen Jordan

Phone Number:


In accordance with new standards issued by the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE), school districts across the nation will need to change how to collect and report race/ethnicity for students and staff. The change will bring education data reporting in line with reporting by the U.S. Census and other federal government agencies. This change is not optional for the states. The Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) plans to implement the changes for student level data reporting beginning in the 2009-2010 school year.

The new standard separates race and ethnicity and includes two categories for ethnicity and five categories for race. Each respondent is asked to answer the ethnicity question and also to choose one or more races. (For the purpose of this memo, the term 'respondent' is used to refer to the student, the student's parent, or the staff person.) To read about the new standard go to and view the publication 'Managing an Identity Crisis: Forum Guide to Implementing New Federal Race and Ethnicity Categories.'

A two-part question must be used to collect data about student or staff race and ethnicity. The first part of the question is on ethnicity and the second is on race. The race question can have multiple values. Below is a example of the two-part question and the ethnicity description and the description of each race.

Sample Race/Ethnicity Two-Part Question:
Answer BOTH questions.

1. Is this student (or is the respondent) Hispanic or Latino? (Choose only one)
 No, not Hispanic or Latino

 Yes, Hispanic or Latino (A person of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.)

2. What is the student’s (or respondent's) race? (Regardless of how respondent answered the first question, choose one or more)

 American Indian or Alaska Native (A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America, including Central America, and who maintains tribal affiliation or community attachment.)

 Asian (A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam.)

 Black or African American (A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa.)

 Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander (A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands.)

 White (A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.)
The order of the questions is important. The ethnicity question must be asked first, and both questions must be answered.

When data are REPORTED to the U.S Department of Education, the state education agency is required to report aggregated racial and ethnic data in the following seven categories:
• Hispanic/Latino of any race;
and for non-Hispanic/Latino individuals:
• American Indian or Alaska Native
• Asian
• Black or African American
• Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander
• White, or
• Two or more races.

Arkansas Public School Computer Network (APSCN) will provide instructions to the districts on the new race/ethnicity coding soon. The Pentamation software will be updated with the new coding structure with the 6.0 version which has a tentative release date of February 2009.

The new standard will affect schools or districts in several ways.

(1) Collecting race/ethnicity data.
The school district will need to change the student enrollment forms to use the two-part question. There will be a sample form in Cognos that can be used for re-identifying students.

(2) Storing data.
If the district keeps computerized records, changes will need to be made to the data base(s) to maintain all the ethnic/racial information on each student and/or employee.

(3) Re-identifying students and staff.
Although USDOE does not require this, ADE strongly encourages respondent to re-identify students and staff.

(4) Connecting the new data to past data.
ADE has established a committee to determine which method the state will use to 'bridge' the data from the list of options the federal government allows. This item only affects ADE unless item 2 applies to the district.


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