Reporting Data by Race/Ethnicity: Examples from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

Reporting Data by Race/Ethnicity:  Examples from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)


Slide 1: I am Lauren Musu-Gillette, a statistician
at the National Center for Education Statistics, or NCES. During this webinar segment I will discuss
the current ways in which NCES collects racial and ethnic data. Then, I will provide examples from a few of
our key reports that show some of the ways we present the data by race and ethnicity. These reports are widely used by researchers
and policy makers interested in the progress of education in the United States. Slide 2: NCES collects data on 7 major racial
and ethnic categories. The race and ethnicity groupings are designed
to be mutually exclusive in all of our published materials. That is, there is no overlap in the individuals
placed in any of these categories. For example, someone who reports as a White
Hispanic would only be included and reported in the Hispanic group. Sometimes, groups are combined due to small
sample sizes, or to present time series data. For example, separate data on Pacific Islanders
were not often collected prior to the early 2000s. Therefore, when we present long-terms trends
on certain educational outcomes, Asians and Pacific Islanders are combined into one group
to reflect the fact that these groups were collected together in the older data. In addition, sample size issues or other limitations
of the data may require that different categories be presented as a combined group. Recently, we’ve begun reporting some data
on Asian and Hispanic subgroups from the American Community Survey due to interest in examining
variability within these groups. NCES will continue to explore options for
presenting better data by race and ethnicity to meet the needs of the public while maintaining
high statistical standards. Slide 3: One of the primary NCES sources for
data by race and ethnicity on a wide variety of education topics is the Digest of Education
Statistics. This report contains over 600 tables, many
with racial and ethnic breakouts. While a full PDF of the report is released
every year, the website is the best resource for the most up-to-date versions of the tables. Slide 4: Here is an example of a Digest table
that shows student enrollment in public schools by race and ethnicity over time. You’ll notice that the Asian and Pacific
Islander categories are combined here in order to have a consistent time series with the
older data. Data on students of two or more races were
not collected in this data source until 2008, as shown by the missing data for this group
in earlier years. These data highlight the growing diversity
of our population, as White students become a minority of the students enrolled in public
school beginning in 2014. Slide 5: This Digest table presents data on
the percentage of children living in poverty for Hispanic subgroups. It also provides information on the breakouts
by family structure for these subgroups. However, you’ll notice that some of the
data are suppressed due to small sample sizes. Slide 6: The Condition of Education is a congressionally
mandated report that is provided to the White House and Congress every year. This report summarizes important developments
and trends from early childhood through postsecondary education, as well as presents education-related
data for the broader U.S. population. Slide 7: This figure from the Condition of
Education shows the percentage of 25- to 29-years-olds with a bachelor’s or higher degree by race
and ethnicity. You’ll notice that the Asian and Pacific
Islander groups are also combined here in order to show the trend back to 1995. Generally, all groups are making gains, but
attainment for the combined Asian and Pacific Islander group remains consistently higher
than attainment for other racial and ethnic groups. The attainment for American Indian and Alaska
Natives shows more variability over time than that for most other groups. This is due in part to the small sample sizes
for this group leading to a larger margin of error in the estimates. Slide 8: In this figure, showing the 2014
percentage distribution of undergraduate enrollment by race and ethnicity, you’ll notice that
the Asian and Pacific Islander groups are presented separately for this more recent
data collection. We see here that there is quite a bit of variability
by race and ethnicity in the types of institutions in which students enroll. Slide 9: Our annual report, Indicators of
School Crime and Safety, contains 23 indicators covering a wide range of topics related to
school crime and safety in the United States. Many of these indicators present differences
by students’ race and ethnicity. Slide 10: This figure from the Indicators
of School Crime and Safety report shows that a greater percentage of American Indian and
Alaska Native students reported that they were threatened or injured with a weapon compared
to students of other racial and ethnic groups. The note on the Pacific Islander bar indicates
that data for this group should be interpreted with caution due to larger amounts of error,
likely due to a small sample size. Slide 11: Finally, the report on Status and
Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Groups is the major publication where NCES
reports educational data for students of different races and ethnicities. To the extent possible, this report attempts
to give a more nuanced picture of differences by race and ethnicity by presenting this data
in combination with other demographic characteristics, such as gender or age. Additionally, this report presents data on
Hispanic and Asian subgroups for a number of the indicators. Slide 12: Here is a good example of a more
complex analysis, where data are split by both race and ethnicity as well as poverty
status. We can see there is more variability by race
and ethnicity in the types of care arrangements for children from poor families than those
from nonpoor families. Slide 13: The data presented in this figure
are broken out by both race and ethnicity and gender. While the figure shows that there is a gender
gap in the percentage of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (or STEM) degrees awarded
across all groups, this gap is larger for some racial and ethnic groups compared to
others. Slide 14: This figure shows the percentage
of 18- to 24-year-olds enrolled in college for Asian subgroups. You can see a lot of variability across the
subgroups, showing that it’s important to consider differences within racial and ethnic
groups as well as between them. Due to limitations of sample sizes, this level
of detail is only available from a very limited number of Federal surveys. Slide 15: I’ve presented information on
how NCES currently classifies racial and ethnic groups and provided examples from some of
our major reports. All of our reports are available on the NCES
website. Accurately measuring data by race and ethnicity
is an important component of the work that NCES does. Practitioners and policy makers need to know
how different students are performing in order to make informed decisions about the best
ways to support education for our nation’s students. NCES continues to address challenges posed
by changing demographics and evolving policy needs with respect to race and ethnicity data,
while at the same time ensuring that survey procedures and analytic designs meet high
statistical standards.

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