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ERIC Number: ED524400
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 297
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1244-3893-1
Exploring Respondent Issues in the Collection of Ethnic/Racial Demographics for College Students
Mrozek, Lawrence James
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, The Ohio State University
With the Department of Education's Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) requirements to report ethnicity and race in a specific manner, there has been discussion about the effectiveness of the terms that colleges and universities are required to use. Most of the research to support the category and option decisions by IPEDS were based in research in the general census and K-12 institutions. However, there was limited, if any, data from college students. Also, some higher education institutions have expressed an additional concern around the number of "unknown" students at the institution, which limits the ability to assess the campus climate and student population needs. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the terms currently used to assess demographics on a college campus; assess their relevance to the student population; and, if the terms currently being used are not reflective of the students. preferred identifications, develop a set of terms that would more accurately reflect the identity terms favored by college students. This study incorporated the use of a developed survey and qualitative responses regarding the issues being addressed. Student selections from the five ethnic categories of American Indian or Alaskan Native; Asian or Pacific Islander; Black, non-Hispanic; Hispanic; and White, non-Hispanic, along with the unknown students were used to compare enrollment data to the survey choices. Those responses were then compared to an open-ended question where the participants could list whatever terms with which they identified. Next, the participants were asked to evaluate several identifications specific to their IPEDS classification that were commonly used in society, and then comment on the process and the issues related to the collection of demographic information. When given the opportunity to self-identify in an open-ended response, less than half of the students reported an ethnic identity that was the same as the IPEDS categories, with some groups as low as 25%, with the exception of Hispanic. Students also reported the need to allow multiple selections, and Middle Eastern and Multiracial/Multiethnic categories. White or Caucasian students made up the majority of unknown students, which are those who did not select an identity on the school application. The issue over how the information would be used and who would have access to that information was one of the major concerns expressed by the students about the collection of ethnic identity demographics Implications for the profession include, addressing whether the information we gather has any real value, using consistent methods in collecting the information, allowing multiple selections and more than the minimum number of categories, and addressing the relevance of the multitude of identity theories. Future research should include mixed methods and multiple institutions to expand on the identity identification process and potential regional differences. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A