has become much more diverse and geographically dispersed. In the 1960s, the struggle for civil rights primarily was focused on segregation and other forms of discrimination against blacks— particularly in the South. By 2000, nearly 60 percent of the country’s minority population was Hispanic, Asian, and American Indian. Concerns about students’ civil rights had also expanded to include a broader range of issues, including equal learning opportunities for students with limited English capabilities, female students, and students with disabilities.

This report examines the continued relevance and adequacy of the E&S survey as a tool for enforcement of civil rights laws in education, for monitoring equality of access to learning opportunities, and for research of other current issues of educational policy and practice. It provides recommendations on how the survey’s design, data collection, and analysis can be improved to enhance the survey’s value.


In 2002, the OCR, with the support of the Office of English Language Acquisition, asked the National Academies to undertake a study to examine how the E&S survey could more effectively measure student access to learning opportunities and how the resulting data might be made more accessible and useful both to those concerned with the protection of students’ civil rights and to the conduct of research.

To this end, the National Academies’ Center for Education and Committee on National Statistics collaborated in the formation of the Committee on Improving Measures of Access to Equal Educational Opportunity to study the E&S survey and its uses. The committee’s charge was to

  • oversee an evaluation of the E&S survey to determine whether it can be used to

  • identify significant trends in the area of access to equal educational opportunity for all students and

  • inform the work of the OCR and the Department of Justice;

  • commission papers analyzing several issues covered by the survey, data permitting;

  • comment on how the E&S survey methodology can be improved and/or augmented to provide new data and enhance its analytical and evaluative potential; and

  • identify ways in which the E&S data can be linked with other datasets to provide a fuller context for analyzing issues related to

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