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Ancestry/Ethnic Origins

Ancestry/Ethnic Origins: WISEdata

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The Ancestry/Ethnic Origins data element describes racial or ethnic subgroups that a student belongs to. This data element captures more specific information than the Race/Ethnicity data element so that schools and districts can better target programs to support students from marginalized groups.

The available options for this data element depend on the data entered in the Race/Ethnicity data element. See below for a list of available options for each ethnicity.

For students whose race is identified as American Indian or Alaska Native, refer to the Tribal Affiliation data element.

This data element is not required for public or Choice schools but is highly recommended.

Ethnicity Ancestry/Ethnic Origins Options
Hispanic or Latino Colombian
Puerto Rican
Decline to indicate
Asian Burmese
Decline to indicate
Black or African-American African-American
Decline to indicate

USES: Racial and ethnic origin data can be used by school districts and DPI to develop, test, and demonstrate the effectiveness of services and programs to improve education achievements of students from specific racial or ethnic backgrounds.


FAQs, Details, and Points to Note

Not required for public or Choice schools but highly recommended.

  1. Is race required? Reporting student race is required to attain a WISEid for the WISEdata student reporting collection. The race information DPI is required to collect data on are: American Indian – Alaskan Native, Asian, Black – African American, Native Hawaiian – Pacific Islander, White. For more information see the Race and Ethnicity data element page.
  2. Is ethnic origins data required? No, this is a voluntary data collection, but is strongly recommended. A student can still report their race and not be required to report their ethnic origin. As with race and tribal affiliation, families may have significant concerns related to questions about their race, ethnicity, and ancestry. The LEA’s responsibility is to be supportive to families during this conversation.
  3. Why is DPI collecting student ethnic origin data from Local Educational Agencies (LEAs)?  To allow the state and LEAs to better understand the ethnicity of our student population in Wisconsin schools. To respond to requests made by several ethnicity-based community organizations in Wisconsin. To better support LEAs in partnering with local government and organizations in data collection and use. To help Wisconsin LEAs better understand the ethnicity of the student population in their schools. To help community-based organizations and local government and LEAs located within a certain geographic area to better develop useful, pertinent, and supportive partnerships. This data gives visibility to identify the target supports and address the resources for the students that are in most need. Identifying ancestry/ethnic origin data brings the necessary data to plan and implement culturally responsive teaching.
  4. What type of proof can a district be shown/look up to verify? LEAs cannot require families to provide “proof.” The LEA responsibility is to enter the data provided by the families.
  5. What if Parents refuse to identify their ethnic origins? If the family or student does not identify an ancestry or ethnic origin, it should not be reported.
  6. Are grants or funds connected to reporting this data in WISEdata? No, this data element is not currently reported by DPI to the US Department of Education. Currently there are no direct grants or funds connected to this data element. Some LEAs use this data collection for grant opportunities through local, state, and national organizations.
  7. How does this data element interact with the Tribal Affiliations data element? While the Ancestry/Ethnic Origins is a separate data collection from the Tribal Affiliations, at the local level, LEAs only enter tribal affiliation once for students who identify, in whole or in part, as American Indian/Native American from U.S. tribes.
  8. Why are we only collecting ancestry/ethnic origin data for Hispanic, Black or African-American, and Asian? These are the racial categories for which DPI is most often asked for further breakdown information by community organizations.  In addition, these are the ancestry/ethnic origin categories that receive the most attention in educational research and evaluation.


See also:

Tribal Affiliation data element page

Race & Ethnicity Identification Collection

Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction Race/Ethnicity Crosswalk

Individual level collections with automated file upload/download processes will use the individual race key for submitting data to DPI. Aggregate level collections and public reporting will use the Aggregate Reporting Category.

View the crosswalk document for race/ethnicity reporting help.


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