The Collection and Use of Student Data on Race, Ethnicity, and Ancestry

A framework to guide the collection and use of student data on race, ethnicity, and ancestry to support equity, diversity, and inclusion in BC public post-secondary institutions.

Report created by Dr. Victoria E. Diaz, Dr. Stephanie McKeown, and Dr. Camilo Pena. Prepared by the Planning and Institutional Research Office University of British Columbia in collaboration with DPM Research, for the British Columbia Council on Admissions and Transfer (BCCAT), EducationPlannerBC (EPBC), and the British Columbia Registrars Association (BCRA).

Infographic created by Elle Ting and Tu Bui. 

Published January 2023


This project reviews data collection practices regarding race, ethnicity and ancestry (REA) in post-secondary institutions (PSIs) in Canada, as well as in other relevant sectors (e.g., health, K-12 education, government agencies). The goal of the project was to identify promising practices and to develop recommendations to guide REA data collection initiatives both at the institutional and system level in BC post-secondary education.

The information was collected using systematic literature and documentary reviews of existing practices on data collection regarding REA, interviews with representatives from PSIs and other organizations, and focus groups with students and community representatives.

The framework for the collection and use of student demographic data, which was developed through the project work, offers a comprehensive approach to demographic data both at the institutional and system levels, considering the tools to be used, as well as appropriate processes to meet the objectives of the data collection. The report contains a discussion of key terms and definitions as well as examples of data collection questions used by other PSIs and organizations.