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OCR: Office for Civil Rights
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Dear Colleague Letter

OFFICE OF THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY



Page 9

Under Part Three, OCR evaluates the overall weight it will accord the conclusions drawn by an institution from the results of a survey by examining the following factors, among others:

  • content of the survey;
  • target population surveyed;
  • response rates and treatment of non-responses;
  • confidentiality protections; and
  • frequency of conducting the survey.

OCR also considers whether a survey is implemented in such a way as to maximize the possibility of obtaining accurate information and facilitating responses. A properly designed survey should effectively capture information on interest and ability19 across multiple sports, without complicating responses with superfluous or confusing questions.

OCR has not endorsed or sanctioned any particular survey; however, for technical assistance purposes, this letter contains information that an institution may wish to consider in developing its own survey.

  1. Content of the Survey

    1. Purpose

To ensure students understand the importance of responding to the survey, OCR evaluates whether a survey clearly states its purpose. For technical assistance purposes, an example of a purpose statement might be:

Purpose: This data collection is being conducted for evaluation, research, and planning purposes and may be used along with other information to determine whether [Institution] is effectively accommodating the athletic interests and abilities of its students, including whether to add additional teams.

  1. Collect information regarding all sports

In addition, OCR evaluates whether the survey lists all sports for the underrepresented sex recognized by the three primary national intercollegiate athletic associations, 20 and contains an open-ended inquiry for other sports to allow students to write in any sports that are not

19 Experience in sports generally is one indicator of ability.

20 These associations are the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, and the National Junior College Athletic Association. A current list of these sports for both sexes is: baseball, basketball, bowling, cross country, fencing, field hockey, football, golf, gymnastics, ice hockey, lacrosse, rifle, rowing, skiing, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, indoor track and field, outdoor track and field, volleyball, water polo, and wrestling.


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Last Modified: 04/20/2010