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K-State Research and Extension
123 Umberger Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506-3401

June 29, 2021

Tools for Counting Educational Contacts

Submitted by Jennifer Wilson

The collection of demographic data from program participants is an important and mandated aspect of all K-State Research and Extension programming efforts. USDA’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Equal Opportunity unit has communicated that collecting race, ethnicity, and gender (REG) data via visual observation is no longer an acceptable collection method. The data must be reported from participants and/or partnering organizations and collected by extension staff. As our system moves toward changes, it is important for KSRE staff to put plans in place to collect this data from program participants. The KSRE Program Participant Data Collection Form is the preferred tool for staff to use in collecting this information. It has been formulated to collect the data in a way that mirrors the Program Activity Module in PEARS.  

The KSRE Program Participant Data Collection Form can be distributed to program participants on paper or electronically during an educational event. You may collect this information at any time during the program, although research suggests that collecting the information in the middle of the program results in the best participation. Each program participant should be offered a form. Refrain from collecting this information via sign-in sheet or pass-around form to protect participants’ privacy. You may ask participants to provide the information by completing an anonymous electronic poll during your meeting or event. Ideally, this would be done through a stand-alone poll, but when it makes sense, the required demographic information can be asked as part of program evaluations. 

Program participant REG data can be collected through paper or electronic registrations as well. However, staff should cross reference registration and actual program attendance data to know who may not have provided the information at registration and who may have provided the information but didn’t actually attend the program. REG data should only be reported for actual program participants. Any time REG data is collected electronically, be sure to collect the data exactly as prescribed in the KSRE Program Participant Data Collection Form as this is the way it will need to be reported in PEARS. Those who would like to learn more about using Qualtrics to collect online registrations and more, tune into the July 16 Every Third Friday session where, Michelle Hennes, Central Kansas District; and Andrea Hilyard, Southwind District; will share their tips and tricks. 

REG data should be collected for both adult and youth programs. Youth between the ages of 13-17 may fill out the demographic data collection form. In the case of programs or activities involving participants who are younger than 13, legal guardians should be asked to provide the REG data. It is suggested that you collect REG data at time of registration for youth programs. If the program is delivered in a school setting, it is appropriate to ask the teacher for REG data for their classroom. More information about reporting youth contacts can be found in the ES-237 Overview. Questions can be directed to Terry Roberts, teresaroberts@ksu.edu.

As a reminder, providing the REG data is voluntary on the part of the program participant, but KSRE is obligated to ask for the information. The KSRE Client Contact Reporting fact sheet provides an overview of the new reporting requirements and contains a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions as well as a sample script to help staff get in the practice of collecting the data from participants. If you have questions, contact Jennifer Wilson, jrwilson@ksu.edu; or Laurie Chandler, lchandle@ksu.edu