Air Force Academy:

Gender and Racial Disparities

NSIAD-93-244: Published: Sep 24, 1993. Publicly Released: Oct 11, 1993.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the treatment of women and minorities at the Air Force Academy, focusing on: (1) differences in performance indicators between men and women and whites and minorities; (2) cadets' perceptions of the fairness of treatment that female and minority cadets receive; and (3) actions the Academy has taken to enhance the success of women and minorities at the Academy.

GAO found that: (1) performance indicators for male and female cadets show mixed results; (2) a majority of performance indicators show that whites do better than minorities; (3) cadets believe that women and minorities generally receive treatment equal to that of men and whites; (4) the Academy has taken a number of steps that should help women and minorities succeed at the Academy; (5) the Academy does not have a consolidated database to analyze changes in student performance indicators; (6) the Academy has not established criteria for determining when performance differences are significant; and (7) the Academy has not documented specific actions it has taken or plans to take to implement prior equal opportunity recommendations.

Status Legend:

More Info
  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Recommendations for Executive Action

    Recommendation: The Superintendent of the Air Force Academy should develop a relational database capability allowing routine analysis of key performance indicators.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force: United States Air Force Academy

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Air Force Academy is continuing on the final stages of merging three hierarchical databases into a cadet administrative management system, dealing with admissions, cadet data, and graduate information tracking with the capability to analyze performance indicators. Due to more urgent priorities, including Y2K testing and an OMB Circular A-76 study of contracting out the ADP function, work on the final integration has been delayed. Date for completion unknown.

    Recommendation: The Superintendent of the Air Force Academy should establish criteria for assessing when disparities warrant more in-depth attention and corrective action.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force: United States Air Force Academy

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Air Force Academy Center for Character Development conducts surveys on various human relations issues. On the basis of the survey results, the Office of Institutional Research will establish criteria to assess circumstances that may warrant additional attention and action. When any survey item or item comparison indicates a statistically significant difference among cadet subgroups (based on race, gender, etc.) at the 0.05 level, the item or issue is briefed to the Academy's Cadet Interaction Committee for appropriate action.

    Recommendation: The Superintendent of the Air Force Academy should prepare: (1) a plan of action and milestones document of track actions taken in response to problems revealed through studies or surveys; and (2) specific measures with which to assess the effectiveness of the Academy's actions over time.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force: United States Air Force Academy

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Air Force Academy combined institutional quality measures and assessment efforts into a single office, the Office of Quality and Assessment in 1994. That program provided a capability to track and document the effectiveness of the Academy's programs over time and to identify needed adjustments. Concurrently, the Center for Character Development was established to monitor and track human relations issues within the Cadet Wing.

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