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Characteristics of Public School Districts in the United States:
NCES 2009-320
June 2009

Appendix B. Methodology and Technical Notes—Data Collection Procedures

Before the administration of the 2007–08 SASS, several changes were made in the survey sample design, questionnaire content, procedures, and methodology. For details on these changes, see the Documentation for the 2007–08 Schools and Staffing Survey (Tourkin et al. forthcoming).

In 2007–08, SASS employed a mail-based survey approach, with subsequent telephone and field follow-up. In preparation for data collection, advance letters were mailed to the sampled schools in September 2007 to verify their addresses. School packages were mailed at the beginning of the school year.5 Next, schools were telephoned using a computer-assisted telephone-interviewing (CATI) instrument to verify school information, establish a survey coordinator (who became the main contact person at the school for subsequent communication), and follow up on the Teacher Listing Form. Teacher questionnaires were mailed to schools on a flow basis as teachers were sampled on an ongoing basis from the data provided on the Teacher Listing Form. The field follow-up period was preceded by phone calls from the telephone centers to remind the survey coordinator to have staff complete and return all forms. Individual survey respondents (principal, librarian, and teachers) were also called from the telephone centers and asked to complete the questionnaire by phone. Data collection ended in June 2008.


5 The SASS school package contained a cover letter to the principal, a cover letter to the survey coordinator, the Teacher Listing Form, the Public School Principal Questionnaire/Private School Principal Questionnaire, the Public School Questionnaire/Public School Questionnaire (With District Items)/Private School Questionnaire, the School Library Media Center Questionnaire (for public and BIE-funded schools only), postage-paid return envelopes, an NCES pamphlet detailing general information about SASS, an NCES brochure detailing some of the findings from the 2003–04 SASS, and the Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2007 CD.

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