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

Appendix B. Methodology and Technical Notes—Reliability of Data

SASS estimates are based on samples. The sample estimates may differ somewhat from the values that would be obtained from the universe of respondents using the same questionnaire, instructions, and field representatives. The difference occurs because a sample survey estimate is subject to two types of errors: nonsampling and sampling. Estimates of the magnitude of sampling error for SASS data can be derived or calculated. Nonsampling errors are attributed to many sources, including definitional difficulties, the inability or unwillingness of respondents to provide correct information, differences in the interpretation of questions, an inability to recall information, errors made in collection (e.g., in recording or coding the data), errors made in processing the data, and errors made in estimating values for missing data. Quality control and edit procedures were used to reduce errors made by respondents, coders, and interviewers.