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Characteristics of Public, Private, and Bureau of Indian Education Elementary and Secondary School Principals in the United States:
NCES 2009-323
June 2009

Introduction

This report presents selected findings from the school principal data files of the 2007–08 Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS). SASS is a nationally representative sample survey of public,1 private, and Bureau of Indian Education-funded (BIE) K–12 schools, principals, and teachers in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. School districts associated with public schools and library media centers in public and BIE schools are also part of SASS. Developed by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) of the Institute of Education Sciences within the U.S. Department of Education and conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, SASS was first conducted in school year 1987–88. Since then, SASS has been conducted five times: in school years 1990–91, 1993–94, 1999–2000, 2003–04, and, most recently, 2007–08.

The purpose of SASS is to collect information that can provide a detailed picture of U.S. elementary and secondary schools and their staff. This information is collected through the following surveys: district, school, principal, teacher, and library media center. Information from all the surveys can be linked. For more information about surveys and data files see appendix C. The SASS questionnaires can be found at SASS website.

The 2007–08 SASS sample is a school-based stratified probability-proportionate-to-size (PPS) sample. The 2005–06 Common Core of Data (CCD) served as a starting point for the public school sampling frame, and the 2005–06 Private School Universe Survey (PSS) served as a starting point for the private school sampling frame. The public school sample was designed so that national-, regional-, and state-level elementary, secondary, and combined2 public school estimates can be made. The private school sample was designed so that national-, regional-, and affiliation-level estimates can be produced. BIE schools on the 2005–06 CCD were sampled with certainty, and thus national estimates for BIE schools can be produced. Because SASS is a school-based sample, districts, principals, and library media centers associated with public schools were included, as were principals and library media centers associated with BIE schools and principals associated with private schools. Teachers associated with selected schools were sampled from a teacher list provided by each school. The selected samples include about 9,800 public schools, 180 BIE schools, and 2,940 private schools; 5,250 public school districts; 9,800 public school principals, 180 BIE school principals, and 2,940 private school principals; 47,440 public school teachers, 750 BIE teachers, and 8,180 private school teachers; and 9,800 public school library media centers and 180 BIE school library media centers.

The data were collected via mailed questionnaires with telephone and field follow-up. The first questionnaires were mailed in September 2007, and data collection ended in June 2008. The unit response rates varied from 72 percent for private school principals to 88 percent for public school districts (appendix table B-1 shows the unit and overall response rates for each survey). Nonresponse bias analyses were performed when survey response rates for major reporting groups were less than 85 percent. For information about bias analysis results, methodology, and design of the 2007–08 SASS, please see the technical notes of this report in appendix B and the Documentation for the 2007–08 Schools and Staffing Survey (Tourkin et al. forthcoming).

Because the purpose of First Look reports is to introduce new data, it is possible to only include a small selection of the information in the survey. This First Look report highlights findings from SASS's public and private principal surveys. Findings from the district, school, teacher, and library media center data files will be presented in four companion First Look reports:

  • Characteristics of Public School Districts in the United States: Results From the 2007–08 Schools and Staffing Survey (NCES 2009–320)

  • Characteristics of Public, Private, and Bureau of Indian Education Elementary and Secondary Schools in the United States: Results From the 2007–08 Schools and Staffing Survey (NCES 2009–321)

  • Characteristics of Public, Private, and Bureau of Indian Education Elementary and Secondary School Teachers in the United States: Results From the 2007–08 Schools and Staffing Survey (NCES 2009–324)

  • Characteristics of Public and Bureau of Indian Education Elementary and Secondary School Library Media Centers in the United States: Results From the 2007–08 Schools and Staffing Survey (NCES 2009–322)

The tables in this report contain counts and percentages demonstrating bivariate relationships between variables. All of the results have been weighted to reflect the sample design and to account for nonresponse and other adjustments. Comparisons drawn in the selected findings have been tested for statistical significance at the .05 level using Student's t statistics to ensure that the differences are larger than those that might be expected due to sampling variation. No adjustments were made for multiple comparisons. Many of the variables are related to one another, and complex interactions and relationships have not been explored. Statistical Analysis Software (SAS) (9.1) and SUDAAN (10.0) were used to compute the statistics for this report.

More information about the SASS can be found at SASS home page.

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1 Public schools include traditional public and charter schools.
2 A combined school or combined grade school has one or more of grades K–6 and one or more of grades 9– 12; for example, schools with grades K–12, 6–12, 6–9, or 1–12 were classified as having combined grades. Schools in which all students are ungraded (i.e., not classified by standard grade levels) are also classified as combined.

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