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Digest of Education Statistics: 2007
Digest of Education Statistics: 2007

NCES 2008-022
March 2008

Appendix A.2. Schools and Staffing Survey

The Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS) is a set of linked questionnaires used to collect data on the nation's public and private elementary and secondary teaching force, characteristics of schools and school principals, demand for teachers, and school/school district policies. SASS data are collected through a mail questionnaire with telephone follow-up. SASS was first conducted for NCES by the Census Bureau during the 1987–88 school year. SASS subsequently was conducted in 1990–91, 1993–94, 1999–2000, 2003–04, and 2007–08. The 1990–91, 1993–94, 1999–2000, 2003–04, and 2007–08 SASS also obtained data on Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) schools (schools funded or operated by the BIA). The universe of charter schools in operation in 1998–99 was given the Charter School Questionnaire to complete as part of the 1999–2000 SASS. In the 2003–04 SASS administration, charter schools were not administered a separate questionnaire, but were included in the public school sample. Another change in the 2003–04 administration included a revised data collection methodology using a primary in-person contact with the school with the aim of reducing the field follow-up phase. Also, school library media centers were surveyed only in the public and BIA schools. (See discussion on the School Library Media Centers Survey in "Library Statistics Program," above.)

The 2003–04 SASS estimates are based on a sample consisting of approximately 8,000 public schools, 2,500 private schools, and 145 BIA schools. The public school sample for the 2003–04 SASS was based on an adjusted public school universe file from the 2001–02 school year Common Core of Data (CCD), the compilation of all the nation's public school districts and public schools. The sampling frame includes regular public schools, Department of Defense-operated military base schools in the United States, and other schools, such as special education, vocational, and alternative schools. SASS is designed to provide national estimates for public and private school characteristics and state estimates for school districts, public schools, principals, and teachers. In addition, the teacher survey is designed to allow comparisons between new and experienced teachers and between bilingual/ESL teachers and other teachers.

The BIA sample consisted of all BIA schools that met the SASS definition of a school.

The private school sample for the 2003–04 SASS was selected from the 2001–02 Private School Universe Survey, supplemented with updates from state lists collected by the Census Bureau and lists by private school associations and religious denominations. Private school estimates are available at the national level and by private school affiliation.

In 2003–04, the weighted response rate for the School District Questionnaire was 82.9 percent. Weighted response rates for the Public School Principal Questionnaire, the Private School Principal Questionnaire, and the BIA-funded School Principal Questionnaire were 82.2 percent, 74.9 percent, and 90.7 percent, respectively.

Weighted response rates in 2003–04 for the Public School Questionnaire, the Private School Questionnaire, and the BIA-funded School Questionnaire were 80.8 percent, 75.9 percent, and 89.5 percent, respectively. The weighted overall response rates were 84.8 percent for public school teachers, 82.4 percent for private school teachers, and 92.0 percent for BIA-funded school teachers.

The Data Analysis System at may be used to access public school, public teacher, private school, and private teacher public-use data. There is also a methodology report on SASS, the Quality Profile for SASS, Rounds 1–3: 1987–1995 (NCES 2000-308).

Further information on SASS may be obtained from

Kerry Gruber
Elementary/Secondary and Libraries Studies Division
Elementary/Secondary Sample Survey Studies Program
National Center for Education Statistics
1990 K Street NW
Washington, DC 20006