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Digest of Education Statistics: 2011
Digest of Education Statistics: 2011

NCES 2012-001
May 2012

Appendix A.2. School Survey on Crime and Safety

The most recent School Survey on Crime and Safety (SSOCS) for which data are available was conducted by NCES in spring/summer of the 2007–08 school year. SSOCS focuses on incidents of specific crimes/offenses and a variety of specific discipline issues in public schools. It also covers characteristics of school policies, school violence prevention programs and policies, and school characteristics that have been associated with school crime. The survey was conducted with a nationally representative sample of regular public elementary, middle, and high schools in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Special education, alternative, and vocational schools; schools in the other jurisdictions; and schools that taught only prekindergarten, kindergarten, or adult education were not included in the sample.

The sampling frame for the 2008 SSOCS was constructed from the public school universe file created for the 2007–08 Schools and Staffing Survey, which was derived from the 2005–06 Common Core of Data (CCD) Public Elementary/Secondary School Universe File. The sample was stratified by instructional level, type of locale (urbanicity), and enrollment size. The sample of schools in each instructional level was allocated to each of the 16 cells formed by the cross-classification of the four categories of enrollment size and four types of locale. The sample was allocated to each subgroup in proportion to the sum of the square roots of the total student enrollment in each school in that stratum. The effective sample size within each stratum was then inflated to account for nonresponse. Once the final sample sizes were determined for each of the 64 strata, the subgroups were sorted by region and racial/ethnic composition of enrollment, and an initial sample of 3,480 schools was selected. Of those schools, 2,560 completed the survey. In February 2008, questionnaires were mailed to school principals, who were asked to complete the survey or to have it completed by the person at the school most knowledgeable about discipline issues. The weighted overall response rate was 77.2 percent, and item nonresponse rates ranged from 0 to 28.0 percent. A nonresponse bias analysis was conducted on the 13 items with weighted item nonresponse rates greater than 15 percent, and it was determined that the increased potential for bias in these items was not enough to warrant their exclusion from the data file. Weights were developed to adjust for the variable probabilities of selection and differential nonresponse and can be used to produce national estimates for regular public schools in the 2007–08 school year.

For more information about the SSOCS, contact

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