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

NCES 2012-001
May 2012

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 Education (BIE) schools (schools funded or operated by the BIE). 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 subsequent SASS administrations, 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 BIE schools. (See discussion on the School Library Media Centers Survey in "Library Statistics Program," above.)

The 2007–08 SASS estimates are based on a sample consisting of approximately 9,800 public schools, 2,940 private schools, and 180 BIE schools. The public school sample for the 2007–08 SASS was based on an adjusted public school universe file from the 2005–06 Common Core of Data (CCD), a database 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/English as a second language (ESL) teachers and other teachers.

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

The private school sample for the 2007–08 SASS was selected from the 2005–06 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 2007–08, the weighted response rate for the Public School District Questionnaire was 87.8 percent. Weighted response rates for the Public School Principal Questionnaire, the Private School Principal Questionnaire, and the BIE-funded School Principal Questionnaire were 79.4 percent, 72.2 percent, and 79.2 percent, respectively.

Weighted response rates in 2007–08 for the Public School Questionnaire, the Private School Questionnaire, and the BIE-funded School Questionnaire were 80.4 percent, 75.9 percent, and 77.1 percent, respectively. The weighted overall response rates were 84.0 percent for public school teachers, 77.5 percent for private school teachers, and 81.8 percent for BIE-funded school teachers.

The Data Analysis System at /surveys/sass/das.asp 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, Aspects of the Quality of Data in the Schools and Staffing Surveys (SASS) (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