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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

Appendix B. Methodology and Technical Notes—Overview of the Schools and Staffing Survey

The Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS) is sponsored by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) of the Institute of Education Sciences within the U.S. Department of Education and is conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. 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. SASS has been conducted six times: in school years 1987–88, 1990–91, 1993–94, 1999–2000, 2003–04, and 2007–08.

The 2007–08 SASS consisted of questionnaires for five types of respondents: school districts (public), schools (public, private, BIE), principals (public, private, BIE), teachers (public, private, BIE), and school library media centers (public and BIE). Modified versions of the public principal, public school, and public teacher questionnaires that incorporated wording and questions appropriate for private school settings were sent to private schools. BIE and charter schools and schools in single-school districts received a modified public school questionnaire that included both district and school items. BIE principals, teachers, and library media centers received the same questionnaires as public principals, public teachers, and public school library media centers. The Private School Questionnaire also incorporated the Private School Universe Survey (PSS) items that were collected at the same time as SASS in 2007–08.2 Information from all the surveys can be linked. For the content of the questionnaires, please see SASS website. Appendix C of this report provides information about how the SASS data files used to produce this report were created.

SASS was designed to produce national, regional, and state estimates for public elementary and secondary schools, teachers, principals, school districts, and school library media centers; national and regional estimates for public charter and BIE schools, teachers, principals, and school library media centers; and national, regional, and affiliation estimates for private schools, teachers, and principals. Comparisons between public and private schools and their principals and teachers are possible only at the regional and national levels, because private schools were selected for sampling by affiliation strata and region rather than by state.

The teacher survey was designed to support comparisons between new and experienced teachers (3 years or less of experience vs. more than 3 years of experience) at the state level for public school teachers and at the regional or affiliation level for private school teachers.

This appendix includes information on all components of SASS. For additional information on the specific SASS-related topics discussed in this appendix, consult the Documentation for the 2007–08 Schools and Staffing Survey (Tourkin et al. forthcoming). To access additional general information on SASS or for electronic copies of the questionnaires, go to the SASS home page.


1 Public schools include traditional public and charter schools.
2 The 2007–08 school year was a survey year for both SASS and PSS. The PSS is administered by NCES every 2 years to all private K–12 schools in the United States. The SASS Private School Questionnaire includes all of the PSS questions so that private schools selected for SASS would not be asked to complete two separate questionnaires.