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School and Staffing Survey (SASS)


SASS is the largest, most extensive survey of school districts, schools, principals, teachers, and library media centers in the United States today. It includes data from the public, private, and BIE school sectors. Moreover, SASS is the only survey that studies the complete universe of public charter schools. Therefore, SASS provides a multitude of opportunities for analysis and reporting on issues related to elementary and secondary schools.

SASS data have been collected seven times between 1987 and 2011. Many questions have been asked of respondents at multiple time points, allowing researchers to examine trends on these topics over time. SASS asks similar questions of respondents across sectors, including public, public charter, BIE, and private schools. The consistency of questions across sectors and the large sample sizes allow for exploration of similarities and differences across sectors.

SASS data are representative at the state level for public school respondents and at the private school affiliation level for private school respondents. Thus, SASS is invaluable for analysts interested in elementary, middle, and secondary schools within or across specific states or private school affiliations. The large SASS sample sizes allow extensive disaggregation of data according to the characteristics of teachers, administrators, schools, and school districts. For example, researchers can compare urban and rural settings and the working conditions of teachers and administrators of differing demographic backgrounds.

SASS collects extensive data on teachers, principals, schools, and school districts. Information on teachers includes their qualifications, early teaching experience, teaching assignments, professional development, and attitudes about the school. The SASS School Principal Questionnaire collects information about principals' or school heads' years of experience and training, goals and decision making, professional development for teachers and instructional aides, school climate and safety, student instructional time, principal perceptions and working conditions, and demographic information. Questions about schools include enrollment, staffing, the types of programs and services offered, school leadership, parental involvement, and school climate. At the district level, information is sought on the recruitment and hiring of teachers, professional development programs, student services, and other relevant topics.

SASS data can be very useful for researchers performing their own focused studies on smaller populations of teachers, administrators, schools, or school districts. SASS can supply data at the state, affiliation, or national level that provide valuable contextual information for localized studies; localized studies can provide illustrations of broad findings produced by SASS.

Users of restricted-use SASS data can link school districts and schools to other data sources. For instance, 2007–08 SASS restricted-use datasets include selected information taken from the CCD, but researchers can augment the datasets by adding more data from the CCD—either fiscal or nonfiscal data.