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E.D. TAB: Advanced Telecommunications in U.S. Public Elementary and Secondary Schools, 1995
NCES: 96854
March 1996

Appendix D— Survey Methodology and Data Reliability

Sample Selection

The sampling frame for the FRSS Survey on Advanced Telecommunications in U.S. Public Schools, K-12 was the 1992-93 list of public schools compiled by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). This complete file contains about 85,000 school listings and is part of the NCES Common Core of Data (CCD) School Universe. This frame includes 58,273 regular elementary schools, 20,240 secondary or combined schools in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. All regular elementary, middle, and secondary schools in the 50 states and the District of Columbia were included in the sampling frame. Special education, vocational, and alternative/other ungraded schools, schools in the outlying territories, and schools with the highest grade level below 1st grade were excluded from the frame prior to sampling. With these exclusions, the final sampling frame consisted of approximately 78,513 eligible schools.

The sample was stratified by instructional level (elementary, secondary, combined) and by geographic region (northeast, southeast, central, and west). Within each of the major strata, schools were sorted by metropolitan status (city, urban fringe, town, rural), size of enrollment (less than 300, 300 to 499, 500 to 999, 1,000 to 1,499, 1,500 or more), and percent minority enrollment (less than 5 percent, 5 to 19.9 percent, 20 to 49.9 percent, 50 percent or more). The allocation of the sample to the major strata was made in a manner that was expected to be reasonably efficient for national estimates, as well as for estimates for major subclasses.

Response Rates

In October 1995, survey instruments (see appendix G) were mailed to 1,000 public school principals. Principals were asked to forward the questionnaire to the computer or technology coordinator or to whoever was most knowledgeable about the availability and use of advanced telecommunications at the school. The accompanying instructions requested that the school complete the survey form and return it by mail. Telephone follow-up was conducted with schools that did not complete the survey by mail. Six schools were found to be out of the scope of the study (because of closings), leaving 994 eligible schools in the sample. Data collection was completed in December. The survey response rate was 92.2 percent (917 schools divided by the 994 eligible schools in the sample). The weighted response rate was 92.1 percent.

Comparative statements for 1994 and 1995 represent comparisons with the results of a national survey of 1,339 public schools participating in the 1994 Survey of Advanced Telecommunications in U.S. Public Schools, K-12. In October 1994, survey instruments were mailed to 1,502 public school principals to be passed on to computer or technology coordinators. Unlike the current survey, however, all data were collected by telephone.

This report was reviewed by the following individuals:

Outside NCES

    • Oona Cheung, Council of Chief State School Officers

Inside NCES

    • Michael Cohen, Statistical Standards and Methodology Division
    • William Freund, Postsecondary Education Statistics Division
    • Kerry Gruber, Elementary/Secondary Education Statistics Division
    • Frank Johnson, Elementary/Secondary Education Statistics Division
    • Marilyn McMillen, Elementary/Secondary Education Statistics Division

For more information about the Fast Response Survey System or the Survey of Advanced Telecommunications in U.S. Public Schools, K-12, contact Judi Carpenter, Elementary/Secondary Education Statistics Division, Office of Educational Research and Improvement, National Center for Education Statistics at