The SSOCS is the primary source of school-level data on crime and safety for the United States Department of Education. It provides nationwide estimates of crime, discipline, disorder, programs, and policies in public schools. Data on crime, violence, and disorder in the nation's schools are collected to provide policymakers, parents, and educators with the information necessary to identify emerging problems and to gauge the safety of American schools.
SSOCS:2000 was conducted as a mail survey with telephone follow-up. Six months before the onset of data collection, NCES began working with the school districts of sample schools that required prior approval to participate in the survey. In late February 2004, advance letters were sent to school administrators of sample schools that included the date of the first questionnaire mailing and a toll-free number to call with any questions. Approximately one week later, SSOCS questionnaires were mailed to administrators with a cover letter describing the importance of the survey and a brochure providing additional information about it. On the same day the questionnaires were mailed to schools, letters were sent to sample district superintendents and the Chief State School Officer of each state to inform them that schools within their districts and states, respectively, had been selected to participate in SSOCS:2004. The letters included information about the survey and were accompanied by a copy of the questionnaire and brochure that were sent to schools. The letter was not designed to ask for permission from these officials to participate in the survey but rather was designed by NCES as a vehicle to enhance participation. Starting approximately one week after the first questionnaire mailing, follow-up telephone prompts were used to verify that the questionnaire was received and to encourage survey response. As an alternative to replying by mail, data were also accepted by fax submission and over the telephone. Data collection ended on June 4, 2004. Returned questionnaires were examined for quality and completeness using both manual and computerized edits. Out of 227 items on the questionnaire, 101 were identified as key (critical) items. If the survey had more than 40 percent of all items missing or more than 20 percent of critical items missing, the respondent was recontacted to resolve issues related to the missing data. In cases where the recontacts failed to produce a satisfactory resolution, imputation was used to resolve data quality issues for questionnaires that had at least 60 percent of all items and 80 percent of critical items completed. Schools whose questionnaires did not meet the 60/80 criterion and for which recontact was not successful were reclassified as nonrespondents.
The sampling frame for SSOCS:2000 was constructed from the public school universe file created for the 2000 Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS). However, only the approximately 81,000 regular schools (excluding schools in the outlying United States territories, ungraded schools, and those with a high grade of kindergarten or lower) in the 1997-1998 NCES Common Core of Data (CCD) Public School Universe File within the SASS frame were eligible for the study. The SASS frame was derived primarily from the 1997-1998 CCD, which includes charter schools. These CCD schools, including charter schools, were included in the SSOCS:2000 study. (The SASS frame also includes a supplement made up of additional charter schools as well as a small number of Bureau of Indian Affairs and Department of Defense schools not represented in the 1997-1998 CCD file. Schools from this supplement were not included in the SSOCS:2000 study.)
All public elementary and secondary schools and school
districts in the United States excluding schools in the outlying
United States territories, ungraded schools, and those with a high
grade of kindergarten or lower.
mail survey with telephone followup
Unweighted response rate: 68 percent Weighted response rate: 70 percent