The Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS) is a system of related questionnaires that provide descriptive data on the context of elementary and secondary education and policymakers a variety of statistics on the condition of education in the United States. The SASS system covers a wide range of topics from teacher demand, teacher and principal characteristics, general conditions in schools, principals' and teachers' perceptions of school climate and problems in their schools, teacher compensation, district hiring and retention practices, to basic characteristics of the student population.
From its inception, SASS has had four core components: the School Questionnaire, the Teacher Questionnaire, the Principal Questionnaire, and the School District Questionnaire, which was known as the Teacher Demand and Shortage Questionnaire until the 1999-2000 SASS administration. These questionnaires are sent to respondents in public, private, and Bureau of Indian Education/tribal schools. In 1999-2000, public charter schools were also included in the sample. For the 2003-04, 2007-08, and 2011-12 SASS, a sample of public charter schools are included in the sample as part of the public school questionnaire.
The main design objective of the school survey was to provide estimates of school characteristics by the following key analytical domains: the nation; elementary and secondary levels for all sectors; public schools with a population of at least 20 percent American Indian or Alaska Native students; Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) schools at the national level; public schools by school level, region, and state; and private schools by school level, region, and affiliation strata. Schools operated by the Department of Defense or those that offered only kindergarten or prekindergarten or adult education were excluded from the SASS sample. The SASS sample is a stratified probability proportional to size (PSS) sample. All schools, except BIE-funded schools, undergo multiple levels of stratification.
For each sampled school, all districts in the public sector, principals, and library media centers in the public and BIE-funded school sectors received questionnaires. The 2007-08 SASS sampled schools first, and then linked each school to its corresponding school district (or local education agency). To obtain a representative teacher sample, schools were more likely to be selected if there were a larger number of teachers within a given school, although schools of all sizes were sampled. Teachers within schools were then sampled at a rate of at least one and no more than 20 teachers per school, averaging between 3 and 8 teachers per school. The SASS sample design also sought to minimize selecting the same schools as other NCES school-based surveys.