The School Crime Supplement is sponsored by the National Center for Education Statistics and administered to persons 12-18 years of age who reside in households sampled for the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). New questions were added to the supplement for the 2001 survey, and the Center for Survey Methods Research was asked to pretest the supplement. This report documents findings of cognitive interviews that were conducted with this questionnaire.
The results showed that the most serious problems occurred in the questions about hate behaviors and the drug questions. Respondents interpreted the concept of hate behaviors much too broadly. They seemed to fixate on the term “derogatory or bad name” and as a result they included any curse words or bad words that would make someone feel bad. This resulted in large-scale overreporting of this activity. Respondents were unfamiliar with some of the terms used to identify categories of drugs. Yet they reported familiarity with many of the slang names for these classes of drugs. Respondents also reported that illegally-obtained prescription drugs (Ritalin, Adderall, antidepressants) were available to them and these are not included on the questionnaire. This report contains recommendations to address these problems and others that we identified through our interviews.