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Pretesting of the 2009 School Crime Supplement: Final Results and Recommendations

Jennifer Beck

KEY WORDS: pretesting, cognitive interviews, school crime


Staff from the Census Bureau’s Statistical Research Division conducted pretesting research on the sponsor-proposed changes to the 2009 School Crime Supplement (SCS) of the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). The supplement collects information on the occurrence of certain kinds of crime, as well as the general school environment. This report documents the results of both rounds of cognitive interviews. The sponsors made changes to the questions about participation in school activities, the presence of friends and teachers with whom students can talk, the availability of drugs, the avoidance of certain school locations, and weapons at school. The sponsors also added a question about anonymously reporting of school threats and expanded the question on internet bullying. We tested the changes and the new question across two different rounds of cognitive interviews. Overall, the changes were not problematic. Respondents had little difficulty with the altered questions. However, respondents had some trouble with questions that did not undergo any revisions, including the questions about getting to and from school, classroom disruptions, involvement in physicals fighting, and bullying. We recommended changes to these questions, and the sponsors accepted most of the suggested changes. Some questions continue to be problematic across multiple waves of the survey. The report contains recommendations to address the question wording problems we identified.

CITATION: Beck, Jennifer. Pretesting of the 2009 School Crime Supplement: Final Results and Recommendations. Statistical Research Division Study Series (Survey Methodology #2008-17). U.S. Census Bureau.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Statistical Research Division

Created: November 21, 2008
Last revised: October 14, 2008

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Statistical Research Division | (301) 763-3215 (or |   Last Revised: October 08, 2010