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Pretesting of the 2011 School Crime Supplement: Final Results and Recommendations

Theresa DeMaio, Kathleen Denny, Nathan Jurgenson, Andrea Schwanz


school crime, cyber-bulling, extra-curricular activities, cognitive interviews


At the request of the Demographic Surveys Division, staff from the Center for Survey Methods Research in the Statistical Research Division cognitively pretested revised questions for the 2011 National Crime Victimization Survey School Crime Supplement.  Cognitive interviews conducted with respondents aged 12-17 in the Washington, DC metropolitan showed that respondents had several types of problems with a new question asking about the amount of time they spend on school-sponsored extracurricular activities.  First, they interpreted this phrase to include such activities as school fundraisers and community service activities.  Second, some respondents included only things that were related to education and as a result did not include hours spent participating in sports activities.  Third, some respondents included only after-school activities while other included activities that took place during the day.  In the end, responses captured information about a different range of activities than the specific school-sponsored activities included in the previous question. 

Testing of changes to the cyber-bullying questions revealed that respondents used and/or were familiar with newly-added social networking sites Formspring and Twitter, but were not familiar with Second Life.  Alternative wordings “online communications” and “online activities” were tested to determine which was most appropriate for inclusion in the questionnaire.  Respondents interpreted these terms quite differently.  They interpreted the terms “online communication” to generally include socializing using social networking sites and instant messaging or chatting, while they defined “online activities” in terms of gaming. 


Theresa DeMaio, Kathleen Denny, Nathan Jurgenson, and Andrea Schwanz. (2010). Pretesting of the 2011 School Crime Supplement: Final Results and Recommendations. Statistical Research Division Study Series (Survey Methodology #2010-11).U.S. Census Bureau. Available online at <>.

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

Published online: September 22, 2010
Last revised: September 22, 2010


Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Statistical Research Division | (301) 763-3215 (or |   Last Revised: September 11, 2013 September 22, 2010