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Matthew Brault, Sharon Stern, David Raglin
Component ID: #ti226042850


In January through March of 2006, the American Community Survey (ACS) conducted the first test of new and modified content since the ACS reached full implementation levels of data collection. The results of that testing will determine the content for the 2008 ACS. To meet the primary objective of the 2006 ACS Content Test, analysts evaluated changes to question wording, response categories, instructions, or examples relative to the current version of the questions.


The interagency work group for the disability questions under the auspices of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) concluded that the proposed disability question items, used in the test version of the content test, could be used separately to better identify specific portions of the population of people with disabilities. Furthermore, the set would be able to give an acceptable estimate of the population of persons with disabilities, as defined by a person’s risk of participation limitation when he or she has a functional limitation or impairment. The content test compared two sets of disability questions. The control version utilized the current ACS question set. The test version used the set proposed by the work group, which included separate questions for hearing and seeing, and did not include long lead-ins and a work disability question.

Based on the selection criteria mentioned in section 2.2 (simple response variance (SRV) for the test version and item nonresponse rates for the disability items in the test version), the proposed changes to the disability question set found in the test version empirically perform better. The test version had lower item nonresponse rates for all disability items and equal or better reliability for all disability items meeting the selection criteria.The proposed changes result in better questions,in terms of reliability and response and their ability to better identify the population of persons with disabilities.

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