The language assistance program for the American Community Survey (ACS) includes a set of methods and procedures designed to assist sample households with limited English proficiency in completing the ACS interview. Language assistance can be provided in many forms, including the development of translated instruments and other survey materials, the recruiting and training of bilingual interviewers, and the provision of telephone or Internet assistance in multiple languages. Providing language assistance is one of many ways that the ACS can improve survey quality by reducing levels of survey nonresponse, the potential for nonresponse bias, and the introduction of response errors; it ensures that individuals with limited English skills will more fully understand the survey questions. The ACS language assistance program includes the use of several key tools to support each mode of data collection—mail, telephone, and personal visit. The development of these tools was based on research that assessed the current performance of the ACS for non-English speakers. McGovern (2004) found that, despite the limited availability of mail questionnaires in languages other than English, non-English speakers were successfully interviewed by telephone and personal visit follow-up. She also found that the level of item nonresponse for households speaking language
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