What data are you looking for?
Early Learning (0-3) or Post Secondary
K-12 Aggregate Student Data
Data that is rolled up and reported at a school, district, or state level. In some instances, data are not displayed in order to protect student privacy. More information on suppression and student privacy can be found on K-12 Data and Reports.
K-12 Student-Level Data or K-12 Aggregate without Suppression
Data Sharing Request Process
The following are the instructions for requesting either student level data or aggregate data that contains small cell sizes (unsuppressed).
Following successful submission of the request, OSPI’s Data Sharing Review Panel will consider and review the request. If approved, the requestors must submit a signed Data Sharing Agreement for the request to move forward in the process. The entire process takes approximately three months to complete depending on the timing and complexity of the request.
Step 1: Review Data Sharing Process and Policies
Please review both the Data Sharing Agreement Template and Data-Sharing Process and Policies for Student-Level Data before starting the request form as they contain details about the process, the approval criteria, and the requirements of the agreement.
Note, OSPI does not have the capacity or resources to review individual requests for changes to the Data Sharing Agreement. If you are unable to sign the agreement as is, please notify OSPI that you would like to either cancel the request and/or submit a new request.
In what ways can student information be shared?
De-identified student-level data is student-level information, but names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, district student ID numbers, state student ID numbers, and other fields are removed. Instead, a research ID is attached. The RID has no connection to other data fields such as name or date of birth. OSPI requires a data-sharing agreement for de-identified student-level data.
Identifiable student-level data may be shared only under specific exceptions to the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), such as for evaluations or studies that are done on behalf of OSPI or on behalf of districts. Data-sharing agreements are required.
Does OSPI share personally identifiable information on students?
Personally identifiable information is only shared by OSPI if the use qualifies under specific FERPA exceptions.
Doesn’t FERPA prohibit sharing of student-level data?
FERPA prohibits sharing of personally identifiable student records, except in certain circumstances. However, FERPA does note that de-identified data may be shared:
FERPA 34 CFR § 99.31 (b)(2): “An educational agency or institution, or a party that has received education records or information from education records under this part, may release de-identified student level data from education records for the purpose of education research…”
Why does OSPI make de-identified data available to researchers?
To help improve education, OSPI may make de-identified datasets available to individuals or organizations requesting student-level data. Research helps us understand which programs are working well and which ones are not. It is better to make informed decisions based on data, rather than making decisions based on anecdotes.
If the data are de-identified, why does OSPI require an agreement?
The data sharing agreement adds a layer of protection that OSPI deems prudent, because the person signing the agreement agrees not to link the information to other sources to try to identify students, nor to report the data in any way that could identify students.
Although the data are de-identified, we do not know what additional data resources the recipient has. Therefore, we want to ensure that the recipient does not even attempt to link the de-identified records to other data that might identify individuals. We also deem it prudent to restrict the recipients from further disclosing the data. This has the added benefit of ensuring that the data does not get out to other entities that may try to link it. Researchers must also agree to certain data security measures.
Is OSPI required to share de-identified data?
No. From FERPA (CFR § 99.31(d): “Paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section do not require an educational agency or institution or any other party to disclose education records or information from education records to any party except for parties under paragraph (a)(12) of this section.” However, OSPI does have responsibilities under the Public Records Act to make existing records available. This must be balanced with the federal law (FERPA) that protects students’ privacy.
Step 2: Complete the Data Sharing Request Form
Complete the Data Sharing Request Form (preview questions)
What is required of people seeking student-level data (identifiable or de-identified)?
Prior to approval, the requestor will need to provide detailed information about how the data will be used, which data are being requested, and the expected outcome or product of the research. In addition, the requestor will need to meet certain technical requirements to maintain the security of the data.
The student-level data may only be used to meet the purpose or purposes of the study as stated in agreement with OSPI and for the specified duration. If the requestor seeks to use the data for a purpose or analysis that is not described in the agreement, then the requestor must submit another data request. All requests must be approved by the Data Request Review Panel.
What is the purpose of the Data Sharing Request Form?
Within the form, requestors are:
What does OSPI look for when reviewing the data sharing request form?
What data are included in each file?
The following documents provide a list of the elements included in each data file:
What years of data does OSPI share?
Data from the 2009-10 school year and later are shared by OSPI. Due to significant changes in tests and data structure, data prior to the 2009-10 school year will not be shared.
Why is justification required for certain data elements?
In the interest of student privacy, OSPI requires justification for elements that provide sensitive information about students. In our efforts to balance student privacy with the value of education research, we've crafted a base file we believe will satisfy most requestors' needs. If your research requires additional data beyond what is provided in the base file, you will be asked to provide justification for the specific elements you need by demonstrating how it relates to the scope of your project.
If changes need to be made to the request form following OSPI or Data Sharing Panel review, how do I alter the survey on SurveyGizmo?
After submitting the request form, the requestor will receive an email notification from SurveyGizmo that includes a link to the completed form. You can edit the request form using this link. Additionally, OSPI can provide an edit link upon request.
Why would I need subscore data?
Subscore data is useful as a diagnostic tool at the student level. If you are requesting data for a teacher dashboard, subscores may be helpful. For most researchers, subscores are not needed, particularly because the level of granularity often prohibits broader conclusions being drawn from the data.
Why would I need CEDARS data add on to an assessment file?
OSPI uses CEDARS data found in the assessment files to generate public reports. The data are pulled from CEDARS at certain dates according to established business rules. If you are attempting to precisely replicate those results, CEDARS data in the assessment file may be helpful. For any request not replicating those results, CEDARS data should be requested apart from the assessment files.
Why would I need detailed accommodations data?
Detailed accommodations data provides information about the specific accommodations provided. If you are studying the effect of different accommodations on a particular subgroup, detailed accommodations data may be helpful. Most researchers will not need detailed accommodations data since a general accommodations flag, indicating whether a student used any accommodation rather than which accommodations a student used, is typically included in the base file.
Why would I need proctor data?
Proctor data enables identification by classroom and teacher. If you are grouping students by classroom or analyzing teacher performance over time, proctor data may be helpful. Please note that proctor data in the assessment files cannot be linked to CEDARS data.
Step 3: The Data Sharing Review Panel Reviews Request
Timeline: Up to two months for panel review.
How often does the Data Sharing Review Panel meet?
The Data Sharing Review Panel convenes bimonthly, in odd months (i.e., January, March, May, July, September, and November).
What is the panel’s criteria for data request approval?
If changes need to be made to the request form following OSPI or Data Sharing Panel review, how do I alter the survey on SurveyGizmo?
Following the submission of the request form, the requestor will receive an email notification from SurveyGizmo that includes a link to the completed response. Requestors can edit the request form using this link. Additionally, an edit link can be provided from OSPI upon request.
If the review panel requests changes or additional information, will I need to wait until the next meeting for another review?
If the panel would like the requestor to make alterations to the request, it is possible that approval would be subject to minor changes that can be facilitated by OSPI staff. If the panel requires major changes to the request, the request would need to be reviewed by the panel again.
Step 4: Sign Data Sharing Agreement
Timeline: Up to two weeks after signed originals are returned to OSPI.
Data Sharing Agreement Template
After the data sharing request has been approved by the Data Sharing Review Panel, OSPI will prepare a Data Sharing Agreement, which will be sent via email to the requestor. The requestor will need to send the signed original to OSPI. After the signed agreement is received by OSPI, the agreement will be routed through the agency to obtain all necessary signatures. After all signatures are received, the data sharing agreement will be added to the Student Information work queue and the work queue of other departments as appropriate.
There are minor differences between the agreements for identifiable and de-identified student data.
Note, OSPI does not have the capacity or resources to review individual requests for changes to the Data Sharing Agreement. If you are unable to sign the agreement as is, please notify OSPI if you would like to cancel the request and/or submit a new request.
Step 5: Analyst Outreach
Timeline: For requests not requiring matching data, 2-3 weeks is average. In cases where the requestor sends OSPI student-level data for matching, this step normally takes 4-5 weeks once the analyst receives that data. Please note that these timelines differ based on the complexity of the request.
How soon will I hear from the analyst?
Depending on the number of requests in queue, the analyst should contact you within two weeks. If you do not hear from an analyst within that time, please contact the OSPI staff member who handled your data sharing agreement.
Step 6: Data Delivery
Timeline: 1 week
OSPI transfers student-level data using our Secure FTP server. OSPI provides account information to requestors who must then set up an FTP client application on their computer. For more information, please see the OSPI SFTP User Guide available on the Student Privacy and Data Sharing webpage.
OSPI SFTP User Guide - Mac
OSPI SFTP User Guide - PC
How does OSPI handle recurring requests?
Data is not available until November of the following school year as districts are provided the opportunity to finalize reporting from the prior school year through October. OSPI attempts to have data to requestors by the following December. For example, if a recurring request covers 2016-2017 data, we strive to have that data to the requestor by December 2017. Given the number of recurring requests we receive, it is helpful to send an email reminder to Katie Weaver Randall at StudentInformation@k12.wa.us. in November.
Can I store the data on a portable device?
Student-level data should not be on portable devices or media unless you encrypt the device with commercial encryption software using a minimum of 128 bit encryption.
Step 7: Share Results with OSPI
By signing the data sharing agreement, the researcher agrees to provide a copy of any products or reports to OSPI before they are released, published, or otherwise made available. Please send draft results to Katie Weaver Randall at StudentInformation@k12.wa.us. prior to publication.
Step 8: Data Destruction
Timeline: You must destroy the data within 45 days of the termination of the agreement.
Acceptable destruction methods for various types of media include:
A Certification of Data Destruction form (Exhibit C of the Data Sharing Agreement form) must be signed by researchers and returned to OSPI at the conclusion of the agreement. Refer to Exhibit C for minimum destruction requirements
For more detailed information about the data destruction process, please refer to the Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) Best Practices for Data Destruction document.
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