Student Data Sharing
Early Learning (0-3) | Post Secondary
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. For additional information on how OSPI protects student privacy please see our Protecting Student Privacy page.
- OSPI's Report Card
- K-12 Data and Reports
- Education Research and Data Center
- OSPI Data Portal
- National Center for Education Statistics
- Office for Civil Rights: Civil Rights Data Collection
Data Sharing Request Process
The following are the instructions for requesting either student-level data or aggregated data where cell sizes are unsuppressed.
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, limitations, and requirements of the agreement.
Data Sharing Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
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 number (RID) 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.
Does OSPI share personally identifiable information on students?
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.
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.
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.
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 of the study as stated in the 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.
What is the purpose of the Data Sharing Request Form?
Within the form, requestors will:
- Designate an individual who is directly responsible for managing the data being requested;
- Provide details on the purpose, scope, and duration of the proposed study;
- Specify the data elements and school years being requested and describe how the requested data are necessary to accomplish the research; and
- Establish the procedures to protect personally identifiable student information from disclosure and unauthorized use.
What data are included in each file?
The following documents provide a list of the elements included in OSPI's standard student-level data files:
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 have crafted a standard base file we believe will satisfy most requestors' needs. If your research requires additional data beyond what is provided in that 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.
Step 2: Complete the Data Sharing Request Form
Unless your request pertains to a legislative requirement, OSPI will review your Data Sharing Request Form in the order received and within Student Information’s workload capacity.
Step 3: Sign Data Sharing Agreement
After the data sharing request is approved, OSPI will prepare a Data Sharing Agreement, which will be sent for signatures through DocuSign. 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.
Step 4: Data Delivery
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.
Step 5: 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 Darby Kaikkonen prior to publication.
Step 6: 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:
- If data was stored on server or workstation data hard drives or similar media, the data recipient shall destroy the data by using a "wipe" utility which will overwrite the data at least three (3) times using either random or single character data, degaussing sufficiently to ensure that the data cannot be reconstructed, or physically destroying disk(s).
- For paper documents containing student-level information, a contract with a recycling firm to recycle confidential documents is acceptable, provided the contract ensures that the confidentiality of the data will be protected. Such documents may also be destroyed by on-site shredding, pulping, or incineration.
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
Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction
600 Washington Street (UPS/FedEx)
PO Box 47200 (US Mail)
Old Capitol Building
Olympia, WA 98504-7200
For more detailed information about the data destruction process, please refer to the Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) Best Practices for Data Destruction document.
If you are interested in suppressed aggregate student data that is not reported on OSPI's website, please submit a request by completing this data request form.