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Data Requests

Individuals not employed with the California Department of Education (CDE) may request assessment data and California Longitudinal Pupil Assessment Data System information when the data are not publicly available on the CDE Web site (e.g. DataQuest).

The Analysis, Measurement, and Accountability Reporting Division (AMARD) of the California Department of Education (CDE) facilitates the release of assessment data and California Longitudinal Pupil Assessment System (CALPADS) information (located under the Resources tab) while ensuring compliance with state and federal data privacy and security laws. For more information on laws and regulations related to data privacy and security, see the Laws and Regulations tab on this page. For data that do not fit the above criteria, please consult the Data Resource Guide.

Members of the press or other media outlets must contact the CDE Communications office at, or by phone at 916-319-0818 before requesting data from the CDE. Before submitting a data request to the CDE, please review the CDE Downloadable Data Files Web page to determine if the desired data are already available. Projects involving publicly available data from the CDE Web site need not be reviewed by the AMARD.

If publicly available data do not meet your needs, the data may be requested from the CDE by completing the Preliminary Data Request Form and submitting it electronically with a Research/Evaluation Concept Paper. Guidelines for the required Research/Evaluation Concept Paper are located under the Resources tab on this page. Also located under the Resources tab is the 2015–18 CDE Research Priorities.

The preliminary data request will be reviewed by AMARD staff to verify that no publicly available data options exist to meet the needs of the data requestor. If no publicly available data options exist, the request will be reviewed further to determine if non-personally identifiable information (non-PII) or personally identifiable information (PII) is being requested.

Information is considered to be non-PII when a reasonable person in the school community, who does not have personal knowledge of relevant circumstances, cannot identify the student with reasonable certainty. Release of non-PII data to the public is permissible in most cases. However, state and federal laws prohibit the disclosure of PII to the public except under a very limited number of specific circumstances. For more information on the release of PII, see the Personally Identifiable Information tab on this page.

Please note that regardless of the type of data requested (i.e. non-PII or PII), the CDE will use its discretion in determining which data requests to prioritize and support given its limited resources. There is a charge associated with data preparation. For more information on data preparation costs and billing, please see the Costs and Billing tab on this page.

Laws and Regulations

All data requestors seeking to use CDE data must be familiar with, and comply with, state and federal laws pertaining to data security and confidentiality. Data requests must be managed in accordance with all applicable federal and state privacy laws including, but not limited to: the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1984 (20 U.S.C. Sec. 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99); The National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1758; 7 CFR Section 245.6), the California Information Practices Act (California Civil Code Section 1798); and California Education Code (EC).

Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

The FERPA External link opens in new window or tab. (20 U.S.C. Section 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records.

The National School Lunch Act

The National School Lunch Act External link opens in new window or tab. (42 U.S.C. 1758; 7 CFR Section 245.6) is a federal law that limits the use or disclosure of a family's or child's name and National School Lunch Program (NSLP) information.

California Information Practices Act

The California Information Practices Act, Civil Code Section 1798.24 External link opens in new window or tab. (Senate Bill 13) requires government agencies to protect the privacy of personal information maintained by state agencies.

California Education Code

EC Section 49079.5 External link opens in new window or tab. states the intent of the Legislature to make the CALPADS accessible to "authorized stakeholders" including researchers.

EC Section 49079.7 External link opens in new window or tab. enables the CDE to charge reasonable fees upon researchers applying for access to individually personally identifiable information in order to cover costs of responding to time-intensive request.

EC Section 49558 External link opens in new window or tab. limits the use and disclosure of NSLP information.

Personally Identifiable Information

The CDE is allowed to enter into select agreements with experienced researchers at nonprofit organizations, universities, colleges, and community colleges to conduct studies for or on behalf of the CDE using CDE supplied Personally Identifiable Information (PII).

PII includes a student's name and/or other direct personal identifiers, such as the student's identification number. Personally identifiable data also includes indirect identifiers, such as the name of the student's parents, guardians or other family members; the student's or family's address; and personal characteristics or other information that would make the student's identity easily traceable. A sample list of data that may be considered to be PII is available on the CDE Data Privacy Web page.

Research/evaluation studies conducted for or on the behalf of the CDE using PII must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  1. Align with the CDE's goals and priorities;
  2. Inform the policies and/or practices of the CDE; or
  3. Improve education and/or instruction.

Please see the 2015–18 CDE Research Priorities under the Resources tab of this page for more information on the CDE's research goals and priorities.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) generally prohibits the CDE from disclosing or re-disclosing student records containing PII, but provides an exception for state educational authorities to disclose or re-disclose student records containing PII to organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, educational agencies or institutions to:

  • Develop, validate, or administer predictive tests;
  • Administer student aid programs; or
  • Improve instruction.

The CDE will only designate educational authorities as its authorized representative to conduct a study or studies for, or on behalf of the CDE, for one of the purposes set forth above to fulfill the FERPA exemption.

Costs and Billing

The CDE charges a rate of $65 per hour for data preparation. Failure to pay an invoice for data received from the CDE will result in the educational organization or institution to which the CDE provided the data and the requestor being barred from accessing CDE data until any past due invoices are paid in full.

Questions:   Data Visualization and Reporting Office | | 916-322-3245
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, September 20, 2016
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