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ED Public Data Frequently Asked Questions

Unique NCES ID numbers are assigned to schools and districts when they are initially reported to the U.S. Department of Education by the state education agency (SEA), through EDFacts. Many grant authorizers (Google classroom, Walmart, Target, etc.) require that schools and districts must be listed on the NCES site to award a grant. The NCES ID serves as proof that the entity is listed on the site.

Use the online district and school locators on the NCES website to locate your entity’s NCES ID.

TIP! When using the locators, enter minimal information in the search fields. Most schools and districts can be located by simply searching on a keyword plus state. This approach will increase the number of returned results and eliminate search issues due to the use of abbreviations in the database (e.g., High School/HS/High or Street/St).

NOTE! If you are unable to find your NCES ID, we recommend that you work with the funder (through their grant helpdesk) for further assistance.

If the NCES ID for a public school or district is not found in the NCES locator, verify that the search criteria entered were not too narrow. If you are still unable to locate your school or district, follow the instructions below regarding new entities.

If you are not able to locate your entity, contact your district and follow internal processes to ensure your State Department of Education has the correct information for the school or district.

The NCES school and district locators only provide NCES IDs for public entities. Access the Private School Universe Survey (PSS) page to search for the private school’s NCES ID. If the school is not listed with an existing NCES ID, please contact Stephen Broughman at stephen.broughman@ed.gov for assistance on obtaining an NCES ID for your private school.

Phone Numbers

If you believe the phone number for a school or district is incorrect, notify the EDFacts Partner Support Center (PSC), eden_ss@ed.gov. PSC will verify the requested update and work to manually update it in the CCD data tools. Note, however, the State Department of Education (SEA) will be responsible for updating the phone number in future Directory submissions to NCES. Follow the internal processes set within the state in order to notify the SEA that information for the school and/or district has changed in order for the information to be updated internally within the state’s database. This will ensure the information is accurate in subsequent data releases to the NCES website.

Address (physical/mailing), School Name

A school name and district and/or school physical and mailing address information cannot be updated by PSC or the Department on the NCES website in between Common Core of Data (CCD) publications. Follow the internal processes set within the state in order to notify the SEA that information for the school and/or district has changed in order for the information to be updated internally within the state’s database. This will allow the SEA to submit an updated data file so that the information is accurate in subsequent data releases to the NCES website.

There is a lag in publishing the data to the NCES locator. The data source year is below the search box. If the entity became operational in a subsequent year, it is not included in the published data. If, however, your SEA has reported the entity in subsequent data years, PSC is able to obtain the NCES ID number for the entity. Please contact PSC for assistance.

TIP! For all data file downloads, we recommend the following:

  1. Closely read the data documentation that is included with the files; it provides context and limitations surrounding use of the data and will aid in interpreting the data.
  2. Consult the following document in the EDFacts data files section prior to opening files: Read Me—Instructions for Opening EDFacts Data Files. This document provides detailed steps on how to use the CSV files and not drop leading zeroes from the SEA, LEA, and School level IDs that are required to merge the data files.
What is the Common Core of Data (CCD)?

The Common Core of Data (CCD) is the Department of Education's primary database on public elementary and secondary education in the United States. CCD is a comprehensive, annual, national database of all public elementary and secondary schools and school districts.

CCD data files (including directory, membership, staffing, grades offered, CCD school status, and special populations data files) are published annually. To be notified when new CCD data are published on the NCES website, sign up for email notifications using the following link: https://ies.ed.gov/newsflash/#nces

For the latest year of data, the easiest way to view CCD data for a specific school/district is through the district and school locators, as follows: https://nces.ed.gov/ccd/districtsearch/ and https://nces.ed.gov/ccd/schoolsearch/

  1. To access the complete database and multiple years of data, use the table generator: https://nces.ed.gov/ccd/elsi/
  2. If the raw data files are needed, select the following link, https://nces.ed.gov/ccd/ccddata.asp (but first try the table generator).

The CCD LEA- and school-level membership files are long data files with separate records for student enrollment by grade/gender/race. As a result, the number of records in these files exceed Excel’s maximum row limit and must be processed using statistical packages such as SAS, SPSS, STATA, or R. If you do not require that level of detail, we recommend that you pull the subtotals you are interested in (e.g., student membership by grade or total school membership) using the Elementary/Secondary Information System (ElSi) locator. The instructions for using the ElSi locator are provided below.

The Common Core of Data (CCD) is the best source of this information. There are approximately 100,000 public schools and 18,000 public school districts nationwide. Full lists of these entities are available using the Elementary/Secondary Information System (ElSi): https://nces.ed.gov/ccd/elsi/

Use the Popular Tables on the bottom right of the screen to download the full list of schools and/or districts, referred to as the Directory in the title.

The ElSi system also allows users to create custom tables to combine CCD data elements across topic areas and across years (https://nces.ed.gov/ccd/elsi/tableGenerator.aspx). The directions below describe how to create a school-level table. Use a similar approach to create district-level tables by selecting District as the table row in the first step.

  1. Choose Select A Table Row then choose Public School
    1. NOTE! If you choose District in this section, the option to select a specific school status further in the process will not be available.
  2. Select the School Years
  3. Select the Information Tab; therein you may select as much or as little basic information as you need. Note: if more than one school year is selected, you can choose whether to include data for individual years or all years for each element selected.
    1. We suggest checking State name/abbr, School Name, School ID, Agency Name and Agency ID. You now have the name of the school as well as the name of the district.
  4. Select the Characteristics Tab
    1. Click School/District Information and scroll to choose items for your specific search.
    2. The Grade Span Information allows the selection of grade level and/or individual grade levels.
  5. Chose other characteristics such as student enrollment and staff by clicking on the individual tabs.
  6. Choose Select Filters (Refinements) and either add additional filters or click Create Table to generate your dataset.
  7. To export the resulting table to a file, click the Excel button in the top right.

List of Title I Schools

To obtain a list of schools by Title I status, either use the school-level instructions for the ElSi table generator (Title I School Status is under the Characteristics tab) or download the Common Core of Data (CCD) School file directly at https://nces.ed.gov/ccd/pubschuniv.asp

School-level Title I Funding

The Title I program is a state-administered program whereby the Department of Education allocates the funds to the states who then allocate funds to individual local education agencies (LEAs) within the state, all on a formula basis. The Title I allocations to LEAs are available through the CCD Fiscal collection (https://nces.ed.gov/ccd/f33agency.asp). School-level Title I allocations are not available.

There has been much discussion on poverty measures in education. The CCD does collect students eligible for free and reduced-price lunch at the school level as well as per pupil expenditures; however, a better resource for you on this matter might be NCES's Public School District Finance Peer Search.

To obtain school-level data on participation in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Free/Reduced-Price lunch program, either use the school-level instructions for the ElSi table generator (Free/Reduced-price lunch is under the Enrollments tab, Students in Special Programs) or download the Free/Reduced-price Lunch file: https://nces.ed.gov/ccd/pubschuniv.asp)

Note that from SY 2016-17 and forward, states can submit counts of students eligible for Free/Reduced-Price lunch certified through applications or directly certified. Some states only submit counts of students directly certified; some states submit counts of students eligible through applications; and some states submit a combination of the two.

Are data available on counts and rates for graduates and dropouts?

The U.S. Department of Education releases public district and school-level adjusted cohort graduation rate (ACGR) data files, along with detailed data documentation regarding these files, on the EDFacts Initiative website:
https://www2.ed.gov/about/inits/ed/EDFacts/data-files/index.html#acgr. These data are also available on ED Data Express.

The U.S. Department of Education annually releases public district and school-level assessment data files, along with detailed data documentation regarding these files, on the EDFacts Initiative website: https://www2.ed.gov/about/inits/ed/EDFacts/data-files/index.html

Starting in SY 2014-15, geographic data for the Common Core of Data (CCD) are published as a separate data file from the CCD data files. The LEA and school-level files are available at the following link: https://nces.ed.gov/programs/edge/Geographic/SchoolLocations

School district boundaries are not always equal to county or congressional district boundaries. However, you can search for schools by county, school district, or town name with our School and District Locators. To search for schools by congressional district, go to the ELSi tool and use the column variable "congressional code" from the "school/district classification information" group of column variables. Additionally, this information is included in the LEA and school-level geographic location files available at the following link: https://nces.ed.gov/programs/edge/Geographic/SchoolLocations

Although 9 out of 10 school students attend public schools, approximately 5 million students were enrolled in private school education in the fall of 2013. For more information on private schools and students, visit http://nces.ed.gov/surveys/pss/. Through this site, users can view summary data tables and download data files.

The NAEP website (https://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/) provides detailed information and results for all NAEP assessments and tools to explore assessment data, as well as resources for other NAEP information. For additional information on the NAEP program, contact NAEP directly, through the following website: https://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/contactus.aspx?topic=7

The National Teacher and Principal Survey (NTPS) is a system of related questionnaires that provide descriptive data on the context of elementary and secondary education, in addition to giving policymakers a variety of statistics on the condition of education in the United States.

Information on this survey can be located at the following link: https://nces.ed.gov/surveys/ntps/

The National Teacher and Principal Survey (NTPS) reports regularly on the results of their ongoing study. Refer to the NTPS website (https://nces.ed.gov/surveys/ntps/spotlight.asp) for links to quick data summaries as well as detailed reports.

Yes, NCES collects fiscal data at both the district and state level. For the most recent public-release data files, visit http://nces.ed.gov/ccd/stfis.asp and http://nces.ed.gov/ccd/f33agency.asp. NCES also produces summary tables that are published through the Digest of Education Statistics, the most recent tables on this topic are available here: https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=66.

Please be aware that most data users find that the publicly posted data files are sufficient. If you request raw data, we will confirm that you reviewed publicly posted data and documentation first (including state websites). If you are confident you must have access to the raw data for your purpose, you will be directed to the application process. Be aware that individuals are not able to request licenses; licenses are only granted to institutions that will assume liability for protecting the privacy of the data requested and ensure that the individual using the data complies with all privacy requirements associated with the license.

In order to access statistical information, you must apply for a restricted-use data license. Follow these steps provided directly by the IES Restricted-Use License team to begin the process:

  1. Complete the IES restricted-use license application through the Electronic Application System.
  2. Identify the information you are requesting access to within the application.
    1. Documentation for the public files are here to help you understand what data are in the files.
    2. In the future, if additional data groups are made available behind the restricted-use license, you can submit an amendment to request access. See section 2.6 in the Restricted-Use Data Procedures Manual.
  3. As instructed on the Applying for a Restricted-Use Data License page, once IES approves the Formal Request, the Principal Project Officer (PPO) submits the three documents, one of which is an Affidavit of Nondisclosure. When you complete the NCES Database or File Containing Individually Identifiable Information field on the Affidavit form, enter All NCES/IES data.
    1. This will allow you to make amendments to your restricted-use license to request additional data groups, if the other data are made available.
  4. Contact IESData.Security@ed.gov if you have any additional questions about the process or license forms.

TIP! For all data file downloads, we recommend the following:

  1. Closely read the data documentation that is included with the files; it provides context and limitations surrounding use of the data and will aid in interpreting the data.
  2. Consult the following document in the EDFacts data files section prior to opening files: Read Me—Instructions for Opening EDFacts Data Files. This document provides detailed steps on how to use the CSV files and not drop leading zeroes from the SEA, LEA, and School level IDs that are required to merge the data files.
What is ED Data Express?

ED Data Express, https://eddataexpress.ed.gov/, is a website designed to improve the public's ability to access and explore high-value state- and district-level education data collected by the U.S. Department of Education. The site is designed to be interactive and to present the data in a clear, easy-to-use manner, with options to download information into Excel or manipulate the data within the website. Datasets range from school year (SY) 2010-11 and forward and are updated to add newer data as they become available. There are data sets for assessment data and graduation rates (by counts and percentages) as well as specific populations of students such as Title I (Part C), Title III, McKinney-Vento Act (Homeless and N or D students) and Title I (Part A and Part D, Subparts 1 and 2). The data can also be filtered on Race/Ethnicity, Disability Status, EL status, and Migratory Status and/or Homeless Status, as well as specific EDFacts file specification and/or data group.

I need a copy of my High School Transcript/Diploma.

The U.S. Department of Education does not maintain high school transcripts or high school diplomas. This type of documentation is maintained at the SEA or at district offices, consistent with local record retention policies. For additional information, contact the SEA or the institution where you attended high school to obtain your high school transcript/ diploma/equivalent documentation.

There are no accepted indicators or rankings of schools in this country. If you are interested in seeing assessment test scores by state our National Assessment of Education Progress can give you that information (https://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/). We also have SAT scores by state.