Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Schools Data

Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District (CMS) Office of Accountability

Student- and teacher-level data including courses, enrollment, and test scores in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) district

Unit of Observation:
Personally Identifiable Information Available for Linking:
Mecklenburg county, North Carolina, United States of America
Years Available:
Most student-level data available from 2012/13 school year, unknown years available for teacher-level data
Frequency of Updates:
Annual with an approximately two month lag (e.g., 2018-19 school year data are expected in July 2019)

Public school K-12 students and teachers in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg district


CMS student and teacher level data are available to researchers engaged on projects with potential to improve learning conditions, student outcomes, and staff or program effectiveness in CMS. To start the application process, researchers must first contact district level staff (the Executive Director, Director, or Specialist) of the relevant department to determine interest in the research topic. The CMS Executive Director, Director, or Specialist must provide documentation of support (including support of the research questions, methods, and indication of how the study will provide information directly beneficial to the district), after which the Research Review Panel reviews the application and letter of support. The application is available after completing the registration form. Upon approval researchers must sign a Memorandum of Understanding, and may then need to acquire consent from students and teachers before submitting the Data Request form for approved variables to the CMS Office of Accountability.

The research application should include a plan to address confidentiality, and all presentations and publications must use a pseudonym for the district, schools and students. Identifiable and certain demographic data require parental consent and student assent for student-level or teacher consent for teacher-level data, as detailed in the Research Guidelines. Consent is also required if the researcher requests more than two general demographic variables (e.g., gender, race, current school) to be linked to the data set.

Once application is approved and consent forms are obtained, the researcher will submit a Data Request form for the approved variables, along with an excel file that includes teacher or student names and CMS ID numbers given via the consent forms. Researchers can contact the Director of Research, Evaluation, and Analytics or the Accountability Coordinator (current contact information can be found on the research request process page) for the district with questions about research in CMS.

Timeline for Access

The application process from submission to decision typically takes 5-8 weeks. The research review panel meets monthly and reviews all applications received at least 10 days prior to meetings. If the panel requests additional information or changes, the researcher must submit their responses or revisions within six weeks. Once the application is approved, researchers must submit a data request form to the CMS Accountability Office for the approved variables. The data request process typically takes 45 days excluding data that are not yet available (such as for an incomplete school year).

Per federal regulations, CMS requires that research data be archived for either three years after the end of the project or five years after the final reporting or publication of a project, whichever is longer, and should then be disposed. Personally identifiable data, however, must be destroyed when no longer needed for matching.

Lag Time

Files are updated annually, with updates usually available in early July (e.g., 2018/19 school year data becomes available July 2019). End of year test data are not available until the state sends the final files to the districts, which is typically in October with an expected turnaround time of 45 business days once that data is available.


There is a $50 application fee.


CMS will not link external data for researchers. In the past, researchers have linked CMS data with National Student Clearinghouse postsecondary record data and to other administrative data sets, such as the registry of adult incarcerations and arrests in Mecklenburg county

Identifiers Available for Linking

  • Data set can include identifiers only if the researcher obtains parental or teacher consent, as detailed in the Access section.

Data Contents

Researchers may only request up to two demographics without informed parental or teacher consent for student- or teacher-level data, respectively.

Partial List of Variables

Student-level variables:

  • Grade-level promotion/retentions, 9th grade entry year, on-time graduation year, mobility between schools, and course and grade data
  • Total credits attempted and/or earned in high school, enrollment and attendance data, discipline data
  • Educator effectiveness
  • Various information on literary data for kindergarten through high school, math data for third grade through high school, science data grades 5 and 8, high school biology data, pre-k data, and ACT and high school NCFE test scores
  • With parental consent and student assent: birth date, name, zip code

Teacher-level variables:

  • Demographics and position title (gender, ethnicity, job title, school ID)
  • Teaching experience within CMS and education level
  • Course information (semester, grade level, title)
  • With teacher consent: birth date, name, CMS ID number

J-PAL Randomized Evaluations Using this Data Set

Hastings, Justine S., Kane, Thomas J., and Douglas O. Staiger. 2006. “Gender and Performance: Evidence from School Assignment.” American Economic Review, 96(2): 232-236.

Other Research Using this Data Set

This study linked CMS data (names and dates of birth) to a registry of adult incarcerations and arrests in Mecklenburg County: Billings, Stephen B., Deming, David J., and Jonah Rockoff. 2014. “School Segregation, Educational Attainment, and Crime: Evidence from the End of Busing in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.” The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 129(1): 435-476. 

Last reviewed