Chicago Public Schools Data

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Office of Planning and Data Management

Student- and staff-level information collected by CPS, including Illinois State Achievement Test (ISAT) scores, gender, and race.

Unit of Observation:
Personally Identifiable Information Available for Linking:
Chicago, Illinois, United States of America
Years Available:
Frequency of Updates:
Annual with a three to six month lag (e.g., 2018-2019 school year data expected in fall 2019).

Chicago Public Schools students and staff


Identified data are available to researchers by application. Researchers must submit an External Data Request Form for Research or Program Evaluation Data to the CPS Office of Accountability. Applications are reviewed by the ​​ Research Manager and Data Team. The use of this form is reserved for CPS partners working in collaboration with the district, which can include program providers seeking data for funding continuation or evaluating program implementation, or Research Review Board (RRB) approved researchers. Graduate students must complete the Graduate Student Research Screening Form before applying to conduct research or requesting data, and they may only proceed with the RRB application process after receiving clearance.

As part of the application process and as required by the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), researchers must obtain prior written informed consent from students (or the parents of students less than 18 years of age) and staff for whom they are requesting identifiable data.  See page 6 of the RBB Guidelines for CPS’s definition of identifiable data and page 14 of the RBB Guidelines for CPS’s informed consent requirements. In order to obtain access to student- or staff-level data, researchers must also sign a Data Security Agreement, which identifies requirements for the storage, use, maintenance, protection, dissemination, and destruction of the data. 

Aggregate level, de-identified data is available publicly without obtaining parental consent or RBB approval through the school data page and City of Chicago’s Data Portal. If researchers wish to conduct primary research (i.e., research which involves data collection from participants) there is a longer process when compared to requesting administrative data. See page 7 of the RRB Guidelines for details.

Timeline for Access

The CPS Office responds to administrative data requests within 30 days, and if the request is approved, fulfillment takes an additional 30 days.

Researchers can use these files for one year, after which RRB approval expires and an application for continuation is required.

Lag Time

Data updated annually with an approximately three to six month lag (e.g., 2018-2019 school year data expected in fall 2019). However, the exact lag time can differ between data types. 


There is a $50 application processing fee to request CPS data, which is also charged for each subsequent request for continuing use.


CPS is unable to assist with linking to external datasets, but can provide identified data to researchers if they obtain informed consent from all students involved. 

Identifiers Available for Linking

  • CPS student ID number
  • Full name
  • Date of birth

Data Contents

Partial List of Variables

ISAT scores, gender, race, age, birth year, measures of special education needs, qualification for free or reduced price lunch, US Census tract of residence, home address, school lottery applications, enrollment status, graduation status. See appendix A of the RRB Guidelines for a full list of variables.

J-PAL Randomized Evaluations Using this Data Set

Ander, Roseanna, Jonathan Guryan, and Jens Ludwig. 2016. “Improving Academic Outcomes for Disadvantaged Students: Scaling up Individualized Tutorials.” Policy Proposal. The Hamilton Project.

Cook, Philip J., Kenneth Dodge, George Farkas, Roland G. Fryer, Jonathan Guryan, Jens Ludwig, Susan Mayer, Harold Pollack, and Laurence Steinberg. 2014. “The (Surprising) Efficacy of Academic and Behavioral Intervention with Disadvantaged Youth: Results from a Randomized Experiment in Chicago.” Working Paper 19862. National Bureau of Economic Research. doi:10.3386/w19862.

Cook, Philip J., Kenneth Dodge, George Farkas, Roland G. Fryer, Jonathan Guryan, Jens Ludwig, Susan Mayer, Harold Pollack, and Laurence Steinberg. 2015. “Not Too Late: Improving Academic Outcomes for Disadvantaged Youth.” Working Paper. Northwestern University Institute for Policy Research.

Cullen, Julie Berry, Brian A Jacob, and Steven Levitt. 2006. “The Effect of School Choice on Participants: Evidence from Randomized Lotteries.” Econometrica 74 (5): 1191–1230. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0262.2006.00702.x.

Davis, Jonathan M. V., and Sara B. Heller. 201. “Rethinking the Benefits of Youth Employment Programs: The Heterogeneous Effects of Summer Jobs.” Working Paper 23443. National Bureau of Economic Research. doi:10.3386/w23443.

Guryan, Jonathan, Sandra Christenson, Amy Claessens, Mimi Engel, Ijun Lai, Jens Ludwig, Ashley Cureton Turner, and Mary Clair Turner. 201. “The Effect of Mentoring on School Attendance and Academic Outcomes: A Randomized Evaluation of the Check & Connect Program.” Working Paper. Northwestern University Institute for Policy Research.

Heller, Sara B. 2014. “Summer Jobs Reduce Violence among Disadvantaged Youth.” Science 346 (6214): 1219–23. doi:10.1126/science.1257809.

Heller, Sara B., Anuj K. Shah, Jonathan Guryan, Jens Ludwig, Sendhil Mullainathan, and Harold A. Pollack. 2017. “Thinking, Fast and Slow? Some Field Experiments to Reduce Crime and Dropout in Chicago.” The Quarterly Journal of Economics 132 (1): 1–54. doi:10.1093/qje/qjw033.

Jacob, Brian A., Max Kapustin, and Jens Ludwig. 2015. “The Impact of Housing Assistance on Child Outcomes: Evidence from a Randomized Housing Lottery.” The Quarterly Journal of Economics 130 (1): 465–506. doi:10.1093/qje/qju030.

Other Research Using this Data Set

Aizer, Anna, and Joseph J. Doyle Jr. March 2015. "Juvenile Incarceration, Human Capital and Future Crime: Evidence from Randomly-Assigned Judges." The Quarterly Journal of Economics doi: 10.1093/qje/qjv003. 

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