Chicago Public Schools Data

  • Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Office of Performance
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
Years Available: 


Free or Paid: 
Frequency of Updates: 

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 CPS Research Review Board (RRB). 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 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. Aggregate level, de-identified data is available publicly without obtaining parental consent through the school data page and City of Chicago’s Data Portal.

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.

Timeline for Access

The CPS Office typically responds to a request within 30 days, and if the request is approved, fulfillment takes an additional 30 days. However, this timeline can vary based on the nature of the request. The RRB meets every six weeks to evaluate all requests to conduct research, and the meeting schedule is available here.

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

Lag Time



There is a $50 application processing fee to request CPS data, which is also charged for each subsequent request for continuing use. The CPS Office of Performance may also establish fees to charge researchers for review and evaluation of proposals and the compilation of data. The total cost is estimated and communicated by CPS after receiving a data request and follow-up details. Fees are based on staff time required to scope, compile, and disseminate data, using a base rate of $100 per hour. See page 12 of the RRB Guidelines for more information on the fee structure.


The linking process for CPS data files is not known. We are not aware of CPS being willing to link their data to a pre-defined study sample; in the past, some researchers have obtained de-identified data on a specific study sample with CPS approval from third-party agencies that hold identified student records linked to other data sets. It is unknown whether CPS would be willing and able to send a de-identified version of the data set for research purposes.

  • 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

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. 2019. “Rethinking the Benefits of Youth Employment Programs: The Heterogeneous Effects of Summer Jobs.The Review of Economics and Statistics (forthcoming). doi: 10.1162/rest_a_00850.

Guryan, Jonathan, Sandra Christenson, Amy Claessens, Mimi Engel, Ijun Lai, Jens Ludwig, Ashley Cureton Turner, and Mary Clair Turner. 2017. “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. 

Last reviewed
August 2019