These research files contain results from the administrations of the California Science Test (CAST) and is the same information presented
in the Detailed Test Results section of this site. These files are provided to allow for more complex analyses and customized reporting of the data.
In order to protect student confidentiality, no scores are reported (or included in the research files) for any group with fewer than 11 students.
The research files are available in two formats: fixed width and caret delimited. All research files contain the data for entities comprising the level of that file.
Please note independent charter schools (direct funded) are treated as a district. Test results for these schools are included in the numbers for the state, county, and school.
Note: The research files are available in fixed width and comma delimited formats for years prior to 2019–20.
Use of these research files requires some expertise in the handling of data and advanced data management skills.
Many of the district and county research files are very large (up to 130MB) and may be too large for spreadsheet applications.
Database applications such as MS Access, SAS, or SPSS are required to manage these files.
The file size is indicated in parentheses and is shown only when the size is greater than one megabyte.
Instructions for importing caret-delimited research files
Select a county or a county and district to search and download research files.
The following entity files list the County, District, and School entity names and codes for all entities as the existed in the administration year selected.
This file must be merged with the research file to join these entity names with the appropriate score data.
A database “shell” is another alternative provided at this site. Once downloaded to the target computer, this application provides a powerful
school, district, county, county-district-school (CDS) code, and ZIP code search capability as well as a formatted report containing all the
data for the selected entity. This MS Access 2007 shell contains all entity data and is designed to import any of the selected state, county,
or district caret/comma delimited files. In order to use the shell, MS Access 2007 must already be installed on your computer.
Both of these lookup tables are useful when associating test and student group IDs and names with codes in the caret/comma delimited or fixed width test data file.
Achieving accurate results when working with these research files requires an understanding of the structure and content of the two primary tables:
the entities table and the test data table. The research files have many rows for each entity. There are records for each combination of grades,
tests, and student groups. This means that there are hundreds to thousands of records for each entity, with an average of approximately 900 records.
In order to correctly work with the data, you must use constraints to limit the data you are reporting. These constraints are discussed below.
This table is composed of the state, all counties, districts, and schools in California. Because there are both school-level and district summary records as
well as county and state summary records, it is critical that in any analysis, a “Type ID” record type be selected. This will help avoid the double or
triple-counting that will occur when a school count is also counted in the associated district record.
This table is composed of the school, district, county, and state aggregate CAST counts and scores.
To accurately analyze and report from these research files, the appropriate constraints must be applied to the following elements:
Providing accurate and meaningful reports from the research files generally requires the “linking” of the Entities and Test Data tables.
Additional efforts might include linking to the “lookup” tables. Working with these tables requires an understanding of “relational” data tables and their manipulation.