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Research Files for California Science Test
CAST Research Files
These research files contain results from the administrations of the California Science Test (CAST) and is the same
information presented in the 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 of 10 or fewer students.
The research files are available in two formats: fixed width and comma delimited. All research files contain the data
for entities comprising the level of that file.
The "statewide" files include the data for the state, and all counties, districts, and schools. Files can also be
downloaded for any single county or district.
The "county" files include the data for the selected county and all districts and schools associated with that
county. "School only" files are not available.
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.
Downloading CAST Research Files
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 maybe 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.
Statewide files (include data for the state, and all counties, districts, and schools)
View County, District, or Charter School Lists
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
Access Database (.mdb) file
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 comma delimited files. In order to use the shell, MS Access 2007 must already be
installed on your computer.
Access Database - Main Component
Instructions for downloading the MS Access database shell and importing the research files
Getting Accurate Results from the Research Files
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
This table is comprised 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.
Test Data table
This table is comprised 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:
CDS code – The research files contain summary district and county records. A district summary record will have a
“school” code of “0000000.” When working with the file, be sure to include the county, district, and school codes. Failure to
include all three data codes will result in double-counting in any summary calculations.
Test type – Identifying the desired test (Science) will help to provide clear query results.
Student Group ID – Each student will be included in both the “All Students” student group aggregation and each of the
appropriate student group aggregations. Consequently, an individual student group must be selected to avoid duplicate counts.
Test ID – In general, each student will take a number of tests. A specific test should be selected to avoid confusion.
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.