Research File Download Instructions
 and Formats (File Layouts)

Please note that using the research files provided at this site requires expertise in the management of large data files. These files can range from 1MB up to 60MB and more and take many hours to download if you are using a 56kb modem.

Also, once downloaded, working with these files require advanced data management skills. Many of the district and county research files are too large for spreadsheet applications such as MS Excel and Lotus. Database applications like MS Access, SAS, or SPSS will be required to fully manage these research files.

Copying individual report pages into your spreadsheet application is possible if your computer is using the most current operating systems and spreadsheet application versions.

Selecting a Research File

Research files that contain the aggregate score data for the California Standards Test, CAPA, and the CAT/6 assessments are available in two formats; fixed length ASCII and comma delimited. A state level research file containing the state, county, district, and school data for “All Students” (no demographic subgroup data) will be available in both formats. In addition, a similar state level research file containing the data for “All Sub-Groups” will be available in both formats.

Files can also be downloaded for any single county or district. School only files are not available. These files will contain all data (all subgroups and tests) for all entities comprising the selected entity. For example, if a district file is selected, the data for all schools in that district will be included in the file. The research files are comma delimited and zipped to allow easier download and file import management.

The entities file contains all school, district, and county names. This file must be merged with the research file to join these entity names with the appropriate score data. A database program such as MS Access is most appropriate for this purpose.

ASCII file layouts and value lookup tables are available. Click   to view and/or download the aggregate and entities file layouts. Users of comma delimited research files will find these layouts useful in confirming the sequence of elements as well as value lookup.

A database “shell” is another alternative provided at this site. Once downloaded to the users computer, this application provides a powerful school, district, CDS, and ZIP code search capability as well as a formatted report containing all the data for the selected entity. This MS Access 2000 shell contains all entity data and is designed to import any of the selected state, county, or district comma delimited files. MS Access 2000 must already be installed on your computer.

Compression Software Requirements

Files downloaded from this site are compressed. If uncompression software is not already installed on your computers, it is available at the following locations:
  • For PC Users – Use uncompression software such as WinZip (An evaluation copy of Winzip is available at no cost at
  • For Mac Users – Use uncompression software such as Stuffit Expander (Stuffit Expander is available at no cost from Aladdin Systems at


Instructions for Downloading Data Files

  1. Check your application software manuals to verify which record format best suits your needs.
  2. From the STAR Test Results Home page (, select the STAR Test Data results for the desired year.
  3. On the left side-bar, select “Research Files. For SABE/2 refer to page XXX.
  4. Downloading a statewide file:
    1. Double-click on one of the four statewide files listed.
    2. Save the compressed file to your computer.
    3. Uncompress the zipped file. There will be two files saved to your computer; a results data file and an entity file.
    4. These files are now ready to be imported into an appropriate application.
  5. Downloading a county/district file:
    1. In the Search Panel, select a county or district.
    2. Select Downloadable Research Files. A county and district downloadable file will now be listed under the County/District-level files heading.
    3. Double-click on the desired county or district files.
    4. Save the compressed file to your computer.
    5. Double-click on the appropriate entity file.
    6. Save the compressed file to your computer.
    7. Uncompress the zipped files.
    8. These files are now ready to be imported into an appropriate application.
  6. Downloading the 2003 Access Database Shell (Note: MS Access2000 must already be installed on the target computer)
    1. Under the Access Database – Main Component heading, select 2003 Access Database – Main Component.
    2. Save the compressed file to your computer.
    3. Uncompress the zipped file to your computer.
    4. Identify and download a statewide, county, or district file containing the data you wish to evaluate according to the directions above. Be sure to place the uncompressed data file in the same directory as the Access Database – Main Component.
    5. Open the Access Database. The program will give the user the option to import any score data file in the same directory.
    6. Select the file(s) to import. (Note: the Access Database – Main Component already contains all entity data.)

Alternative Search Methods

In both the Search Panel and on the Research File description page, three search lists are identified:

  • View County List
  • View District List
  • View Charter School List

Select the list corresponding to the data wish to download. The resulting list will be alphabetical and give you the option of viewing the report or downloading the research data. Double-click on your selection and use the directions above to complete the downloading of your data.

The Search button on the left navigational button also provides a powerful search tool. Selecting the Search button returns a search form. The user can enter any combination of elements into the form and return all schools that meet that criteria. These elements include:

  • County
  • District
  • School
  • Zip Code
  • CDS Code


California Department of Education

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