Requesting Student Level data

To protect student privacy, the Family Education Records Privacy Act  of 1974 (FERPA) restricts the public release of student-level data by state education agencies.  FERPA does include circumstances under which the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) is authorized to release data from an education record.  Ohio Revised Code § 3301.12 grants to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction the authority to approve the release of this information to research organizations conducting studies on behalf of ODE.

Research institutions wishing to conduct evaluative studies using student-level data must file a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with ODE.  The MOU will, among other things, detail the expectation that the research organization will assume responsibility for the ongoing protection of the education records upon receipt of the data.

Researchers wishing to file an MOU requesting student data should contact the Ohio Education Research Center (OERC).  To place your inquiry about the use of student-level data for research, please contact Lisa Neilson of the OERC at

Researchers will be asked to provide basic information about the proposed scope of work, including but not limited to, the institution that would host the data, as well as the principal investigator (graduate students must include their advisors as the principal investigator).  OERC will work with ODE to review the initial proposal and, if the proposal aligns with the department’s research agenda, the researcher will be asked to complete a full application.

Researchers are required to provide a detailed list of data elements requested for the purpose of the research study.  ODE collects student, staff, course and organizational data via the Education Management Information System (EMIS). Prior to contacting CHRR, researchers are advised to review the EMIS Manual to ensure the set of data elements necessary for the intended research are available.

For general questions about research at ODE, please contact Eben Dowell in the Office of Data Quality.

Last Modified: 11/16/2015 9:09:52 AM