Using WINSS Legacy Download Options

WINSS   Data Analysis


Important Notice: WINSS raw data files accessible from the Legacy Download Options page are no longer updated. Except for Coursework, more complete, more recent, and more easily accessible data files are available from other sources. For the most current available information about WINSS download options, including how to access the most up-to-date files, see WINSS Download Options and WISEdash Data Files.

The information provided below applies only to the use of Legacy Download Options. Use of Legacy Download Options is no longer recommended except as a way to download coursework data files.




How do I get started?

Step 1: Go to WINSS Legacy Download Options

Step 2: On the "Download Options" page, select years, CESA locations, and questions of interest.

Not all data are available for all years. For more information about location options, see CESA map. If you want data for all districts and schools statewide, then select all the CESAs.

Step 3: Click on SUBMIT at the bottom of the page.

Up to 15 checkboxes may be selected per request. Each combination of year, location and question are included in a seperate file in comma delimited format (*.csv).

Step 4: On the "Confirm Your Selection" page, check your selections. Click on BACK to edit your selections or DOWNLOAD NOW to proceed.

The data files you selected will be bundled in a single self-extracting zip-archive for download.

Step 5: Follow on-screen directions, or click on DOWNLOAD, RUN, and then RUN. In the "unzip to folder" box, type in a path (e.g. c:\winss). Click on UNZIP.

step 6: Use spreadsheet, data base, or other software to open the files.

You'll find your files in the folder you entered in Step 5 (e.g. c:\winss). Many users can double click on the file name to open it in Excel.

  WINSS Download Options

WINSS Download Confirmation Page

Unzip dialog box

What data are included in the downloadable csv files?

Each row/record of each file includes fields or columns of data about a specific education agency, student group, and topic. All files about the same topic have the same layout so they can be combined using spreadsheet software by copying and pasting rows/records.

Education Agency. All files have a fixed set of education agency information: year, agency_key, CESA, district_number, school_number, agency_type, school_type, charter, district_name, and school_name. In most files you will see the following agency_types: 03 = Districts, 04 = Public schools within district (includes charter schools other than 4C and 49), 4C = multi-district charter school (s. 118.40(3)(c), Wis. Stats., not chartering authority), and 49 = Nondistrict charter schools (s. 118.40(2r), Wis. Stats.). The range of agency_types varies by topic because agency_types covered by state- and federally-mandated data collection requirements vary by topic. Some data collections, for example, are at the district level, and no school level data are available. Agency_key, district_number, school_number, agency_type are assigned by DPI and are available in WINSS files to facilitate joining records across files.

Student Group. Student group information varies by topic because its relevance and availability varies by topic. Most files include grade_label, race_ethnicity, gender, and enrollment. Grade_label is the grade range of the relevant data collection or a specific grade within that range. All data about students included in each row are limited to students enrolled in the grade or grade range identified by the grade_label regardless of school_type or agency_type.

Topic. Topic information varies by WINSS question or topic within a question. For example, "What percent of students attend school each day?" includes actual_days_of_attendance, possible_days_of_attendance, and attendance_rate. "What are the graduation rates?" includes number_of_graduates, number_of_cohort_dropouts, and graduation_rate.

All the data included in WINSS graphs and on-line tables are available in these files. In addition, counts used in calculation of averages, rates, or percents will be included in these files if left off WINSS graphs/on-line tables due to lack of space (not for privacy reasons). These are public files so some topic data are suppressed to protect student privacy.


  • Some spreadsheet software will remove leading zeroes used in joining files. If you want to maintain leading zeros in the agency_key, district_number, school_number, and/or agency_type fields, then refer to instructions.
  • To download data for all districts and schools statewide, select all of the CESA checkboxes. Because data for each CESA will be included in a separate file, you will need to copy and paste rows from each CESA file into a single statewide file. This should take an experienced user about 5-10 minutes.
  • Does the file contain more rows/records than you want? You can use Excel to highlight the row containing fieldnames then select Data->Filter-> to view or copy rows of interest.
  • Do you want to filter by agency information not available in the WINSS download files? Additional education agency information (e.g. locale code, county, title I, etc.) is available in other files downloadable from the DPI Website. This information may be added to WINSS data files by joining records using keys such as Agency_key, district_number, school_number, agency_type.

See also:

WINSS Download Options
WISEdash Data Files
Using WINSS Data Analysis
Tips for first-time users of the Data Analysis Section



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