Institutional Master File

The IMF data sets are rectangular flat files containing numeric and character data. The size of each file varies according to the reporting year. The 1967-1981 files are stored on two 2400 ft. magnetic tapes at 6250 bpi. The unit of analysis for all records within each file is the institution (the individual public or private school, BOCES, or District.)

The IMF contains four distinct record types: the School Data Record (including public and private schools), District Data Record, and BOCES Data Record. Each record begins with a header section identifying the institution type, its name and location, and the name of its chief officer. Each record also includes data on the facility's number and type of staff, enrollment statistics, current programs, and educational resources.

The key identifying elements in the header section, such as record type, school code, name and location, are consistent from year to year. However, the specific questions asked about programs and facilities vary slightly on each survey, causing significant changes in the way the data is coded. All changes have been identified by SED and are reflected in the annual codebooks in Appendices A - C of this Guide.


ICE generates several annual reports based on IMF data. These reports and associated publications are listed below.

  1. High School Distribution - The report lists the number and percent distribution of graduates going on to post-secondary education, employment, military service, and other activities. The reports are arranged according to individual schools and include district, county, region, and state summaries. The report is published as Distribution of High School Graduates and College-Going Rate.
  2. High School Dropout Rate (public and non-public) - The report identifies the number of dropouts and the dropout rate from the previous school year. It is arranged according to school and includes county, regional, and state summaries.
  3. Schools by Grade Organization (public and non-public)- The report produces a list of schools with each of the different possible combinations of grades such as grades 1 and 2, grades 1,2 and 3, etc. Each category includes a summary page which counts the number of schools for each county within a specified region. The report also includes upstate and statewide totals.
  4. Grade by Grade Enrollment Figures for Non-Public Schools by County and Affiliation - The report is used to produce the non-public school enrollment publication. It is organized according to county and diocese or group affiliation.
  5. Public and Non-Public Enrollment Totals by District - The report produces enrollment statistics for each district. It provides separate statistics for public and non-public schools. The report also includes the total enrollment figures for each district.
  6. Listing of Schools with a Grade 12 (public and non-public) - Originally, this report was generated only by special request. However, SED received numerous requests for the list and instituted it as a standard annual report.
  7. Grade by Grade Enrollment Figures for Non-Public Schools by County and Region - This run produces two reports. The first summarizes data for all non public schools, with the exception of those regulated by the Department of Mental Hygiene, the Department of Correctional Services, and the Division for Youth. The second report provides summary data for the schools not included in the first report.
  8. Directory of School Administrators (public and non-public) - The report produces the listings used to compile the publication, Directory of School Administrators.
  9. School District Code Manual - The report produces the listings used to compile the publication, Code Manual of Public School Districts.
  10. School District Enrollment Projections - The report projects the enrollment by district for the next 3 years based upon the enrollment data contained on the two most current years of the IMF.
  11. Annual Educational Summary: Statistical and Financial Summary of Education in New York State - The information in this publication is compiled from IMF reports and ICE's ST-3 financial reporting system. The publication presents annual statistics on school district enrollment and finances. It also illustrates financial trends for previous years. The majority of the information is presented in summary tables and figures. However, individual school district data are shown for revenues, expenditures, property value and attendance.


Every October, on "Information Day," school administrators compile data for the IMF using three forms (see Appendix D of this guide for sample forms):

  1. School Data Form - completed by principals of public and non-public schools.
  2. School District Data Form - filled out by the district's superintendent of schools.
  3. BOCES - completed by the BOCES district superintendent.

After the forms are returned to SED, small batches of data are processed, edited and errors are identified. Asterisks are substituted for invalid data. However, it is possible that questions with a high percentage blank responses have been left blank or filled with spaces by SED staff. Such occurrences are identified in Appendices A - C of this guide. The batches are then added to a skeletal master file which already contains identifying and geographic data on the school, district, or BOCES.


The records are sorted and linked by the 12 digit school code developed by SED. This code identifies the following information:

1-2 County Location
3-4 City/Town Location
5-6 School District Number
7-8 District Type
9-12 School Code Within District

The 1967-1981 IMF files are stored, by year, on 2 magnetic tapes. The records in each file are arranged within that year by school code. The records have not been separated physically according to record type, rather they are stored as a single annual file. However, ICE created annual file layouts which provide the data specifications for each record type. The individual records can be accessed via the first variable, "Record Type" which is defined as follows:

1 = Public School
2 = Non-Public School
3 = District


Each codebook represents a different record type in the IMF: School, District, and BOCES. The codebooks have been arranged according to record type in order to reflect this difference and to facilitate longitudinal comparisons between common data sets. Each section begins with an introduction which describes standard variables and their coding structure. The introduction also identifies significant variables that are not standard to the IMF, but do occur in more than one file. This section also identifies variables with a high number of undefined values. Where possible, explanations have been given for the undefined variables.

It should be noted that BEDS did not compile BOCES statistics until 1970. Also, in 1968, the public and non-public school code books were combined into a single document. Institution-specific questions have been identified in the "REMARKS" section of the code book.

The following example is taken from the 1967 Public School Code Book. The letters in parentheses refer to the explanations which follow the sample.


Project: IMF (A)
Program: ICE (C) 
Record Size: 1322 CHARACTERS (D)
Number of Records: 4529(E)

field description code equiv. card col. #char remarks
DATA FLAG   14 1 1=YES 0=NO

(A) Indicates that this is a file layout for the Institutional Master File.
(B) Identifies the specific data set defined in the file layout.
(C) Specifies the name of the State Education Department that created the data set.
(E) Identifies the total number of records contained in the data set. Note: This does not indicate the total number of records for the entire 1967 IMF, rather it identifies the total number of 1967 Public School Records.
(F) Describes the variable being examined.
(G) Identifies the code values for the variables. This has often been left blank by ICE staff. This column is most frequently used to indicate when the breakdown of a particular data set should be repeated for the next data set.
(H) Specifies the variable's physical position in the data set.
(I) Calculates the number of characters in the variable.
(J) Identifies valid codes for the variables and other comments associated with the variable. Also indicates whether a particular variable has a significant amount of undefined values (unless already identified in the "POTENTIAL PROBLEM AREAS" section of this manual). NOTE: a ^ in this section indicates that the section is filled with spaces.

Each code book contains several variables which are used to identify the specific institution being analyzed. Four of these data elements are accessed through codes developed by SED. The coded information is defined in the "Code Manual for Public School Districts in New York State." This manual is published periodically by SED's Information Center on Education. The manuals that are relevant to the 1967-1981 IMF files were published in 1968, 1970, 1971, 1976, 1978, and 1980. Copies of these manuals are available in the State Archives.

The following variable codes can be defined using the code manuals:

  1. School Code
  2. Associated Supervisory District Code
  3. BOCES Code The Code Manual began to include valid BOCES codes in 1976. For earlier codes, contact the State Education Department Information Center on Education.