The following state snapshots present a short synopsis of where states are in the interoperability process and how they are developing and implementing interoperability solutions.
Delaware is in the early stages of tackling interoperability at the state and district level. Delaware was an early adopter of the Ed-Fi data standard at the state level while districts are adopting the IMS Global standards. Both Ed-Fi and IMS Global standards can be effectively used together. A primary issue that Delaware is facing is how to work with existing vendor applications within the state that use differing technologies and data standards. Delaware is investigating ideas for taking the next steps for interoperability that unite the needs of state data collection and warehousing with district goals for digital content to personalize learning.
Georgia created a Statewide Longitudinal Data System (SLDS) that includes most of the applications that districts need. Georgia decided that it was easier to build this integrated system internally than to purchase vendor products. The SLDS application uses the IMS Global QTI standard for assessment, the IMS Global LTI standard for integrating digital content and student information systems. Any subsequent applications that need to interface with the SLDS system can be integrated using current interoperability standards. Georgia’s Total Learning Architecture project, a statewide open ecosystem build on technical standards, enables a blend of traditional, virtual, personalized and competency-based learning. This open total learning architecture is an evolving set of standardized web services to facilitate sharing of essential data between applications. Learn more about this project by watching this video. In addition, Georgia is using the SEED application that allows participating states to track, monitor, and share information for students who transfer across states. SEED utilizes the CEDS standards. Georgia developed, operates, and maintains the centralized point of exchange for routing requests and responses for information related to transfer students for participating states in SEED.
The Michigan Data Hub is the primary effort to tackle interoperability, which addresses the issue in three ways. The first is between local district data systems, the second is from the district data systems to the state data systems, and the third is from state data sources back to the local district level. Michigan is currently mapping the Statewide Longitudinal Data System and data collection efforts to the CEDS standards and to Ed-Fi where it is beneficial. The P-20 Data and Information Management office is reviewing all data systems to identify where duplication of data can be eliminated. Michigan is also exploring ways to make more information available via a single sign-on (SSO) utilizing a master person index at the state level and the data hub SSO at the local and regional level.
In Nebraska, a quest for interoperability started initially with a goal of providing an integrated near real time dashboard for teachers in addition to a study on Education Data Systems. Now known as ADVISER (Advanced Data Views Informing Student Educational Response), the project utilizes the Ed-Fi® technologies, data model, and API to begin the interoperability with student information systems, assessment systems, and includes special education systems. In addition, Nebraska is working to implement Generate (a project funded by the Office of Special Education (OSEP) through the Center for the Integration of IDEA Data (CIID). Generate supports the creation of data files required federal submission to EdFacts. In addition, using the Ed-Fi® Operational Data Store (ODS) Nebraska has been working to support the district submission of the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) reporting. Work continues to broaden the role of interoperability with other systems that support the Teaching and Learning process for students including the Single Sign On (SSO), application launch portal, academic advancement plan (for interim program schools), systems involved students, school financial data, and other systemic supports.
North Carolina uses a mandated enterprise statewide student information system that allows automatic transfer of student data across districts. The state also utilizes CEDS as the basis for the data dictionary for the state SLDS. Additionally, a statewide single-sign-on solution has been implemented which utilizes a unique ID for both students and staff. Therefore, data collections and data transfers between districts and with external partners are less challenging, yet there is a need to establish interoperability standards to be used across statewide applications and/or local applications to ensure that all systems can communicate seamlessly. Furthermore, North Carolina, through the Digital Learning Plan Initiative, has identified the need to provide a data dashboard which will include digital content usage data to enable district and state leaders to better understand how teachers are utilizing digital tools to improve student outcomes.
The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) is committed to taking steps in furthering its ability to use data to inform decision-making and increase opportunities for student success. As part of its 2017-19 Agency Strategic Plan, ODE is currently assessing ways in which it can more effectively simplify and streamline data collection and state reporting processes, as well as improve transparency and facilitate data use by all education stakeholders. Through this work, ODE, in conjunction with many statewide technology leaders, is promoting Project Unicorn, as an effort to improve data interoperability in K-12 education.
Utah currently maintains the UTREx/Data Clearinghouse that gathers and stores student data from schools. Utah has a statewide credentialing system, professional learning system, and a longitudinal data system. Utah is considering adopting a statewide data standard, developing a statewide student information system that includes a dashboard to facilitate use of the data. Utah is also currently piloting a student data privacy application vetting protocol which would engage a select group of district leaders across the state in vetting applications with the eventual goal of establishing a list of vetted applications that this consortium would curate.
Wisconsin’s primary focus on interoperability is on administrative student data leveraging the Ed-Fi framework. Wisconsin’s digital learning plan recommends the use of a common format for the learning management system that allows courses from any vendor or content developed in-house to be mixed and matched. Wisconsin utilizes an Ed-Fi enabled API and is currently working with an academic and career planning software system vendor to make the API bi-directional. This process will eliminate manual file transfer, improve the data quality, and eliminate the latency of the data transfer. Wisconsin plans to work with learning management systems and assessment vendors to develop future API certifications. Wisconsin is also adopting technical interoperability standards to ensure the seamless sharing of content and services among systems and applications.
Wyoming continues to explore interoperability opportunities at the state and school district level with successful SIF (A4L) implementation that enables different applications to share data, as well as for reporting over the last decade. A large number of school districts in the state are working with the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) and the Ed-Fi data standard for administrative data, which recently moved from the pilot stage and into production environment.