This blog, and the accompanying technical article, is intended to clarify some confusion we’ve noted within the Ed-Fi Community around support for multi-year data in the Ed-Fi ODS / API.

The Ed-Fi Unifying Data Model (UDM) carries date information on a number of entities that “naturally” have dates, such as Student Assessments, Attendance Events, Grades, and so forth. The Ed-Fi ODS / API is a concrete implementation of the Ed-Fi UDM, and as such, surfaces the longitudinal capabilities expressed in the UDM. Several longitudinal analysis use cases are enabled in the ODS today, including drop out recovery, graduation rates, and staff retention.

With this context, it is important to recognize that there is no hard and fast line denoting whether the Ed-Fi ODS / API is “single year” or “multi-year” capable. Rather, it is a data life cycle and operational decision regarding how much data to store in the ODS.

As with any technology, this is an evolving area. Not every entity or element with an interesting history has a date associated with it in the Ed-Fi data model, and the ODS / API must make design and performance trade-offs about how much historical data to store. The Alliance is currently developing temporal capabilities for the ODS / API that will, in effect, provide the ability to store, query and update begin/end dates for all entities in the Ed-Fi data model. Additionally, we will continue to engage with the community to identify where additional date support should be added to the Ed-Fi Data Standard itself.

Check out this technical article for more in-depth information on this topic.