By Jason Hoekstra, Sr. Program Manager

We are excited to share two major technical releases this month:  the Ed-Fi ODS/API v2.5 and the Sample Data Generator.  The Ed-Fi ODS/API v2.5 introduces important changes to the assessment domain and API, and the Sample Data Generator is a tool that generates realistic sample data to support development of ODS/API and dashboard projects.  Both releases will be major topics at the 2018 Ed-Fi Summit within the technical track (you are registered and ready, right?). Let’s dig into some of the highlights and details.  

Ed-Fi ODS/API 2.5 

The Ed-Fi ODS / API v2.5 introduces changes to the assessment domain and Assessment API, based on feedback from our community and working groups.  With this release, it is now possible to directly source assessment data from vendors through the API.  This functionality is significant as we are providing a better pathway for API integrations and lowering necessary costs and efforts spent on custom integrations.  Please note, this release introduces changes to the API surface in the assessment domain, so planning will need to take place if migrating from older v2.x versions of the ODS / API.  Details on the exact changes can be found at Ed-Fi Data Standard v2.2 

This release is provided to enable better real-time access to outcome data for teachers and district leaders.  We know many of you are working on data visualizations for district and classroom-level views and this release will help populate those projects with data that your users are asking for. 

We’ve recently hosted a webinar on the changes in the Ed-Fi ODS/API v2.5 and the associated Ed-Fi Data Standard v2.2 changes, which walks through these changes in detail and covers suggested upgrade paths.  

Sample Data Generator 

Tell me if this story sounds familiar?

You need some test data to start a new project or to support tracking down a bug.  You open a spreadsheet, start creating a section or two, then replicate those sections with copy and paste and randomize the section IDs down the list.  Those sections will need some students, so you’ll open a new tab in the spreadsheet and use a random name utility from the web and copy and paste in that data, then grab your section IDs from the section tab.  Now you need grades or attendance events, the cycle continues and grows more complex with each new data point.  The spreadsheet becomes too much to manage, so you figure you can create a quick script to automatically populate these files.  A half day assignment grew into a few days, you have a good test data set, however a list of “what-ifs” has been growing and the need for sample data has become a project within itself.  We’re exhausted just typing this.

If this story resonates, it’s because we’ve been there too. Enter the Sample Data Generator.

The Sample Data Generator (SDG) is a utility that produces realistic, cohesive, and 100% fictional datasets for use in development, demonstrations and testing.   Driven by configuration, the SDG can be used to create sample schools, districts and states, with the associated organizational, student, teacher, attendance and outcomes data that’s necessary.  The SDG supports our active Ed-Fi Data Standard versions, which is current v2.0, v2.2 and v3.0.  Source code can be requested for extensions and custom cases.   

We’re using the Sample Data Generator to create the next version of official sample data called “Northridge” (which will replace our beloved Glendale sample district).  Between now and the Summit, if you need a good sample data set, give the Sample Data Generator a try and let us know how it goes!