Our mission has always been to empower educators with real-time, comprehensive data from any technology tool, supporting every learner’s success. One of the defining phrases in this mission statement is, “from any technology tool”. Our goal is to allow educators to get secure, real-time data from any tool combined with any other tool in order to support meaningful data use in the classroom and at the school level.
In order to do this, we need technology providers on board in a big way.
We introduced the concept of Ed-Fi Certification in 2016, which was essentially a pathway for technology providers to demonstrate to education agencies that they know how to work with Ed-Fi and that they would adhere to the Ed-Fi Data Standards. What we learned was that while this was a successful start to bringing vendors together with education agencies around interoperability, it didn’t go quite far enough.
At the Ed-Fi Technical Congress in April of this year we heard from our entire community that we needed to invest more time and thought into our certification program. Through the leadership of the Ed-Fi Governance Advisory Team (GAT) they created a plan to address certification in a more complete and meaningful way. At the direction of the GAT we plan to put the following changes in place starting in January 2020:
- Availability Information. We will now ask technology providers to provide information on the availability of all functionality that was used to complete certification. That information must include both the geographical areas where the certified functionality is available and version information that applies to those geographies. The Alliance will publish information as part of the certification record, so that the Ed-Fi Community can understand availability. This will go along way in bringing clarity to functionality and how education agencies can engage with specific providers.
- Implementation Verification. Going forward we will ask technology providers seeking an Ed-Fi Certification to provide a verification that the certified product functionality is in use at a minimum of 3 local education agencies (LEAs) who are members of the Ed-Fi community. The idea behind providing a level of validation — via community member validations — is to highlight that a technology provider is invested in and achieving standards-based data exchange in the “real world.” This is what matters to the Ed-Fi community.
- Ed-Fi Badges. This is a new concept to Ed-Fi and will allow product developers to demonstrate support for Ed-Fi standards and technology, particularly in areas that are not yet covered by an Ed-Fi Certification. Many products that use Ed-Fi standardized APIs or integrate natively with Ed-Fi technology tools (such as the Ed-Fi Operational Data Store and API) are forging new ground in terms of defining data integration use cases valuable to schools. Badges allow these efforts to be validated and recognized by the community. Starting in January, Ed-Fi will offer three badges for technology providers; API Provider Badge, API Consumer Badge and ODS Platform Consumer Badge.
One of the important roles that the Ed-Fi Alliance plays is to serve as a voice of education agencies and to bring agencies together with technology providers to achieve interoperability at scale. This is a big goal and it does not come with out some big changes in the current landscape. With adjustments to the Ed-Fi Certification program and the introduction of the badging concept our governance process is clearly doing its job and we are delivering Community-developed tools to push us all forward in achieving these goals.
If you’d like to learn more information about the certification changes and the badging opportunities please attend our 2019 Summit sessions “Ed-Fi Partner Program: What You Need to Know” on Monday, September 30 @ 1:15pm and “Ed-Fi Certification Past, Present and Future” on Tuesday, October 1 @ 4:30pm.