Effort is first-of-its-kind in the U.S. and will be contributed back to the community to benefit other states

(Phoenix, Ariz., July 28, 2015) – Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas today announced the successful launch of AzEDS (Arizona Education Data Standards), Arizona’s new education data system. The historic transition to AzEDS represents a major milestone in the process of replacing Arizona’s current data system, SAIS.

“The accomplishments of our Information Technology (IT) team are nothing short of extraordinary,” said Superintendent Douglas. “They have done so much with so few resources and now their tireless work will reap untold benefits for Arizona schools and students. Having already been recognized as a Top 100 IT department worldwide by CIO Magazine, this effort only emphasizes how far they have come since their work began.”

AzEDS is expected to save schools and districts up to $57 million a year by reducing errors and improving efficiency with data collection. It will also greatly simplify reporting and improve data accuracy, which will save further money and allow teachers and administrators to focus on how data can help improve student achievement.

In order to save untold amounts of time and capital, the ADE IT development team constructed AzEDS by adopting community sourced technology from the Ed-Fi Alliance, instead of developing its own. By leveraging Ed-Fi technology, ADE IT was able to utilize it all to receive transactional data from an LEA such as student info, student enrollment, attendance, absences, staff and the student-teacher-course connections.

Now educators can have vital student information at their fingertips instantaneously with the click of a button. This is a crucial resource for teachers, who can then determine the specific needs of their students and create planning strategies based on that data.

Educators at underserved schools would often spend a tremendous amount of their time manually tracking assessment results in order to lesson plan. Thanks to AzEDS and being Ed-Fi Powered, that time and money can be re-directed back into the classroom.

Also, since Arizona is a state with a sizable transitory student population and a myriad of English-language learners, educators are now better equipped to adjust to these students. Previously, schools had to frequently re-test these students when they transferred into a district, now teachers know exactly where student these students left off at their preceding school.

“After getting an initial look at AzEDS, we are excited about its prospects and its ability to provide Arizona schools with reliable data,” said Vail Unified School District SAIS Outreach Coordinator Norm Purdy. “We expect that the new system will save schools throughout the state substantial amounts of time and money. We are eagerly looking forward to the transition.”

One of the system’s most attractive features is that the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) worked collaboratively with 13 vendors to provide schools with options at the local level and ease the transition. This approach avoids the pitfalls often associated with a one-size-fits-all, single-vendor system.

“As a leader in Student Information System solutions, we are excited to partner with ADE on their industry-leading AzEDS project,” said PowerSchool Managing Director Bryan MacDonald. “Ambitious projects like AzEDS are often challenging, but we share ADE’s vision and are committed to helping make AzEDS successful. While working to successfully complete the certification process for AzEDS with the ADE IT team, we were impressed with their ability to collaborate simultaneously with both schools and vendors throughout the state.”

Matching technology between the code of the vendors and AzEDS was one of the greatest challenges. However, Ed-Fi technology was able to provide an invaluable solution for that hurdle.

Since the Ed-Fi Data Standard serves as a unifying mechanism and technology for more than half of states, it simplifies the process for vendors and states.  By taking and implementing the existing file-based beta specifications, Arizona was able to map it to the Ed-Fi Data Standard.

“We leveraged the out-of-the-box Ed-Fi Data Standard as much as possible,” ADE IT Solutions Architect Britto Augustine said. “We used their Rest API code generator to generate source code from the data model, which became our receiving gateway for the student information systems and LEAs to test.”

Once QA testing was complete, the vendors were then allowed to test on their side. After the API was created, the use case document was then published, illustrating the data scenarios such as what elements of the Rest API to call with parameters and data.

Without such Ed-Fi-powered technology at its disposal, ADE IT would have needed to add years to its development of AzEDS. Instead, thousands of students and over 30 LEAs after only one month of implementation are already transitioned to the state’s new data system.

For more information on AzEDS, visit www.azed.gov/aelas/azeds/.