State Education Agencies

Streamline State & Federal Reporting

Improved data quality and automation for state and federal reporting is a long-held priority for state educational agencies.

State Education Data Collection is Time Consuming, Error-Prone, and Inefficient

States are tasked with the collection of information from districts that impact a myriad of programs; including accountability metrics, funding needs and district support. Often this critical information is sent to state agencies incomplete, in various formats, and with errors. Agencies spend hundreds of hours and precious resources to correct and manage the data before it can be reported on with any amount of confidence, let alone used to spot trends or solve important challenges.

25%
Reduction of data burden

With Ed-Fi, Nebraska reduced the data burned on their district staff by 25%.

$16M
Annual Savings

Michigan saves $16.27 Million on district data submission annually.

30M
Transactions

The Ed-Fi API handles 30 million transactions a day in Wisconsin.

Dean Folkers

Chief Information Officer • Nebraska Department of Education

"Nebraska’s interoperability implementation plan reduced the financial and human capacity burden on districts while increasing the quality and timeliness of data with the opportunity to use data to support state learning goals."

Common Questions Before Getting Started

Take a look at the most common questions that we’ve received over the years to build your knowledge about Ed-Fi and get you started on the right foot.

  • What is a typical project timeline?

    There is no standard timeframe for an implementation because it can very based on the unique circumstances of every state. We recommend taking a small slice, use case, or collection first to ensure a quick win.  Because so many systems are reliant on state processes and there are calendar considerations to account for, typically states spend time on development cycles, pilots and testing to ensure data quality and fidelity of processes. However you choose to deploy,  you can be sure that Ed-Fi has been tested and proven in the field allowing you to chart a course that only gets better over time.

  • Who and what roles should be involved?

    A best practice is to have a senior leader act as a data champion for your Ed-Fi project. Engage your data governance process and bring together your data analysts and program leads, it’s also helpful to have one person as the designated Ed-Fi coordinator or project leader.

  • What are the best practices to coordinate with the vendors?

    Agencies are encouraged to ask their technology provider to be Ed-Fi certified; however, agencies should first understand their needs sufficiently to make this request.  As a community Ed-Fi includes a robust partner program with a number of active vendors. We offer certifications for Student Information Systems, Assessment vendors, and a range of badges to help you know that your vendors are capable of integrating with your Ed-Fi solution.

  • How should I involve my school districts?

    Establish a governance practice that involves your district participation, collaboration and team decision making.  Communicate with the district leadership early, consistently, deliver quick wins for your district users, deliver frequently and establish a solid process management and communication. 

  • How does Ed-Fi help me ensure data security and privacy?

    Ed-Fi was designed to capture the depth and breadth of student, staff, and contextual data (and much more) in a secure and manageable operational system. Data coming in through a secure API removes the necessity to send flat files, and secures data from being exposed to non-authorized personnel. Further, when you have a streamlined and modernized data architecture your agency can proactively ensure data privacy and security best practices.

  • What support do I get from the Alliance?

    The SEA strategic partnership team is here to provide the necessary help you need including onboarding you to Ed-Fi, providing training and offering ongoing technical support.  This offering is not a replacement to your technical staff or a system integrator.

How To Get Started With Ed-Fi to Streamline State and Federal Reporting

For states, we know you have calendar and budget frameworks you must work within and oftentimes established IT partners that help you along the way. Whatever your agency's specific situation, you and other stakeholders on your team will need to have a full understanding of the best practices steps and pre-work to manage a successful Ed-Fi implementation.

Option 1

Do It Yourself

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Step 1

Develop Your Business Case

To understand the benefits of a successful Ed-Fi implementation, you will begin developing a business case. You’ll identity agency challenges, document your priority use cases and needs, and present use cases to agency leaders and champions.

Step 2

Plan Implementation Logistics

Like all technology implementations, you will need to start with a strong project team and detailed project plan.

First, Establish a budget and secure resources. Then identify required staffing and level of effort estimates, and finally, set a realistic timeline.

Step 3

Develop Your Solution Architecture

Developing a solution architecture is an important tool of the Ed-Fi implementation project to facilitate collaboration, to increase communication and to provide vision and guidance.

First, understand the Ed-Fi Technology Stack. Second, create and maintain a high-level architecture diagram that reflects the modularity and boundaries of the system. Finally, share the architecture with the internal team and the stakeholders.

Step 4

Determine Technical Requirements

The flexibility of Ed-Fi Solution can be deployed in a on-premises and cloud-based platforms requires the implementers to evaluate and plan for the deployment solution and configuration best suited for your needs. First, understand the typical installation models and its configurations. Then determine the best deployment model that suits your needs, and finally make sure it adheres to your current practice if need be.

Step 5

Develop Data Specifications

As a state, you have unique data requirements, mapping that data to the Ed-Fi core will help you determine and communicate your state specific needs. First, identify and document all required data sets and systems. Then map your data and build any necessary extensions. Finally, execute a data governance structure based on best practices.

Step 6

Collaborate with School Districts and Technology Providers

Your districts and vendors are your essential partners in this implementation. A robust plan for communicating and working with all your stakeholders throughout your initial project and beyond will help you serve your districts and support a culture of data across your state. Start communicating early and assume that developing and refining API integrations will be an iterative process. Be sure to provide regular online meetings or calls to support technology provider developers, and provide your technology providers and school districts with a data portal or similar as a clearinghouse for all API needs.

Step 7

Deploy a Sandbox Environment

With your planning underway, you are now ready to develop and test. Stand up a sandbox installation and provide access rights to your vendors. Then start integration testing with a pilot district and a vendor. Finally, make sure to remove any barriers for your districts and vendors from testing successfully.

Get the Starter Kit

Option 2

Work with Tech Vendors

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Step 1

Education Technology Vendors

Vendors are an important part to bring the benefits of interoperability to your state. It is always a best practice to communicate early and often with all of your vendors that provide you with systems, like SIS and assessment vendors. Make sure these vendor-types are part of your planning process.

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System Integrators

While each state is different and has varying in-house resources and timelines, some states have had success by working with a system integrator that is familiar with Ed-Fi. In any instance, you will need to have a working understanding of the milestones and pre-work necessary for a successful implementation but a system integrator can help you along the way.
Contact us for a list of Systems Integrators that may be available to help you.

Contact Ed-Fi

Option 3

Share with a Colleague

Want to start your Ed-Fi journey but need to get other teammates involved? Send them an email with a link to this page to share this important information with them and start building your data team.

Send Email

We’re here to help.

The Ed-Fi team is standing by. Reach out to us at anytime.

Maureen Wentworth

Manager, Strategic Partnerships

Sayee Srinivasan

Solutions Architect, SEA