In any industry, there are times where there is an expansion of competitors and then, through several different factors, there is a contraction. This is no different than what is happening with data specifications and models that states and the federal government are using to pass all the data that they need to collect. Now, before you become narcoleptic, give this article a chance and let me explain what is really exciting about what is happening.
The National Council of Education Statistics (NCES) has released Common Education Data Standards 2.0 (CEDS). This has enabled the use of a common language and code sets for almost any data element that the education system needs. Standard Interoperability Framework (SIF), along with NCES, announced the new standard to pass CEDS “on the wire” including data specification of students’ academic careers. Specifically, SIF allows data such as: student demographics, enrollment, teacher demographics, and almost anything else to do with P - 20 education, to be easily transmitted within an organization and up to the state level. Full compliance with CEDS has the potential to make it easier for programmers and states to use the specification because of CEDS being a common language.
SIF’s recent specification, that will be released in April, also allow states and districts to transmit additional required data including: Staff Evaluation, Response to Intervention, Teacher of Record, and Assessments. Future SIF additions include Teacher Attendance and refining the collection of special education data.
The details included in the data collection process and the code sets is not the sexiest or most thrilling topic; however, the end result is something that all educators should embrace. The more that states and districts use SIF, the quicker the data can be gathered and collated in a way that makes sense to any teacher. Data that is accurate, informative, and easy to understand, allows educators to make instructional decisions that meet the learning needs of all students. Finally, the more educators know about their students, the closer and closer they get to one of the greatest benefits we can provide students... individualized learning.
James Yap and Teresa Ivey
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