Students use many applications and technology tools in school, and it is challenging to integrate data from the many applications used in a district into one interface that is usable for teachers and students. Currently, teachers spend a lot of time switching between applications and dashboards in order to understand student progress. Additionally, the way data is reported makes it difficult to take action based on data (e.g. at school a student has multiple teachers, but the platform may only allow data access to one teacher per student). It is also difficult to combine the data in a cohesive way because applications and organizations label and store data in different ways. The education community at large to-date has not adopted a unified data standard, though there are efforts to do so by organizations like Ed-Fi and IMS Global. Districts, schools, leaders, and educators need data interoperability tools that support their work and create actionable information systems.
In the Words of District Leaders
“Because everything we do is digital, I literally have a thousand data points per kid on just their schoolwork, classwork, exit tickets, that are all graded. Then, we use a lot of apps…. all of those individual apps generate a ton of data.”
Ideas from the Field
- Many districts are joining communities that support the adoption of a data standard
- Another common strategy involves districts creating procurement requirements so that all future products align to its standards for interoperability
- Starting small by improving the privacy of data that is shared piece by piece through an audit is a worthwhile investment for districts
Check out the following research-based resources for more information about data interoperability:
Digging into Data Interoperability with the League of Innovative Schools – From Digital Promise, this case study explores the challenges and solutions related to data interoperability offered across the field.
The State of Data Interoperability in Public Education – This infographic, informed by a survey of the Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools’ Data Interoperability Working Group, explores why data interoperability matters to forward-thinking districts.
Working Together to Strategically Connect the K–12 Enterprise: Interoperability Standards for Education – From CoSN, this report for non-technical leaders highlights the most important, widely used, and emerging standards and will help district technology leaders understand why interoperability standards matter.