Every school year, millions of students arrive in their classrooms as nothing more than a face and a name. Classmates at widely different levels of comprehension and need deserve teachers who can educate such a diverse group of learners. Sure, data about their histories, their successes and their challenges exists, but there’s an urgent need to put that information to work—without elaborate new programs or more daunting data entry.
We believe that meaningful data provided to educators in districts, schools, and classrooms plays a critical role in empowering educators to make better decisions about how to operate their schools, districts, and customize instruction for the benefit of each student. We’re not afraid to try new things – in fact, we believe part of the role of philanthropy is to push the envelope and do exactly that. So, in 2011, after five years of working with schools, we introduced the Ed-Fi data standard and technology suite.
We believe that to provide teachers, students and parents the information they need to make decisions in their classrooms, data systems must seamlessly connect student information to present a comprehensive, relevant, and timely picture of students’ learning needs. To get the full picture of a student’s current status and progress over time, data must be brought together from disparate source systems. However, some vendors lack incentives to standardize the transfer of data in/out of their tools, so tools don’t ‘talk’ to one another.
The foundation created the Ed-Fi technology suite to help solve this problem by creating a common language to define education data relevant to instruction and student outcomes, and to create a way to move data from disparate source systems to a single source of information that can be leveraged for integration, analysis, and reporting. The Ed-Fi Alliance publishes free and open tools that integrate and streamline K-12 data systems. For more information about the Ed-Fi Alliance and the Ed-Fi technology suite visit www.ed-fi.org.