Special Interest Groups

Ed-Fi Special Interest Groups (SIGs) are convened to address key important topics in the evolution of Ed-Fi standards and technology. Unlike governance workgroups, SIGs are initiated by the Alliance with a more narrow focus and designed to produce specific, discrete outputs. They therefore generally only meet a limited number of times. 

SIGs report their work out to to the Technical Advisory Group, who connect SIG outputs to to other Ed-Fi governance processes.

This space is used to record the activities and outcomes of Ed-Fi SIGs.

Current SIGs

Student Information Systems SIG

  1. Provide input on Ed-Fi standards and Certification, to help ensure these reflect SIS capabilities and industry best practice. 
  2. Provide input on the open-source Ed-Fi technology roadmap, to help ensure its features support needs critical to SIS systems and the vendor community more broadly (e.g., specific authorization configuration, API performance or performance monitoring, roadmap and release practices, etc.)
  3. Identify community best practice and assist the Ed-Fi Alliance in monitoring and improving alignment to Ed-Fi standards. This includes suggesting ways to monitor and improve the alignment of state and other Ed-Fi-based specifications with Ed-Fi's standards, and includes proposing improvements to programmatic work of the Alliance with State Education Agencies, Managed Service Providers, System Integrators and other to align the community to reflect and align to best practice.
  4. Serve as a community-of-practice for SIS systems to learn from each other, especially but not exclusively in the area of Ed-Fi support.

API Standard SIG 2023

With Project Meadowlark gaining steam, the ODS/API continuing to strengthen, and non-traditional API hosts exploring new models using an Ed-Fi API, the time has come for revising and reforming the definition of "an Ed-Fi API".

The Ed-Fi Alliance has formal API Guidelines, in addition to the Data Standard. Last revised in 2019, we have an opportunity to turn the guidelines and into an API Standard, while answering the question: what does it mean to be an Ed-Fi compliant API? 

Audience: API hosts, consumers, and data producers.

Managed Service Provider SIG 2023

  1. Identify critical new features or requirements for the Ed-Fi technology platform and related tools which are needed to serve projects of large scale. Work to propose and define solutions to these.
  2. Identify the ways Alliance programs and services can assist or play critical roles in the success of Ed-Fi LEA-focused implementations with state-wide or similar scope.
  3. Identify services, new technologies, or collaborations within the community that could accelerate the progress of large-scale LEA-data-services focused implementations.
  4. Discuss and identify critical accelerators that can reduce time-to-market for large projects or remove other obstacles to faster implementation, and propose solutions that can assist the community in overcoming those.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion
  1. Gather input on the needs for changes in Ed-Fi language to reflect DEI concerns of Ed-Fi community members.
  2. Use some of the currently created discussions at the Data Standard ticket system as the starting point and make recommendations on those matters.
  3. Recommend changes on other part of the Ed-Fi language and define good practices on the DEI related issues in the future.
Special Education Program 
  1. Gather input on opportunities for expansion and improvement of the data model particularly those changes needed by active field work.
  2. Recommend changes to the data model and standards artifacts to assist the community in greater adoption and usage and remove roadblocks. 
Early Childhood Program
  1. Gather input on opportunities to create, expand and improve the Ed-Fi data model around Early Childhood Domain space particularly those changes needed by active field work.
  2. Recommend changes to the data model and standards artifacts to assist the community in greater adoption and usage and remove roadblocks. 
ODS API Feature Enhancements
  1. Provide input on field usage of existing features
  2. Make recommendations to the Ed-Fi Alliance on prioritizing feature backlog.
  3. Make recommendations to the Ed-Fi Alliance on discontinuation of features that are proving low value to field work

Past SIGs

Project Meadowlark Special Interest Group

Project Meadowlark is a research and development effort to explore potential for use of new technologies, including managed cloud services, for starting up an Ed-Fi compatible API.

Special Interest Group goals:

  1. Provide input to requirements and design.
  2. Provide review and feedback of "product" demonstrations.
  3. Make recommendations, as appropriate, to the Ed-Fi Alliance about future technology choices.
Data Import 2022
  1. Understand and define pain points that Ed-Fi implementations experience while using Data Import as an Extract-Transform-Load (ETL) solution for non-API based data.

  2. Understand other solutions that may be available for reliable ETL pathways for non-API based data.

  3. Inform Data Import future development and roadmap priorities from community blockers, issues and identified needs

Managed Service Provider SIG
  1. Define pain points that Managed Service Providers (MSP) experience in implementing Ed-Fi technology and making it available to community members as productized offerings. 
  2. Provide input into and feedback on the Alliance’s products and roadmap especially as it relates to deployment, automation, security, management, and other priority concerns.
  3. Discuss ideas and opportunities to unblock managed providers in ways that help them scale their offerings. 
College, Career, Military Readiness (CCMR) Special Interest Group

The CCMR SIG will convene community members to:

  1. Provide input into and feedback on the Alliance’s work to support CCMR use cases in the data standard and technology through delivery of a CCMR-focused starter kit.
  2. Discuss the current source data availability to answer these CCMR questions.
  3. Confirm priorities in the college, career, and military components of CCMR.
  4. Confirm end user roles that will benefit from using the CCMR Starter Kit.

Learning Management Systems Data and Analytics

The goals of the SIG are as follows:

  1. Identify and prioritize primary use cases for LMS data within the Ed-Fi community
  2. Provide input into and feedback on the Alliance's work to deliver a Starter Kit focused on LMS data and on the LMS Toolkit more generally
  3. Provide direction on the overlap of the current Gradebook data domain with the evolving LMS data model and review the Gradebook model generally.

Special Education Program 
  1. Gather input on opportunities for expansion and improvement of the data model particularly those changes needed by active field work.
  2. Recommend changes to the data model and standards artifacts to assist the community in greater adoption and usage and remove roadblocks. 
Ed-Fi in Containers

The goals of this special interest group are to produce a set of architecture and maintenance recommendations for containerized distribution of the Ed-Fi ODS / API platform and platform tools, suitable for deployment on products like Docker or other container technologies).

These recommendations will address elements like:

  • which container platforms and environments to target for such distributions
  • which elements of the Ed-Fi platform should be containerized services, and how those services should be decomposed
  • what are the interfaces common across services (e.g. logging) and what configuration options should exist for those
  • if there are other architecture components that could be shared by the community (e.g. load balance or caching containers)
  • how often to apply OS patches or other procedures for ongoing maintenance

Course Transcript Exchange

The goals of the Special Interest Group are to:

  1. Gather input on opportunities for expansion and improvement of the data model and API, particularly those changes needed by active field work
  2. Recommend changes to the data model and related standards artifacts to assist in greater adoption and usage, and remove roadblocks

Strategies for Data Out from the ODS / API

The goals of this Special Interest Group are to convene community experts to:

  • Collect and document data out use cases

  • Review and prioritize community needs and use cases in this area

  • Provide actionable recommendations for the Ed-Fi Technology Roadmap

Open Source Rules Engine and Validation API

The goals of this Special Interest Group are to convene community experts to:

  1. Review and provide input to the deliverables from the Alliance-sponsored work
  2. Identify an Ed-Fi implementation to adopt one of the proposed approaches to data validation. 
  3. Identify an Ed-Fi implementation that can serve as a testbed for implementation of the Validation API - which involves (a) technical implementation of the Validation results API and (b) working with one or more SIS vendors to integrate their products with the API.

Ed-Fi Integration with Google Classroom

The goals of this Special Interest Group are to convene community experts to:

  • Define and refine use cases around the integration of Ed-Fi and Google Classroom.
  • Propose technical solutions to enable prioritized use cases.

The initial use cases in scope are:

  • Rostering Google Classroom from the Ed-Fi ODS / API
  • Pushing notifications based on Ed-Fi data into Google Classroom

Data Import 2019

The Ed-Fi Alliance will convene a special interest group (SIG) with the following objectives in mind:

  • The Alliance will convene a group of active and participating members around the usage of a technology solution to import non-API data sources in the Ed-Fi ODS / API.
  • Members will be expected to install, configure, map local data sources, import, test, quality check, and report results with pre-release versions of the Data Import solution.
  • Members will be expected to participate in SIG conference calls and electronic exchanges to share experiences and help shape future development priorities (scheduled to begin the week of February 18, 2019).
  • Member attendees of the 2019 Ed-Fi Tech Congress will be invited to attend an in-person convening for this SIG.

Record Level Ownership in the Ed-Fi ODS

The goals of this Special Interest Group are to convene community experts to:

  • discuss the design proposed by Arizona DOE for record level ownership and authorization in the Ed-Fi ODS / API, and provide recommendations on implementation or alternative designs
  • consider if there are adjacent use cases that could leverage the same model, and invite community members with similar use cases to participate in the design recommendations so as to maximize the possibility that a record level ownership options would be broadly useful and become part of Ed-Fi core technology

Open Source Databases and Database Diversity

The Special Interest Group (SIG) on “Open Source Databases and Database Diversity” will work to define and shape community activity in the area of open source and other database platforms. Specifically, it will

  1. review and prioritize community needs and use cases in this area
  2. provide actionable recommendations for the Ed-Fi Technology Roadmap specifically
  3. provide recommendations for the Ed-Fi Community member work in this area more broadly (for example, for community members or field projects pursuing implementations on other database platforms)

Analytics Middle Tier

Querying the Ed-Fi ODS is very challenging due to its highly-normalized structure. This is often a stumbling-block for creation of reporting solutions and adoption of analytics self-discovery tools. The Ed-Fi Alliance is publishing a technical paper analyzing this yawning gap between data storage and data reporting, and providing concomitant architectural recommendations and patterns for overcoming that gap. The paper particularly focuses on provision of data to an Early Warning System, although the patterns will easily support other use cases in the future.

We call the proposed solution the Analytics Middle Tier. This Special Interest Group (SIG) is being convened to solicit community feedback on the proposed architecture, with the goal of publishing the final report before the Ed-Fi Summit in October.

Data Exchange and Extensibility in Ed-Fi Suite 3

This special interest group (SIG) has a few goals:

  • Provide an initial content for data model collaboration for education agencies, including suggestions/proposals for the core data model and sharing of extension models.  
  • Provide a context to discuss other ODS/API technologies or information to support the community and agencies in the move to Ed-Fi Suite 3.
  • Provide a current stream of technical and related information for agencies interested in moving to Ed-Fi Suite 3.

Temporal ODS Early Adopters Program

The primary goal of this special interest group is to get real world, community feedback on multi-year use cases, to inform a decision of whether to incorporate T-ODS into Ed-Fi Core (or release it via the Ed-Fi Exchange).

Assessment API Vendor Integration

Gather input from vendors actively integrating with the ED-FI RFC 8 - ASSESSMENT OUTCOMES MANAGEMENT API (Inactive) in order to make changes to the underlying assessment domain model and API structures in order to support exchange of assessment data via REST API. The SIG was driven by vendor reports / tickets published in the Ed-Fi Tracker, and was limited to vendors actively in technical implementations against the Ed-Fi assessment specifications.

Bulk Data Exchange Over REST API

The RESTful ODS API, operating on a highly normalized data model, has proven inefficient for secure access to large amounts of data. Community members have also voiced interest in alternatives to the current XML specifications, both as XML is perceived as heavyweight and with a desire to re-use designs and code from current Ed-Fi REST API clients (which consume and produce JSON).

This Special Interest Group will document use cases and review design work-in-progress related to synchronization or transfer of large data sets via REST API.

Data Quality and API ReliabilityInvestigate API transaction and data quality issues in current Ed-Fi API implementations and recommend API features or other actions that help API client systems recognize and improve efficiency.
Ed-Fi EnumerationsRecommend directions for at the future of enumerations support in Ed-Fi data exchange standards, considering both needs around highly-localized operational contexts (e.g. state reporting) and broad contexts (e.g cross-vendor interoperability to support personalized learning). 

Expanding Date Support in Ed-Fi Technology

Investigate and recommend approaches to enhancing Ed-Fi technology to provide expanded support for use cases related to historical data.

Ed-Fi Dashboards v2.0 Release

Recommend processes and materials needed by the community for adopting the Ed-Fi Dashboards v2.0 upgrade.

Vendor-Vendor Data Exchange

Identify opportunities for Ed-Fi standards and technology to enable vendor-to-vendor data exchange.