Rostering Development Guide

Welcome to the Rostering Development Guide!


The Rostering Development Guide provides a step-by-step process that can be used to integrate rostering via the Ed-Fi ODS / API into a technology provider platform. 

Summary

Step 1. Analyze and Map Data


In this step, you will determine the data needs for the intended target platform and find resources on mapping that data to Ed-Fi.

Analyze

At this initial stage, you will need to determine the specific roster data elements required to properly provision the target platform. If the platform is usually provided roster data via CSV files, remember that data from Ed-Fi in JSON format is much different. CSV files tend to repeat data and add elements that can otherwise be referenced in the Ed-Fi ODS / API. It may prove useful to start from the target platform's database schema in addition to, or instead of trying to use the CSV files to identify the set of data elements needed by the target platform.

Ed-Fi Enrollment API

The Enrollment API provides a service useful in a Web-based solution that requires a read-only, "pull" model of data exchange. In the pull model, a client system uses HTTP GETs as the mechanism to pull information from the data source hosting the API surface.

Using the Ed-Fi Enrollment API there is no way to determine transactional changes that may occur in the data. Meaning that every time data needs to be refreshed, all the data needs to be pulled and changes will need to be determined on the target platform.

Begin by looking through the Ed-Fi Enrollment API for Suite 3. This specification offers a synopsis of the Enrollment API as well as use cases, discussion, model diagrams, and additional considerations when pulling roster from the Ed-Fi ODS / API. There is also a public deployment of the Ed-Fi Enrollment API (as part of the Ed-Fi ODS / API Suite 3 v5.2.0). This deployment provides you with a way to interact with the Ed-Fi ODS / API via the Swagger UI and see sample data in the Ed-Fi JSON format. 

Using Change Queries

Change Queries is a feature of the Ed-Fi API. When the Change Queries feature is enabled on the host Ed-Fi API, clients are able to query for changes between specific "version" of the data. The Using the Changed Record Queries page of the API Client Developers' Guide walks through using the functionality to pull the data that has changed since the last pull. 

The Change Queries functionality is not available on the Ed-Fi Enrollment API, so in order to use this functionality data will need to be consumed from the individual resources. Begin by reviewing the definition and elements available in the list of resources below. Each resource listed can be reviewed in detail in the Ed-Fi API Suite 3 v5.2 Online Documentation (SwaggerUI). The Ed-Fi Data Handbook v3.2.0 also defines the data in a format that is not JSON or API specific.

resource
/localEducationAgenciesThis entity represents an administrative unit at the local level which exists primarily to operate schools or to contract for educational services. It includes school districts, charter schools, charter management organizations, or other local administrative organizations.
/schoolsThis entity represents an educational organization that includes staff and students who participate in classes and educational activity groups.
/studentsThis entity represents an individual for whom instruction, services, and/or care are provided in an early childhood, elementary, or secondary educational program under the jurisdiction of a school, education agency, or other institution or program. A student is a person who has been enrolled in a school or other educational institution.
/staffs

This entity represents an individual who performs specified activities for any public or private education institution or agency that provides instructional and/or support services to students or staff at the early childhood level through high school completion. For example, this includes:

  • An "employee" who performs services under the direction of the employing institution or agency is compensated for such services by the employer and is eligible for employee benefits and wage or salary tax withholdings.
  • A "contractor" or "consultant" who performs services for an agreed upon fee or an employee of a management service contracted to work on site.
  • A "volunteer" who performs services on a voluntary and uncompensated basis.
  • An in-kind service provider.
  • An independent contractor or businessperson working at a school site.
/sectionsThis entity represents a setting in which organized instruction of course content is provided, in-person or otherwise, to one or more students for a given period of time. A course offering may be offered to more than one section.
/staffSectionAssociationsThis association indicates the class sections to which a staff member is assigned.
/studentSchoolAssociationsThis association represents the School in which a student is enrolled. The semantics of enrollment may differ slightly by state. Non-enrollment relationships between a student and an education organization may be described using the StudentEducationOrganizationAssociation.
/studentSectionAssociationsThis association indicates the course sections to which a student is assigned.

Map

Once the specific data elements needed by the target platform have been determined, you will begin the process of identifying the Ed-Fi source for each of those elements.



Zoom out

Want to know more before you get started? The Ed-Fi website has detail on the challenge of Rostering and how the Ed-Fi solution can address the need.

Link: read more about Education Technology Vendors and how to Easily Pull Roster Data on Ed-Fi.org



Step 2. Develop the Solution


In this step, you'll take the outputs from the previous step and use them during the development to transform the data retrieved from the Ed-Fi ODS / API into the form used by the persistence layer in the target platform. Also, additional functionality will be developed to ensure better usability by the end user.

API Client SDK

Using the OpenAPI specification files for the Ed-Fi Enrollment API, you can kick-start your development effort by generating an SDK using one of many tools available to generate API SDKs from an OpenAPI specification file. A thorough list of SDK generators is available in the SDK Generators section of the OpenAPI Tools page. Included in this solution guide is a page Generating an SDK - Ed-Fi Roster that will walk you through the process. You can also refer to the Ed-Fi ODS / API SDK Guide to walk through generating a SDK in C#. Once you have the foundational SDK generated, the data mapping information compiled in the previous step can be used to transform the data retrieved from the Ed-Fi API into the format needed by the target platform.

API Client Best Practices

Take the time to read through all the pages available in the Ed-Fi API Client Developers' Guide. It contains information that is helpful to round out the backend of the API client code that is being developed. The guide includes information from the initial OAuth2 client credentials flow authentication to obtain a bearer token to Error Handling and Best Practices. These best practices are drawn from experience gathered from implementation in the Ed-Fi community. 

Platform User Experience

Although some user experience is covered in the API Client Developers' Guide, platform-specific user experience features can be added after generating the SDK, and adding the translation layer to persist the data in the target platform. The user experience pieces are a crucial part of the development as this will determine the usability and functionality available to the users of the system. Usability best practices include having API configuration, API log, and error resolution screens, as well as auto or manual resend capabilities. All of these product features ensure the client can maximize their usage of the API integration. Through community feedback, Ed-Fi has learned that the more information about the integration that is made available to the clients, the more issues they are able to resolve on their own. In the end, the data standard defines the shape of the data, but user experience can determine the overall usefulness and value to the customer of that data integration in the platform. 

Testing

Initial testing can be done using the public deployment of the Ed-Fi ODS / API v5.2.

Additionally, if deeper testing and more control of the Ed-Fi ODS / API environment is needed, there are a number of ways to quickly set up an environment for internal testing purposes.

Need help?

If you need assistance with a Solution Guide, engage an Ed-Fi representative via one of the support channels. 

Links:

More information

An Ed-Fi Roster Sample Application was developed as a minimal example of some best practices, Ed-Fi ODS / API roster capabilities, and a few different views of the data retrieved.

Link: Ed-Fi Roster Sample Application - Enrollment API



Step 3. Partner with a Client


In this step, you'll find a client partner and iterate the solution based on actual client usage feedback.


Find a Client Partner

The Ed-Fi Alliance has observed that the most successful Ed-Fi-based native platform integrations have come out of working with a client partner on the final stages of development. When partnering with a client, you can better determine the needs of the customer based on their feedback, and iterate the platform to make it more useable, relevant, and valuable to the customer. 

Conduct a Beta Phase

Once the client partner has been selected, begin by using a staging environment and the pre-release version of the Ed-Fi integration developed in the target platform. Next, utilize feedback and customer use cases to iteratively refine the Ed-Fi integration. Though this work, finalize a solid, robust Ed-Fi component in the target platform that will benefit the customer's actual needs.

Move to Production

When both parties feel comfortable with the state of the Ed-Fi features in the target platform, move the system into production with the client. Maintain contact with the client during the early stages of the production deployment in the case other issues or needs are identified in that environment. Once all issues are identified and resolved in the production system, then support can be transitioned to the usual support channels of the target platform.

Reminder

Once production status has been achieved and the development of the Ed-Fi ODS / API integration has been completed, be sure to have a plan in place to document the functionality for your users and have a plan to train normal support channels to handle and questions or issues that may arise.



Step 4. Apply for an Ed-Fi Badge



Apply for an Ed-Fi Badge

At this stage, development has been rounded out and vetted through actual customer usage, and the integration with a client partner has been promoted to the production environment. When this is achieved, the developed functionality of the target platform is eligible for an Ed-Fi API Consumer Badge. Review the requirements in Applying for a Badge in the Ed-Fi Badge Program space on the Ed-Fi Technical Documentation site and submit an application.

More information

You can explore which vendors have been awarded Ed-Fi Badges.

Link: Ed-Fi Badges Registry