Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Common Education Data Standards v2 released!

The Common Education Data Standards v2 release today marks one of many interconnected milestones for 2012 that I think will have far-reaching impact on the U.S. education system.  Data standards are not going to revolutionize education...but CEDS is a catalyst.  It is serving as a bridge between many other initiatives that collectively have a shot at tipping the scales toward a system of education focused on individual learners rather than groups.  This release comes at a time when the "common vocabulary" of common data standards could determine the scale of success for these other technology-enabled game-changes such as SLC/SLI, EdFi, P20W data systems, and the innovations being developed/tested in Race to the Top states.  Instead of competing standards of the past, CEDS v2 has carved out common ground.  CEDS is just one catalyst for these separate initiatives to pull in a common direction and transform the ecosystem into one in which it is possible to meet the needs of every learner.  Here is the official announcement:
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is pleased to announce the Version 2 release of the Common Education Data Standards (CEDS).  The CEDS project is a national, collaborative effort to develop voluntary data standards to streamline the exchange, comparison, and understanding of data within and across P-20 (early learning through postsecondary) institutions and sectors.  CEDS Version 2 includes a broad scope of elements spanning much of the P-20 spectrum and provides greater context for understanding the standards' interrelationships and practical utility.  Specifically, Version 2 of CEDS focuses on elements and modeling in the Early Learning, K12, and Postsecondary sectors and includes domains, entities, elements, options sets, and related use cases.
Version 2 of CEDS can be found at the CEDS website:  ( <http://ceds.ed.gov>http://ceds.ed.gov).  This website includes three ways to view and interact with CEDS:
1.      By Element - Via the CEDS elements page, users can access a searchable catalog of the CEDS "vocabulary"; 2.      By Relationship - Through the CEDS Data Model, users can explore the relationships that exist among entities and elements; 3.      By Comparison - The CEDS Data Alignment Tool allows users to load their organization's data dictionary and compare it, in detail, to CEDS and the data dictionaries of other users.
Educators and policymakers need accurate, timely, and consistent information about students and schools to inform decisionmaking-from planning effective learning experiences, to improving schools, reducing costs, and allocating resources-and states need to streamline federal data reporting. When common education data standards are in place, education stakeholders, from early childhood educators through postsecondary administrators, legislators, and researchers, can more efficiently work together toward ensuring student success, using consistent and comparable data throughout all education levels and sectors.
While numerous data standards have been used in the field for decades, there has not emerged a universal language that can serve basic information needs across all sites, levels, and sectors throughout the P-20 environment. By identifying, compiling, and building consensus around the basic, commonly used elements across P-20, CEDS will meet this critical need.
The standards are being developed by NCES with the assistance of a CEDS Stakeholder Group that includes representatives from states, districts, institutions of higher education, state higher education agencies, early childhood organizations, federal program offices, interoperability standards organizations, and key education associations and non-profit organizations. In a parallel effort a group of non-government interested parties with shared goals, including CCSSO, SHEEO, DQC, SIF, and PESC, has come together as a Consortium with foundation support to encourage the effort and assist with communications and adoption of the standards.

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