Does the Ed-Fi framework have the potential to serve as a foundation for a spectrum of approaches to early warning systems? I believe it does. But let’s ask ourselves a few key questions:

  1. Should Ed-Fi provide a predefined set of selected EWS indicators?
    That ultimately depends on how useful that model is to you, your students and your unique context, but if nothing else such a model could serve as an example of deploying your own early warning system using Ed-Fi.

  1. Can Ed-Fi be used to provide education warning systems?
    Most definitely. The Ed-Fi data model and dashboard metrics can serve as a rich source of educational data, already distilled from a possibly wide-ranging set of source data systems and data files into one relational database, a gold mine for EWS researchers’ statistical packages of choice that require next to no digging to get to the data gold. It can just as easily populate the majority of existing indicators in published EWS models as well as off-the-shelf early warning systems. The Ed-Fi Alliance could even provide pre-configured student list views for the most universally useful early warning system(s) it can identify. Rather than investing the time into unearthing that holy grail, though, in this author’s humble opinion the Ed-Fi Alliance might better invest in an easily-configurable metrics layer that can pull from either the operational data store or existing Ed-Fi dashboard and serve up the source data needed for early warning systems, and a just-as-easily-configured EWS dashboard that can consume an EWS model as input, present it in a standard, user-friendly Ed-Fi way, with standardized support for drilling down into associated students at risk and intervention management

  1. Where are Ed-Fi-based early warning systems today, and where are we headed?
    One of the first early warning systems incorporated into the Ed-Fi dashboard ecosystems is being rolled out in Pennsylvania. It focuses on daily attendance, school code of conduct incidents and failing grades in language arts and math, and it distills these into related metrics and student list views focused on EWS indicators. Also featuring a robust interventions management module, this work is rumored to be under consideration as the foundation for similar functionality in future versions of the Ed-Fi framework. UPD Consulting’s own proof-of-concept research in Ed-Fi-based early warning systems and related visualizations is being paired with The Ohio State University’s extensive EWS work for the state of Ohio over the next year. If you’re at all excited by the predictive power of data and/or Ed-Fi (and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that!), stay tuned to our blog as our and others’ work around early warning systems continues…

Ed-Fi is an open source data model that includes an ODS and visual dashboards that houses various metrics driven by student outcomes. These metrics are aligned to federal education data standards that were researched and tested to provide a common ground for school departments of education across the nation. Many districts and state agencies have abandoned disparate systems and adopted the Ed-Fi model to use the standardization to compare and better understand student data.

More on how UPD Consulting uses Ed-Fi.