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4 Reasons for Rising Ed-Fi Integration in Charter Schools

As charter school admission rates rise, many institutions struggle to maintain a competitive edge. Unquestionably, the slow adoption of disruptive technologies has been the reason.

In the past, charter schools sat in a niche position, relying on ad-hoc systems to meet the needs of students. But, as the education landscape evolves, Ed-Fi integration in charter schools has become critical to student success.

All things considered, the education tech stack isn’t a static entity. Certainly, the charter tech ecosystem is no stranger to technology-fueled growth. In 2014, the nation’s largest non-profit charter network KIPP invested in virtual technologies to transform the learning experience. Today, KIPP is leveraging AI technologies to increase student enrollment in college.

Unfortunately, many charter schools have yet to adopt these new technologies. At these schools, the status quo remains. Loosely integrated education data systems make it difficult (if not impossible) to keep track of student progress. To facilitate a more student-centered and equitable learning experience, many charter schools are implementing Ed-Fi — which promises to alleviate many of the pain points associated with manual processes.

Below, we discuss four reasons for rising Ed-Fi integration in charter schools.

WHAT IS ED-FI?

Ed-Fi is a data standard that integrates all education data systems via a common API. In other words, Ed-Fi is a connection standard. So, if you purchase an Ed-Fi enabled roster tool and assessment software, they can both readily integrate with each other — allowing them to share data as needed.

1. IMPROVED DECISION-MAKING AND FORECASTING

“It’s my holy grail that we would get a data standard and transfer method in K-12.” — Don Wolff, CIO, Portland Public Schools

Understanding student test scores and school performance metrics require education data integration. With so many siloed processes running on proprietary systems, trying to analyze data to make informed decisions is nearly impossible. By and large, Ed-Fi creates a common framework for all of your education apps. So, instead of consolidating data from disparate systems (and struggling to organize them into a coherent whole), you follow one data standard to record all information. This means fewer integration frictions and data discrepancies.

2. REDUCED IT COSTS WITH SEAMLESS INTEGRATION

To be successful, your charter school needs to measure student performance, analyze classroom-related data, and create accurate financial forecasts. Unfortunately, without Ed-Fi, the task is nearly impossible. Integrating a variety of proprietary tech systems (HRIS, SIS, LMS, etc.) requires hefty investments in loosely-integrated IT frameworks.

Since these systems don’t share a common language or data standard, communication between systems is difficult and time-consuming. With Ed-Fi, all of your education data systems can communicate seamlessly in a shared environment.

In essence, Ed-Fi enables frictionless communication between all your Ed-Fi-enabled systems — saving you time and money in the process.

3. INCREASED DATA SECURITY

In the first half of 2019, 3,813 data breaches occurred, exposing 4.1 billion records to threat actors. Unfortunately, out of the 17 largest industries in the United States, education ranks last in terms of cybersecurity preparedness. The situation affects both charter and public schools. In 2019, a New Jersey school district spent several weeks rebuilding its network after cyber hackers deployed a ransomware attack that shut down all its computers. With a limited security budget, many charter schools remain at risk of such an attack.

However, when these schools implement Ed-Fi, they get to compile information from multiple systems into an operational data store (ODS). This Ed-Fi ODS/API has encryption and hashing protections built into its architecture. Essentially, hashing executes one-way transformations of passwords. By”one-way,” we mean that hashed passwords can’t be tampered with once they undergo this type of transformation.

The Ed-Fi Operational Data Store has security baked directly into its architecture, facilitating data security for your school without significant investments.

4. ALLOWS CHARTER SCHOOLS TO IMPLEMENT IT SOLUTIONS WITH EASE

Without Ed-Fi, charter schools must deploy complex workarounds to onboard new tech. Without a doubt, valuable technology deployments are often stymied by integration frictions. Ed-Fi flips this paradigm upside down. As long as you use Ed-Fi-compliant systems, your data education systems can communicate seamlessly with each other. You don’t have to worry about whether that new learning system will work with your existing stack. Significantly, the Ed-Fi Validation Tool enables “near-instant validation of data created on the Ed-Fi Data Standard.” It ensures “quality, validity, and compatibility,” so you can implement IT solutions seamlessly.

ARE YOU READY TO REVOLUTIONIZE YOUR IT ARCHITECTURE?

At Entrance Consulting, we work with charter schools to implement solutions like Ed-Fi. In the same fashion, our technology solutions facilitate their compliance with PPRA (Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment) and FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act). If you’re looking to adopt disruptive new technologies to gain a competitive edge, we can help. Contact us to learn more about leveraging the digital ecosystem to empower your educators and support student success.

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