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Related Efforts

CEDS works with, and is informed by, other initiatives that define data standards applicable to education, implement data standards, or define the environment in which data standards can be used. Some of the key initiatives related to CEDS are listed below.

National Forum on Education Statistics

The National Forum on Education Statistics (the Forum) has long been a leading resource for education data standards, focusing on issues of data standardization and basic data elements. The Forum, an organization of state and local education agencies, the federal government and other organizations, has produced a number of publications that provide voluntary, best practice recommendations and guides containing data standards, including definitions, codes and education data system components. Thus far, these products have covered areas such as crime, violence and discipline, attendance, exits, finance, facilities, and student displacement. Many of the Forum’s standards have been incorporated into the NCES Handbooks, the National Education Data Model (NEDM), and the SIF specifications. NCES Handbook elements that are not part of the CEDS standard can be found on the CEDS site by choosing “Extend Your Search” in the Domain Entity Schema or “Extend elements” when conducting an element search.

Access 4 Learning (A4L) Community, formerly the SIF Association

The Access 4 Learning (A4L) Community is a unique, non-profit collaboration composed of schools, districts, local authorities, states, US and International Ministries of Education, software vendors and consultants who collectively address all aspects of learning information management and access to support learning. The A4L Community is “Powered by SIF” Specifications as its major technical tool to allow for this management and access simply, securely and in a scalable, standard way regardless of the platform hosting those applications. The Schools Interoperability Framework (SIF) is a non-profit organization working to create a set of platform-independent, vendor-neutral rules and definitions which enable software programs from different companies to share information. SIF Association membership includes software vendors, school districts, state departments of education, and other organizations active in primary and secondary (PK-12) markets. The A4L Community is “Powered by SIF” Specifications defines suggested standards for naming, defining, and formatting data elements, as well as the technical specifications to facilitate interaction between software applications to enable applications from different developers to easily interact and exchange data. The specification also includes a data model, depicting the relationships among the data; and data elements in various areas such as student information, assessment, facilities, finances, food services, transportation, and professional development. The majority of the K12-specific portions of CEDS align with the SIF Implementation Specification.

Assessment Interoperability Framework (AIF)

An initiative sponsored jointly by Access 4 Learning and IMS Global Learning Consortium. AIF educational technology and assessment standards enable the accurate and comparable creation and delivery of assessments, as well as the importing of student and staff data and the subsequent reporting of assessment results. CEDS contains the data entity and element definitions, and associated metadata to support these assessment system processes.

Postsecondary Electronic Standards Council (PESC)

PESC is an organization of colleges and universities; professional and commercial organizations; data, software and service providers; nonprofit organizations and associations; and state and federal government agencies. Among the organization’s missions is to create data standards to facilitate the exchange of data among postsecondary institutions. As a “standards” resource, PESC provides range of standards for higher education, cataloguing data elements, definitions, and code sets, and specifying technical requirements. The PESC standards for student transcripts have been cross-walked to the SIF standards for student records to ensure comparability and completeness. PESC and A4L continue to work together to promote interoperability. K-12 education agencies may use PESC standards to enable data sharing with postsecondary institutions about students bound for or enrolled in Higher Education. PESC elements that are not part of the CEDS standard can be found on the CEDS site by choosing “Extend Your Search” in the Domain Entity Schema or “Extend elements” when conducting an element search.


EDFacts is a data initiative of the U.S. Department of Education (USED) that compiles national K-12 education data by consolidating a number of previously separate federal collections. By combining these collections, EDFacts is intended to centralize performance and other aggregate data for decision- and policymaking. The aim is to streamline data submissions to the federal government and eliminate redundancies, thus easing the burden on state education agencies. Data collected for EDFacts include student and staff demographics, program participation, student performance and completion, school and district directory data, revenues and expenditures, school choice options, and other information. As a “standards” resource, EDFacts provides data elements, definitions and code sets. USED also publishes technical specifications for EDFacts to guide the file submission process. As much of the data collected by states are used to meet federal reporting requirements, the standards provided by EDFacts are commonly adopted by the states to facilitate compliance. All of the EDFacts data elements have been incorporated into the NCES Handbooks, the SIF specifications, and NEDM. The Education Data Exchange Network (EDEN) is the portal through which states submit their data to the U.S. Department of Education. More than XX EDFacts file specifications have been defined in the Connect tool. States can apply their data dictionaries from Align to the EDFacts Connections via myConnect to help understand the data elements necessary to fulfill the reporting requirements.

Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC)

A biennial (i.e., every other school year) survey required by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR). Since 1968, the CRDC has collected data on key education and civil rights issues in our nation''s public schools for use by OCR in its enforcement and monitoring efforts regarding equal educational opportunity. The CRDC is also a tool for other Department offices and federal agencies, policymakers and researchers, educators and school officials, and the public to analyze student equity and opportunity.

Access CEDS Connect to see available CRDC Connections and examine how others are analyzing and using CRDC data.

Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)

IPEDS is a system of interrelated postsecondary surveys conducted annually by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). IPEDS gathers information from every college, university, and technical and vocational institution that participates in the federal student financial aid programs. The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, requires that institutions that participate in federal student aid programs report data on enrollments, program completions, graduation rates, faculty and staff, finances, institutional prices, and student financial aid. These data are made available to students and parents through the College Navigator college search Web site and to researchers and others through the IPEDS Data Center. IPEDS provides basic data needed to describe and analyze trends in postsecondary education in the United States, in terms of the numbers of students enrolled, staff employed, dollars expended, and degrees earned. Congress, federal agencies, state governments, education providers, professional associations, private businesses, media, students, parents, and others rely on IPEDS data for this basic information on postsecondary institutions.

The Ed-Fi Solution

The Ed-Fi solution is an educational data tool suite (unifying data model, data exchange framework, application framework, and sample dashboard source code) that enables vital academic information on K-12 students to be consolidated from the different data systems of school districts while leaving the management and governance of data within those districts and states. Ed-Fi components act as a translator of academic data, integrating and organizing information so that educators can start addressing the individual needs of each student from day one, and can measure progress and refine action plans throughout the school year. Developed by Double Line Partners through funding from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, the Ed-Fi solution can be licensed from the Ed-Fi Alliance free of charge by districts, state education agencies and vendors. Licensees gain unrestricted access to all Ed-Fi components and maintain ownership of derivative works. Elements in the Ed-Fi data model are aligned to CEDS and other Ed-Fi elements are in Extend.

The Ed-Fi Alliance has participated in CEDS from the beginning and actively supports improvements to each CEDS release. The Ed-Fi data standard uses CEDS as a reference model and aligns to it wherever possible. Specifically, Ed-Fi version 1.2 is aligned to CEDS 3.0. In addition, Ed-Fi Alliance representatives participate in CEDS stakeholder and technical working groups to ensure that needs identified by the field and real-world implementations are incorporated into future versions of CEDS. (Alliance, n.d.)

A search engine-backed standard for tagging content on the web. provides a collection of shared vocabularies that webmaster can use to mark up their pages in ways that can be understood by the major search engines. Implementers of use CEDS option sets as a controlled vocabulary when tagging web pages. New terms have been introduced based on CEDS elements.

Badge Alliance

A network of organizations and individuals working together to build and support an open badging ecosystem (see Open Badges Infrastructure), including open badges technical standards, with a focus on shared values including openness, learner agency, and innovation. The elements in CEDS about Achievement were originally modeled after the Open Badges standards Badge Class and Badge Assertion properties. CEDS continues to align with ongoing work of Badge Alliance.

Open Badges Infrastructure

An open standard infrastructure that supports digital badges verifying a person’s skills, interests, and achievements through credible organizations and attaches that information to the badge image file, hard-coding the metadata for future access and review. Open Badges started as a collaborative project between the MacArthur Foundation, HASTAC, and Mozilla and has continued to grow through an open, collaborative approach. (See Badge Alliance). The elements in CEDS about Achievement (Achievement entity) were modeled after the Open Badges/OBI standards.

Dublin Core Metadata Initiative

A global community that has played key roles in the development of best practices in metadata modeling, design, and implementation since 1995. The DCMI community has developed and maintains some of the major languages of description used on the web and in systems. DCMI is a project of ASIS&T, a U.S. 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and is supported through membership programs for both individuals and organizations. CEDS actively works with DCMI to align vocabulary, especially for learning resource and competency metadata. DCMI now has stewardship over the Learning Resource Metadata Initiative (LRMI).


A global, nonprofit, member organization that strives to enable the growth and impact of learning technology in the education and corporate learning sectors worldwide. The organization develops interoperability standards and adoption practice standards for distributed learning, including Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI), Question & Test Interoperability/Accessible Portable Item Protocol (QTI/APIP), and Common Cartridge.

Learning Resource Metadata Initiative (LRMI)

An initiative that works to make it easier to publish, discover, and deliver quality educational resources on the web. LRMI has developed a common metadata framework for describing or “tagging” learning resources on the web. This framework is a key first step in developing a richer, more fruitful search experience for educators and learners. Once a critical mass of educational content has been tagged to a universal framework, it becomes much easier to parse and filter that content.

Learning Registry

An approach and open infrastructure for capturing, connecting, and sharing data about learning resources available online with the goal of making it easier for educators and students to access the rich content available in our ever-expanding digital universe. The Learning Registry includes an open set of tools and a distributed infrastructure for metadata about learning resources, including assertions such as rating systems.


Common Education Data Standards