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This section provides an overview of the improvements, enhancements, fixes, and changes that appear in v3.1 of the Ed-Fi Data Standard.


Data Standard v3.1 contains a relatively small set of focused improvements on Data Standard v3.0, the previous release. Implementers who are updating from Ed-Fi Tech Suite 2 products (e.g., the ODS / API v2.x generation of solutions) will likely find the What's New in v3.0 information useful as well.


Data Standard v3.1 introduces a limited set of breaking changes to the Data Standard v3.0 model in the Assessment domain and a small number of non-breaking changes in other core student information system domains.

The major changes are collected and summarized below. A complete listing of all individual changes can be found in the Release Notes for v3.1 section of this documentation.

Changes include:

Table of Contents

Details on each change follow.

Assessment Identity Changes (DATASTD-1214DATASTD-1194DATASTD-1117)

A number of issues raised by implementers concern concerned the composite key of the Assessment entity. The composite key in the Data Standard v3.0 was composed of 4 elements: AssessmentTitle, Version, GradeLevel and Subject. This key cascades into other domain entities including ObjectiveAssessment, AssessmentItem and StudentAssessment.

This structure presents a few problems in field use:

  • The composite key values do not guarantee uniqueness.
  • An individual key field may not be available for a particular assessment (e.g., a technically valid assessment can have no prescribed grade level).

Data Standard v3.1 introduces a new key consisting of AssessmentIdentifier and Namespace. This key follows the "partial-key surrogate pattern" where a source system surrogate key (in this case, AssessmentIdentifier) is introduced and is scoped organizationally (in this case, by a vendor-specific Namespace). Based on implementer feedback, it appears that vendors most typically use UUIDs as the surrogate key for Assessment entities.

Increase Flexibility in Assessment Domain Model for Grade Level and Subject Metadata (DATASTD-1214DATASTD-1199DATASTD-1198DATASTD-1197DATASTD-1235)

The Data Standard v3.0 required a grade level collection on the Assessment entity. Assessment providers noted that assessments often do not target a particular grade level, but rather can be applicable to many grade levels. In addition, some assessments have no clear grade-level indexing (e.g., an IQ test). To address this issue, GradeLevel was changed to an optional collection in Assessment in Data Standard v3.1.

Assessment providers also noted that assessments can cover multiple subject areas, so AcademicSubject was converted from a field to a collection on Assessment. The AcademicSubject is still required.

Since learning objective metadata regarding grade level and subject behave similarly to that of the Assessment entity, the changes above were also made to the GradeLevel and AcademicSubject in the LearningObjective entity. On LearningStandard, GradeLevel was additionally converted from a required field into a required collection.

Introduce Grade Levels and Characteristics to All Levels of the Course Hierarchy (DATASTD-1259)

The Ed-Fi core data model has a multi-leveled hierarchy for courses:

  • Course (a set of subject matter and planned outcomes for student learning).
  • CourseOffering (a Course indexed to time and the course catalog).
  • Section (an instance of a CourseOffering, which generally indicates students and teachers meeting at specific times and places to pursue a Course). 

Over time, field implementation has shown that course characteristics can be assigned to any level of this hierarchy. For example, a Course could be designed as dual credit, or it could be offered as dual credit during a particular semester (i.e., as a CourseOffering). Or, in some circumstances, only a particular Section could be dual credit. The same is often true of grade-level indexing for course-data: it can occur at any level.

Accordingly, the Course, CourseOffering, and Section entities are all made "parallel" with respect to these characteristics. Each entity has an optional collection of CourseLevelCharacteristics and an optional collection of OfferedGradeLevels. Further, the definitions state that these properties should only be assigned at lower levels of the hierarchy if the values differ. This change introduces an "override" semantic into this part of the data model.

Minor Changes and Improvements

In addition to the Assessment Domain changes noted above, Data Standard v3.1 also introduces a few minor changes. For example, the maximum length for assessment titles was extended from 60 characters to 100 characters.

Complete details can be found in the What's New - Release Notes section of this documentation.

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