The Core Student Data Management REST API Standard describes an API surface that covers the core data domains typically managed by student information systems in K–12 education. These standards can be used to drive analysis of student performance, both alone and in combination with data from other systems.
This API definition calls for the use of HTTP/S and RESTful patterns to expose a set of granular API resources that the source (or "provider") system uses to manage a copy of the data on a target (or "consumer") system that has implemented the API definition. These standards describe roles and requirements for both provider and consumer systems (see Figure 1).
Figure 1. Provider and consumer systems
While this architecture can be understood as the provider transferring data from its system to a consumer, the certification is described as "data management." In real-world field use within the Ed-Fi community, evidence suggests that using such an API includes a broader set of responsibilities on behalf of the vendor than that implied by the term "transfer." For example, the provider is also required to reconcile records following errors or transport problems, implement data quality checks, log and surface errors to the users of the provider system, and so on.
The data domains included in this standard have been defined by years of field work with student information systems that are both large and small in terms of adoption and use within the K–12 enterprise. These data domains represent core data elements common to student information systems in K–12.
Ed-Fi data exchange standards are concerned principally with data directly related to student performance and activity within the K–12 enterprise.
The elements in this standard — defined as API resources — derive from the Ed-Fi Unifying Data Model (UDM), which captures a view of the student and related data elements focused on student performance. The UDM also exists to ensure that all standards published by the Ed-Fi Alliance derive from a common data model, and are therefore consistent with each other.
This standard describes the data definitions and structure (from the UDM), the formatting of the data (bindings and serialization, to JSON in this case), and movement of that data (or transport). All are necessary for data to be efficiently exchanged between systems. This allows data to be combined with other indicators of student performance (such as assessment results), and thereby used to inform instructional decision-making.
The API standards described allow applications to read and write student data through a secure REST interface.
API implementers and clients are expected to follow all guidelines in the Ed-Fi API Design and Implementation Guidelines. These include requirements relating to errors, authentication, security, and other aspects of API usage and implementation. Any MUSTs from that document should be considered required. If there are differences between the requirements included in this document and that one, the information provided in this document should be assumed to have precedence.
An Open API definition of the REST interface is provided in the Ed-Fi RFC 7- Open API Spec section. Consumer implementations wishing to conform to this standard are expected to implement all paths and resources described in the specification. Providers wishing to conform to this standard are expected to be able to manage all API resources described, and accurately follow the semantics as described in the Ed-Fi UDM.
The architecture covered by this model of data exchange is intended to serve the following example use cases. Note that these are illustrative only: they are intended to highlight principal high-value use cases and do not cover all possible use cases.