Data Interoperability: What Does it Really Mean?

While attending the TCEA conference in San Antonio last month, I spoke with numerous school district administrators who are chasing the concept of “data interoperability,” but few can define what interoperability means.

Before we can begin the conversation about true data interoperability and the place it has in education, we need to take a step back and contrast what is happening behind the scenes with the tools we are using before we can see the impact it could have for our students.

What is data interoperability?

Data interoperability is the seamless, real-time, bi-directional flow of data between systems. It is also referred to as “application interoperability,” because applications will be able to “talk” to one another when data can be exchanged between them. By contrast, take the example of a district having all their teaching and learning applications connected to their student information systems: how does this look with the typical “point-to-point” integrations versus “plug and play”? Without interoperability, school staff and teachers face many challenges with duplicate data entry, while IT staff are faced with maintaining disparate systems. This can be a very challenging infrastructure to not only maintain but also use as the foundation for making learning decisions. A true interoperability solution requires a single platform and a standard data model such as the Ed-Fi® data standard.

How does this impact student achievement?

Having a true interoperability solution means your district can have consistent conversations between teachers and administrators. Your district can collect data and perform real-time analysis to take faster interventions and guide instruction. When we have a complete view of the data and can analyze it effectively, teachers can make sound decisions to improve practice and student success.

Why should your district implement a better data solution?

There are many reasons your district would want to find a true interoperability solution. You may want to save on long-term IT operational costs, ensure a bi-directional data flow between systems or provide teachers with better visibility to student performance. These are all great reasons and can be achieved today with the true interoperability solution. To see a tour of Certica’s interoperability platform, Data Connect™ contact us.