Data - FAQ

EMIS Redesign - FAQ

EMIS Redesign - FAQ

Are flat files still going to be allowed in submitting data to ODE?

Yes. Flat files still will be an acceptable method for submitting data to ODE. It is, however, the intent of ODE to move away from this method of data submission in the future. Districts will need to begin planning for this change in the very near future. By 2015 it is expected that all districts will have Ohio SIF compatible software(s) necessary to report data via the Education Management Information System (EMIS).

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How does SIF work?

There are four elements that make SIF work:

  •  Software Application: software program implemented within a school or district.
  • SIF Data Object: Sets of information shared by software applications using the rules of the SIF Specification
  • SIF Agent: A software program (written by a vendor) that serves as the intermediary between the software application and the SIF Zone
  • ZIS (Zone Integration Server): A software program that serves as the central communications point in a SIF Zone

When a software application with a SIF Agent sends out a message to the ZIS, the ZIS forwards that information on to the applications that are listening for this information. The information is routed through the application’s agent. SIF-Certified software applications and agents do not talk to each other directly; each application talks to its agent and the agent talks to the ZIS, which handles all further communication. The ZIS’s role as a ―third-party message handler´‖ means that the SIF framework is easily expandable, very reliable and relatively straightforward for software companies to write agents their applications.

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What is included in the project for the district/ITC?

The EMIS redesign focuses on using the following SIF components:

  • Zone Integration Servers (ZIS)
  • SIF Agents
  • Data Collector and
  • SIF Vertical Reporting Framework (VRF).

SIF agents have been developed for two student information systems, DASL and eSIS, and two software packages developed by the State Software Development Team (SSDT), USAS and USPS, which are accounting and personnel packages respectively. Through the project each regional site has received the ZIS and SIF Agent software supported by those entities. In essence this means, either a DASL or eSIS agent, and the USAS and USPS agents.

In addition, a new user interface, Data Collector, has been provided to enable district users to manage the EMIS collection and submission process. Users are able to collect and preview data, and review validation reports through the Data Collector prior to submitting the data to ODE.

Along with providing the software needed to make the vertical reporting work, each regional site has received additional hardware to ensure the new vertical reporting framework will process data both efficiently and effectively.

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What is the Data Collector?

The Data Collector is the new user interface which will be used by both districts and regional sites to manage the EMIS reporting process. From the Data Collector users will be able to collect, review data and validation reports and submit their data to ODE. In addition the validations occurring at the state-level within this new reporting framework will be available to the user via the Data Collector as well. A Data Collector User’s Guide is available at EMIS Redesign Documentation webpage. Please keep in mind that this is updated regularly as Data Collector is still being updated.

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What is the redesign and how will it benefit education in the state?

Recently, ODE received a federal Longitudinal Data Systems grant to update Ohio’s EMIS reporting process to better enable longitudinal analysis of student performance and other data. This project, the EMIS Redesign for Longitudinal Data (EMIS-R), will utilize dynamically defined vertical reports based on the gold standard for data sharing in PK-12, the Schools Interoperability Framework (SIF®). The redesign focuses on the vertical reporting between districts, via their ITC and ODE.

This format will allow ODE to decide what to collect and when to collect it in a more flexible manner. A more automated approach using SIF-based collections that are less labor intensive, offer more timely access to data, and provide monitoring and management of collections via a unified Web console. Disordered data—once business logic is applied—becomes actionable data with relational integrity thanks to a new, more powerful database, the operational data store (ODS). A highly automated data collection process minimizes administrative inefficiencies with a workflow that supports data cleansing with local control. The result is a system that is more responsive to those accountable for submitting accurate and complete data.

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What is the SSID Enhancement?

The Redesign includes a component that automates the assignment of Statewide Student Identifiers (SSIDs). When a student is newly enrolled (in a DASL or eSIS district), the student’s SSID will be retrieved automatically and written back to the DASL or eSIS database with no human intervention required (except in near match and data error situations). A newly enrolled student’s SSID will be in the eSIS or DASL database the same day, sometimes even before he/she has time to walk to his/her first classroom. In near match and error conditions, district users will be notified automatically to resolve them. The current SSID Web interface will continue to be available.

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What training is being provided for districts/Regional Sites?

The contactor has provided each regional site training covering both the technical and user aspects related to the new Vertical Reporting Framework and throughout the project these sites have multiple opportunities to keep themselves update. ODE relies on ITCs to conduct training for their member districts, which relates to the Data Collector.

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What will change for districts?

Districts will notice first a completely new user interface, Data Collector, for gathering, reviewing, and submitting EMIS data.
The data collection process from eSIS, DASL, USAS and USPS will be more automated. Districts that use these applications will find that they spend less time gathering and formatting data for EMIS. Districts with applications other than those listed above will continue to gather and format data as they do today, using approximately the same amount of time and work as today; however, the process and tools will be a bit different. Training will be provided on these aspects.

Because of the automated nature of data collection in the Redesign, the need to correct data errors in the source application will continue to be emphasized. Experience with similar automated systems in other states like Virginia and Wyoming has shown that over time correcting data in the source system reduces the time districts need to complete their data submissions, and improves the accuracy of local district data.

For many types of data validation errors, the error notification and reporting will change. Rather than using the current reports from ODE, some of these errors will be presented via reports accessible from the Data Collector. Other reports will continue to be generated and sent out by ODE as they are today. Complete details will be provided as the project progresses.

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When will the project roll out?

Work began on the EMIS-R project August 2007. The original timeline had the project completed by June 30, 2009. However, numerous delays have occurred and the contract has been extended. Currently a date for the next phase, Performance Period, a period of time to determine acceptance of the project deliverables, has not been re-established. As soon as it is determined it will be communicated. For more information related to the Performance Period a plan has been posted on the EMIS Redesign Documentation webpage.

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Who has access to the Data Collector?

The Data Collector has three district-level roles associated with it:

  •  Collector – this role allows the user to upload EMIS formatted files, start a collection and prepare the previews of data and level one validation errors. Although they cannot submit the data to the state with this role, they have access to the level two validation errors returned from the state after data processing has occurred
  • Submitter – this role allows the user to submit the data that has been collected and prepared by the user having the Collector role. This role does not allow the user to upload EMIS formatted files, start a collection or prepare the previews of the data or level one validation errors. They can simply submit the data to the state and they can review the reports of data and validations generated throughout the process
  • Reviewer – this role allows the user to view all previews of the data and validation errors

These roles do not grant access to the software applications from which the data is being collected directly from. Role assignment is determined by the district and is then implemented through their ITC via settings on the Data Collector.

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Who is managing the project?

ODE and its contractor—Edustructures (now under NCS Pearson)—will work directly with the regional sites to implement the EMIS-R project over the next two years. Edustructures, the prime contractor on the project, will be working on the vertical reporting structure, development and installation of SIF agents as well as the Zone Integration Servers (ZIS). IBM, working as a sub-contractor to Edustructures, will be focusing on the new ODE Operational Data Store (ODS), data conversion and validations which occur at the ODE level.

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Last Modified: 5/20/2013 8:02:49 AM