The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) recently announced the LINK Initiative, an IDOE effort to leverage information technology to advance the IDOE’s vision and mission. To continually improve support and customer experience, core business processes across the IDOE portfolio were evaluated for process and solution modernization. The overall modernization effort involves five component projects: INtelligrants, Data Exchange, INview, Unified Access, and Schools 360.
Link Initiative Timeline
The component projects of the LINK Initiative will launch and be completed at different times with full implementation taking several years.
- The Schools 360 project is underway with a goal of improving IDOE customer service. This new platform will help IDOE staff better serve schools.
- The IDOE launched the Data Exchange and INview projects in early May. These projects include a complete overhaul of how data is transferred from schools to the IDOE and how schools access record level data in IDOE systems. As a consequence of these projects, the
Student Testing Number (STN) Application Center and the Learning Connection will be retired. Using a widely accepted data standard compatible with most student information systems, schools will be able to automatically transfer data to the IDOE rather than submitting collections of data as is the current practice. Indiana joins other states in a modern approach to managing education data.
- The Intelligrants project is slated for a summer 2018 launch and will bring a single solution to schools for managing all education grant funds from the state and the federal government.
- The Unified Access project is interwoven within the other four projects and will be experienced in schools through a new single point of entry for school personnel needing to access IDOE systems.
The Ed-Fi Data Standards and Technology Suite is the foundation of the Data Exchange and INview projects. By adopting the Ed-Fi standard, schools will be able to connect their Student Information Systems to an IDOE database and seamlessly transfer data to the IDOE through automated processes. The Ed-Fi technology allows the IDOE to implement data management methods used by other State Education Agencies allowing for interoperability between local student information systems and IDOE databases. “We are pleased to begin the work of addressing long-standing challenges around gathering K-12 educational data in Indiana,” said Dr. John Keller, Chief Technology Officer for the IDOE. “As Indiana pivots to the Ed-Fi standard, we look for data quality to improve and for the overall data submission burden on schools to diminish.” More information about the Ed-Fi Data Standards and Technology Suite are available at https://www.edfi.org/.
With Ed-Fi Data Standards and Technology Suite, schools will experience at least three important benefits:
- Streamlined management of master data and roles. Schools of all types and configurations will be able to easily update their information, manage school personnel and student identifiers, and easily assign data access roles for school personnel.
- New data transfer capabilities. Data required from schools will be transferred to the IDOE through automated processes with a new data review and verification protocol in place for data certification. These new capabilities will replace the STN Application Center.
- Enhanced access to student-level data. New dashboards will be available to schools for accessing student-level data and reports previously available in the Learning Connection.
The transition from the existing technologies of the STN Application Center and the Learning Connection to these new enterprise systems will take months and likely more than a year to bring online. Since these projects will impact each school in Indiana during the coming years, IDOE will be working with stakeholders including those primarily responsible for data management in each school to ensure questions are answered and concerns addressed. This stakeholder support is being planned now and will be publicized on the LINK News and Events page at https://www.doe.in.gov/link/link-news-events.
Additional announcements will be coming soon regarding the remaining LINK Initiative projects.
For updates about the IDOE Link Initiative, please visit the website at https://www.doe.in.gov/link.