EDFacts Modernization: What It Is, What It Does

This is the second installment in our monthly blog series on EDFacts modernization covering topics surrounding the modernization and how it affects the process of collecting and reporting high-quality special education data. Click here to read part one.

On the heels of OSEP’s Leadership Conference and the STATS-DC Data Conference, your thoughts may now be turning to the EDFacts modernization effort and what it all means. You might also be overwhelmed with how changes to EDFacts and the Section 618 data submission process might affect your work. Fear not! IDC is here to help. Let’s start with some basics.

What Is EDFacts Modernization?

Quite simply, the modernization is a coordinated effort to update the current EDFacts system that the U.S. Department of Education put into place over 18 years ago.[1] The current system is ancient by data system standards, and our collective technology, tools, and data needs have far outpaced its capabilities. The new modernization process will provide tools to support state processes, give states ownership of the data-quality review process, ensure data that are high-quality and useable as of the data-collection due date, and eliminate the data-resubmission period.

What Is Changing?

The first major change in the modernization process will be a tool called EDPass. Announced by OSEP at its 2022 Leadership Conference, EDPass will facilitate an iterative process through which states upload files and receive immediate data-quality feedback. Following this initial upload, states can revise files and then re-upload them to address data-quality concerns and add notes. States will know the results of this process before they submit their data to the Department of Education.

One of the major benefits of EDPass’ iterative process is that data are considered final as of the due date, and no resubmission periods will occur. Therefore, the modernization process will also include new proposed due dates that push out the Section 618 data collection deadlines for Child Count, Personnel, Exiting, Discipline, MOE Reduction, and CEIS. This will give data owners more time to work closely with each state’s EDFacts Coordinator to review and add high-quality data notes, as needed.

The final major change is an increased focus on these data notes. This means that understanding data-collection business rules at the time of submission will become more critical for data owners. According to the timeline that the Department of Education shared, they will publish a new Business Rules Single Inventory in September 2022, and that document may include revisions to existing business rules and additional rules.

How to Learn More About EDFacts Modernization with IDC

IDC held a debrief with our Part B data managers after OSEP Leadership’s session to listen to their thoughts about all of this. Building on that feedback, we are actively planning TA surrounding this topic, including this blog series, resource updates, new resources, and events to support you in your work. If you have identified any specific needs in your state, please don’t hesitate to contact your state liaison.

- Audrey Rudick

[1] https://edfacts.communities.ed.gov/services/PDCService.svc/GetPDCDocumentFile?fileId=42606 was published in July 2021 citing that the system was 17 years old