Just the EDFacts, Ma’am: IDC Demystifies EDFacts Modernization
Release Date: March 9, 2023
Guests: Audrey Rudick, IDC
Flustered by EDFacts? Mystified by modernization? If so, this episode of A Date with Data is for you. Join host Amy Bitterman as she sits down with IDC’s own Audrey Rudick to talk about the facts, the EDFacts that is. Audrey gives listeners a broad overview all things EDFacts modernization, including what it is, what’s about to change, and what’s ahead with the upcoming EDPass system. Join us, and by the end of the program, all you'll know are the facts.
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00:00:01.52 >> You're listening to "A Date With Data," with your host, Amy Bitterman.
00:00:07.34 >> Hey, it's Amy, and I'm so excited to be hosting "A Date With Data." I'll be chatting with state and district special education staff, who, just like you, are dealing with IDEA Data every day.
00:00:19.50 >> "A Date With Data" is brought to you by the IDEA Data Center.
00:00:24.52 >> Thank you for joining this episode of "A Date With Data." I am chatting with Audrey Rudick, who is an IDC TA provider and we'll be discussing the topic of EDFacts modernization. You may have heard about EDFacts modernization and maybe are wondering what it is, or you've heard something about it and really aren't quite sure how the changes might impact you and the work and the data. Well, Audrey is here to help demystify all of that for us. So welcome, Audrey.
00:00:56.70 >> Thanks, Amy. It's great to be here.
00:01:00.05 >> Can you start out just saying a little bit about yourself and your background?
00:01:04.24 >> Sure, well, like you said, my name is Audrey Rudick, and I'm a TA provider with IDC, and my background is really with partner support. So I was on Partner Support Center for a number of years before joining IDC, oh, just over three years ago now.
00:01:21.31 >> Great, so you are well-immersed in the world of EDFacts and 618 Data, for sure.
00:01:26.96 >> Yes, yes, I'm pretty familiar with 618 Data and with EDFacts and the ins-and-outs of how those data are going through the system into ED.
00:01:38.24 >> Wonderful. Well, let's start out by just hearing from you what is EDFacts modernization? We've been hearing those terms and maybe some of us don't know what that is.
00:01:51.03 >> Well, absolutely. So the US Department of Ed collects data through a system called ESS, and ESS is old enough maybe to vote at this point. It's pretty old in terms of data systems.
00:02:06.73 >> Mm-hmm.
00:02:07.12 >> And so EDFacts modernization is really their initiative to bring EDFacts ... the EDFacts data collection up to date. EDPass is going to help update that data collection in a few ways. One way is that it will allow states to manage their own users and offer multifactor identification, which will make it more secure.
00:02:31.09 >> Hmm.
00:02:31.99 >> And it's also going to allow states to manage their own data quality process. So it's going to modernize that data quality process so that it's really giving ownership to data quality to the state and ensure that the data are ready for use and publication by the due date.
00:02:47.73 >> Great, yeah, I think that's one of the most exciting parts about it, is when the data gets submitted, not too long thereafter or kind of immediately, then it's ready for use and aren't waiting months at a time before that data can be put to use for all the reasons that we know about that we're collecting it for.
00:03:06.60 >> Oh, absolutely. I think right now you submit files in November for some of those files, and then you find out that they are ... the data quality results in January, and then you have until May to update them or add data notes, and it really draws everything out. I think that putting it all into one process is going to make life, in the long run, much easier for everybody.
00:03:32.45 >> Yes, we just got to kind of get through this transition, which I know some states are kind of anxious about, because it is definitely a change in processes and timing. So can you talk about how the modernization is going to impact states as well as the IDEA data that are being submitted?
00:03:53.23 >> Absolutely, so for more of the IDEA data, there's no changes to the actual data that are being submitted.
00:04:01.31 >> Mm-hmm.
00:04:02.14 >> In in the most recent package, they've clarified some of the definitions. But really that wouldn't change anything that's being submitted. The biggest impacts are going to come through timelines because the deadlines are changing. So for example, we're recording this in February of 2023, and typically states would be working on submitting their child-count files pretty soon because they would be due the first Wednesday in April. But for child-count files this year, they're going to be due starting June 28th, after a 5-1/2-week-long submission window.
00:04:49.71 >> So it really pushes it out, at least for this first year.
00:04:54.82 >> Yeah, I think that they will be on those annual dates after this. So the timelines are changing for those files that are typically due in fall and winter, that's going to look like assessment files being due January 10th of 2024 instead of in mid-December. And then exiting discipline and personnel files being due February 22nd of 2024. So it's pushing it out quite a while for those files. So I think that because of those due date changes, some processes are going to change. The other thing that's changing with those due dates, and we're creating that bigger space to submit those files, is because the data quality review is happening at the time of the data submission. So in the new system, states will upload their data. They'll update load those files. Then checks will be run almost automatically to return data quality concerns against the business rules that have been published for those files. And with those checks that come back, then before submitting those data on the deadline, you'll have to enter data quality notes or you'll have to reupload the data to correct those data quality concerns. So that 5-1/2-week ... There's going to be a 5-1/2-week timeline for that data submission, and that 5-1/2-week timeline will become important to kind of make sure we're not waiting until the end of that in case any updates are necessary.
00:06:44.99 >> Yeah, having ... putting it in as soon as it opens, or as soon as possible, really, seems like it would be beneficial because inevitably, I would imagine a lot of the files there will be issues that arise and maybe are fine and you can put in your data quality note. But you might have to go back to districts to kind of clarify and correct things, and that takes more time.
00:07:11.40 >> Absolutely, absolutely, and I think right now, we know quite a bit about how this process will work, but we're all going to be learning it together. There's a lot that we don't quite know yet since we just haven't seen it. But I think that reviewing your processes ahead of time and saying, "Okay, we want this person and want our data manager to review all of those data quality concerns that are returned within this new tool and create those data notes. And this is going to be our process for going back to the LEAs to make sure that we know what we're putting in those data notes is correct." Those process reviews are going to be really important so there's no surprises about who might be doing what during that time period.
00:08:03.52 >> And when, so really, yeah, thinking through ...
00:08:05.28 >> Yes.
00:08:05.59 >> ... them now and having that kind of ready to go.
00:08:10.57 >> Yeah, yeah, the other big implication that I can think of really, is working ... our audience, I suspect is a lot of Part B data managers, but creating that work with your EDFacts coordinator because the EDFacts coordinator is listed as the first EDPass manager. And that's a new term for us, EDPass manager. The EDPass manager is the person in the state who is going to own the access points for EDPass. So you'll be working with that person to make sure that you can enter those data notes or to review the data or to upload the data, and making sure that they know what you need during this time is important because I don't think that every program office that has data collected through EDFacts is going to have the same ownership of data that we have found that special education offices have.
00:09:22.34 >> And all data managers will be getting access to EDPass, right, but it has to come through the EDFacts coordinator.
00:09:30.10 >> Not automatically, all data managers are going to need to talk with their EDPass coordinators to advocate for that access and to ask for that access ...
00:09:40.88 >> Okay.
00:09:41.21 >> ... because those EDPass managers are going to determine who needs access and who will receive access for the state.
00:09:50.54 >> Hmm. Are there other recommendations you have for how states can be preparing for EDPass and these new processes and timelines?
00:10:00.18 >> Well, I think that reviewing your data processes, which we've discussed, and making sure that we're aware, determining how you're going to store those data quality notes as they come in, as you see, "Oh, this LEA's data is going to look a little bit differently this year." And then having those conversations between your EDFacts coordinators.
00:10:26.19 >> Mm-hmm.
00:10:26.40 >> I guess one thing I forgot to mention is the metadata piece. So instead of completing the state supplemental survey, which typically happened in February, states will be working on those responses alongside of the data collection in EDPass. So EDPass will ... if you have those mismatches between your metadata and your data, in EDPass you'll be able to collect that as you're submitting and reviewing the data.
00:11:00.22 >> So that's one big advantage ...
00:11:03.17 >> Mm-hmm.
00:11:04.01 >> ... in just being able to enter that data, too, at the same time. So your questions related to child count would be due at the same time as your child-count files.
00:11:13.58 >> Exactly, and the discipline questions ...
00:11:15.72 >> Mm-hmm.
00:11:17.45 >> ... and exiting questions will be due at the same time as the discipline and exiting. The other thing that I think that you could do now, if you've agreed that you're going to have access, multifactor identification for EDPass is going to be through login.gov. And to ensure that that is set up by the time your EDPass manager might be granting you access, creating that login.gov account with your e-mail address that you use for your state work will be important so that you have that multifactor identification ready to go.
00:11:55.46 >> So anyone can create an account on login.gov? Or do we need some kind of permission or invite?
00:12:03.16 >> Anybody can, that's multifactor identification for, I think, all of the federal government.
00:12:10.20 >> Mm-hmm.
00:12:10.57 >> But that will be used for ... specifically for EDPass and our purposes in this modernization work.
00:12:20.50 >> And we also, I don't know if, Audrey, did you want to mention about the upcoming EDFacts data manager peer group?
00:12:28.60 >> Sure, thanks, Amy. So the IDC is also going to be hosting a Data Manager and EDFacts Coordinator peer-to-peer exchange. So if your role in a state is IDEA Part B data manager or EDFacts coordinator, you're welcome to join our exchange. Our first convening is going to be on March 9th, and we're going to be really just discussing how we're working together, what might need to happen in the state and what everybody's needs are in terms of the data and data submissions.
00:13:09.67 >> So I think with states ... anyone listening need to reach out to their state liaisons, or is there a way on the IDC website?
00:13:16.07 >> You can reach out to your state liaison or you can contact me directly. My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
00:13:25.72 >> Wonderful. Hopefully, this kind of helped solve some of the mystery around EDFacts modernization. But there's going to be much, much more to come as the system opens up in May for the IDEA, first IDEA files, child count. And I know IDC will be definitely putting out more resources and providing technical assistance throughout all of this and be talking about it on numerous calls. So this is not the last you have heard. There's just going to be a continued ongoing conversation. So we're really excited. And thank you, Audrey, as our expert in all things EDFacts and EDPass. So thank you so much for sharing your wisdom and thoughts with us.
00:14:10.93 >> Absolutely, thank you so much for having me today, Amy.
00:14:14.96 >> To access podcast resources, submit questions related to today's episode, or if you have ideas for future topics, we'd love to hear from you. The links are in the episode content, or connect with us via the podcast page on the IDC website at ideadata.org.