Ed-Fi Working Draft 3: Digital Equity Collection
Technical Suite: Suite 3
Status: Inactive

By: Ed-Fi State Education Agency User Group 
Contact: Sayee.Srinivasan@ed-fi.org
Publication Date: July 9, 2020


Data Standard v3.3-b added these elements to the core Ed-Fi data model, so this working draft was moved to an inactive status. In v3.3-b, these elements were added as independent fields rather than using the indicator pattern shown in this working draft. 

See What's New - v3.3-b for more information.


This document outlines a new use of existing core Ed-Fi student data elements to capture student-level digital access data. State Education Agencies (SEAs) want to better understand, at scale, the digital equity that exists among students based on student address, race, gender, economic status, and other demographic information.

Using the Ed-Fi ODS / API v3.x, SEAs plan to use the studentIndicators data property array in the /studentEducationOrganizationAssociation aggregate. Student Information Systems (SIS) would need to add the appropriate data fields within their systems if not already present, and wire this information into their Ed-Fi API connector.

The scale and quality of this data can provide leverage for Local Education Agencies (LEAs), SEAs, and Educational Cooperatives when attempting to obtain funding to narrow digital equity gaps (dependent on data quality procedures and automation). Additionally, combining this data with grades, marks, assessment results, high-school completion, and dropout data can provide helpful correlations related to digital equity. 

Wisconsin DPI Note

As of July 2020, the Wisconsin DPI has designed and implemented a solution aligned with this Working Draft. Details and suggestions from the WI DPI experience have been included in the content that follows.


General Discussion 

Digital inequity has been brought into the spotlight during the COVID-19 pandemic as LEAs quickly pivoted to virtual online learning at scale. During the COVID-19 pandemic, LEAs surveyed have been collecting digital equity data using a number of methods including phone calls, surveys, Google Forms, and so forth. Some are planning to capture this data during online registration for the 2020-2021 school year. LEAs would like a common repository that makes it easy to collect and report on this information. The SIS is the best candidate for collecting this data as it is the LEA "operating system" that already collects student data points and is wired to send data to an Ed-Fi ODS / API.

The Ed-Fi SEA user group consciously decided to collect this data using a core Ed-Fi aggregate with a core data array (as opposed to an extension). The goal is to lessen the development impact for SIS vendors, LEAs, and SEAs. Though there is some development and integration testing work required, this approach will minimize the effort.

Use Cases

The initial data points targeted for collection by Ed-Fi-enabled SEAs include:

  • If the student has reliable internet access in their residential environment.
  • If the student has access to a dedicated desktop computer, laptop, tablet, or Chromebook for their school assignments. "Dedicated" means the device is available to the student during the school day and for homework versus having to share a device between siblings, parents, or other household members.

Student Digital Equity Data Submission via Ed-Fi API

Ed-Fi API Details

The existing data aggregate studentIndicators array in /studentEducationOrganizationAssociation will be used for this collection. 

studentEducationOrganizationAssociation Resource

Two of the primary properties within /studentEducationOrganizationAssociation capture the educationOrganizationReference and the studentReference. This allows for critical connections across the data model when performing analysis.

Figure 1. Education organization and student references in /studentEducationOrganizationAssociation

Wisconsin DPI Note

In Wisconsin DPI, the educationOrganizationReference is the school ID. Other implementations might use the LEA ID.

studentIndicators Array

The studentIndicators array was the consensus spot for the placement of the digital equity data.

The studentCharacteristics array was ruled out after discussion as it is used for capturing boolean information meant to collect traditional demographics tied to a student’s home situation. The studentIndicators array is defined as indicators to influence more effective education or intervention. Therefore, the working group felt that the digital equity collection aligned better to the studentIndicators definition.

Figure 2. The studentIndicators array in /studentEducationOrganizationAssociation 

Additional API properties

Other data properties already collected in some LEA and SEA implementations can be leveraged for data mashups mentioned above.

Wisconsin DPI Note

Currently, assessment outcomes don’t come in via the Wisconsin WISEdata Ed-Fi API pipeline. Projects are currently underway to collect assessment outcomes via the API in future school years. Right now, that data comes into the WI Data Warehouse via file loads.

Figure 3. Examples of other data properties within the studentEducationOrganizationAssociation that aid in digital equity analysis

Required Data Elements (StudentIndicator Array)

  • InternetAccessInResidence
  • InternetAccessTypeInResidence
  • InternetPerformance
  • DigitalDevice
  • DeviceAccess


Can the student access the internet on their primary learning device at home?


No - Not Available

No - Not Affordable

No - Other


What is the primary type of internet service used at the residence?

ResidentialBroadband (e.g., DSL, Cable, Fiber)







Can the student stream a video on their primary learning device without interruption?

Yes - No issues
Yes - But not consistent


What device does the student most often use to complete school work at home?



Is the primary learning device a personal device or school-provided? Is the primary learning device shared with anyone else in the household?

Personal - Dedicated (one person per machine)

Personal - Shared (sharing among others in household)

School Provided - Dedicated

School Provided - Shared


The indicator group in StudentIndicator will be 'DigitalEquity' for the above data elements.

Implementation Guidance

Example Application Logic for a Student Information System 

The SEA community is recommending that SIS providers control data quality based on values selected in drop-down user interface controls (i.e., no manual text data entry) and business rule edits.

The following pseudocode provides an example of how a SIS might implement the business logic:

If "InternetAccessInResidence" not equal to "Yes – Internet Access In Residence"
	User required to answer
End If 

If "DigitalDevice" = "None"
	User required to answer "DeviceAccess"
End If

SIS Vendor Use Cases for Student Digital Equity Capture 

The SIS Vendor solutions should be able to capture and save the digital equity student indicators using the following methods.

SIS/Parent Portal - Student Enrollment 

  • LEA Data Administrator
    • LEA Administrator registers the student in the SIS with the parent/guardian providing information verbally.
    • LEA Administrator is hand-keying a registration into the SIS based on a paper document completed by a parent/guardian.
  • Parent / Guardian
    • Parent is registering their student via an online SIS portal (if the SIS vendor currently provides a parent portal for registration).

SIS/Parent Portal - Student Data Update

  • LEA Data Administrator
    • LEA Administrator updates student digital equity data via the SIS based on information from the student, parent/guardian, or teacher/counselor.
  • Parent / Guardian
    • Parent updates information in parent portal (if the SIS vendor provides a parent portal with update functionality today).

LEA/SEA Ed-Fi Integration

  • New Enrollments
    • Student digital equity data should flow to the Ed-Fi ODS via the Ed-Fi API (using the /studentEducationOrganizationAssociation endpoint) at the time other enrollment data is sent to the Ed-Fi API.
  • Student Data Updates
    • Student digital equity data updates should flow to the Ed-Fi ODS via the Ed-Fi API (/studentEducationOrganizationAssociation endpoint) at the time other enrollment and student data updates are sent to the Ed-Fi API.

Agency-Level Data Validations 

Data quality checks an LEA or SEA could implement include:

  1. No Digital Equity Record submitted for any student in the school.
  2. No Digital Equity Record submitted for student.

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