Print this Page


Common Education Data Standards (CEDS)

The Common Education Data Standards (CEDS) Initiative is a joint effort by CCSSO and the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) in partnership with the United States Department of Education and has been defined as, "The collaborative effort to identify, refine, and create a core set of Common Education Data Standards for early childhood, k-12, post-secondary and workforce domains that will attract widespread, voluntary adoption, enable comparability between agencies within states and across states, and ultimately enhance policy-making and student achievement." .  Educators and policy makers need clear, consistent data about students and schools in order to draw valid comparisons between key indicators of educational success and identify areas where we can improve classroom instruction and student support from early childhood through K-12 education to postsecondary education and the workforce.

The Initiative consists of two parallel and coordinated efforts:

  • The Education Science Reform Act of 2002 gave the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) the authority to determine voluntary standards and guidelines to assist state educational agencies in developing statewide longitudinal data systems (SLDSs). NCES has reached out broadly to the community for input on the process and standards and has formed a Stakeholder Group that formally advises the development process.
  • The CEDS Consortium is a coalition of education stakeholders that is enthusiastically supporting these efforts. We believe the value of these standards can not only support the SLDSs but can extend well beyond to assist the education community in hundreds of other ways. Led by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO, the Consortium is supporting the CEDS Initiative with the mission of (1) communicating and advocating about CEDS to the K-12 and postsecondary environments and (2) promoting adoption and implementation of CEDS within and across those education environments. Those efforts will be expanded to include the early childhood and, possibly, the workforce environments.

Adoption and use of the CEDS will increase the ability to share and compare data consistently and broadly across and within states and educational entities at all levels and to improve decision making and ultimately student outcomes

What is CEDS?

CEDS creates definitions of and formats for a subset of key education data elements, beginning with key K-12 data elements and K-12-to-post secondary transition elements. Developed with the guidance, input and participation of a broad range of education stakeholders, the goal for the CEDS Initiative is voluntary adoption and wide acceptance within and across states' K-12 and post secondary sectors, eventually extending to early childhood and workforce. Version 1.0 was released in September 2010 and includes 161 data elements and their definitions. Future versions of CEDS will build on work done in Version 1.0 to include more postsecondary, early childhood and workforce development elements.

 CEDS: K-12 Implementation

CCSSO, on behalf of the states, is actively engaged in efforts to ensure that states have the option to adopt voluntarily a set of common education data standards.  The Council  has worked with its members to determine strategic goals that build immediate and long-term capacity in state data and information systems.  States have identified the need for systems that can

  •  inform teaching and learning,
  • automate federal and state reporting,
  • support implementation of state accountability systems based on the newly proposed accountability principles, and
  • inform each state's constituencies and communities (by automating resources like SchoolDataDirect, SchoolMatters, and others). 

To help states, CCSSO and some of its partners have been working on a mechanism states can use to implement CEDS 2.0 and to meet their data and information system needs.  Implementation of CEDS 2.0 in each state must start with several assumptions.   Implementation of CEDS 2.0 must: 

  • be voluntary, of course;
  • respect the investments you've already made in your state's data and information systems;
  • meet your state's comprehensive data needs for providing services to learners and other stakeholders;
  • provide data that can be used in collective and collaborative efforts with other states;
  • create a data system that can reduce your state's costs while improving services to learners and other stakeholders; and
  • adapt to evolving and emerging data tools, strategies, and needs.

The following list is offered as background to understanding CCSSO's decision to clarify its position on the K-12 common education data standard:

  • The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) convened a new CEDS Stakeholder Group to replace the Technical Working Group that had facilitated the development of CEDS 1.0.  CCSSO is represented in the CEDS Stakeholder Group.
  • The new CEDS Stakeholder Group has set an ambitious timeline for the development and publishing of CEDS 2.0 with a vastly expanded data dictionary and an accompanying data model.
  • CCSSO has sponsored the development of the State Core Model, which includes a set of data elements that have been and are being mapped to data systems in more than thirty states.
  • NCES and CCSSO have negotiated the transfer of the State Core Model to the CEDS Stakeholder Group to inform the development of the CEDS 2.0 data model.  The CEDS Stakeholder Group will determine the actual content of CEDS 2.0.
  • The CEDS Consortium has tightened up its management structure to focus on action and products to address advocacy, communication, adoption, and implementation of CEDS 2.0.  That focus will highlight specific mechanisms through which states can voluntarily adopt and implement CEDS 2.0.  CCSSO and the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) are the managing partners of the CEDS Consortium.
  • Draft 1 of CEDS 2.0 Version 1 was released by the CEDS Stakeholder Group for public review and comment.
  • The Michael and Susan Dell Foundation (MSDF) released Ed-Fi, a data model that includes specifications for dashboard applications.  Ed-Fi includes elements defined in CEDS 1.0 but contains only a small extended subset of CEDS 2.0.
  • CCSSO has facilitated meetings and conversations with EIMAC members, NCES staff, MSDF staff, staff at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF, which funds the CEDS Consortium work), and others to promote discussion of the broad data and information needs of states as well as the implementation of specific data models for the development of specific applications.
  • CCSSO also has facilitated conversations with its business partners and others with regard to the need for a common education data standard across the K-12 and postsecondary data environments.

Contact:Kimberly  Rhodeskimberlyr@ccsso.org202-312-6865