How it Works
Get the complete picture of your district with up-to-date, standardized, and clean data using CPSI’s toolsets.
Schools and districts use data that comes from many different applications and sources. The problem is that the data must be re-entered many times into each application via manual data entry or through complicated scripting. Without some way to integrate the data, keep it up to date, and check it for accuracy, the data the teachers and staff use every day becomes stale and inaccurate. This wastes time in the classroom for teachers, extra tech support tickets for IT, and frustrated administrators who are trying to analyze and report on the data.
But collecting and integrating data is not an easy task. Districts use many different applications and sources to store their data – from the Student Information System to the HR System, from the cafeteria and bus system to the library systems. Typically, this data is hand entered into the many different systems with no real “checks and balances”.
Many problems occur because of how the data is entered. Data entry staff are human and make mistakes as they enter data during busy school days. Often times, the applications used by the district offer free-entry text boxes that make it easy to enter the data incorrectly as the user is not alerted to mistakes on-screen.
A common way districts try to solve these problems is by attempting to synchronize the data from the various sources using SQL scripts and batch file processing. Unfortunately, this method of collection is performed on a scheduled basis. The scheduled file uploads happen once a day, at best, and often times happen closer to once a week or once a month.
The batch file method also has other drawbacks. Districts will attempt to collect data using their SIS as an alternative to an Operational Data Store by storing extra data in the SIS through “hacks”. These “hacks” don’t solve the issue of bad and inconsistent data – they only reduce the number of sources that are used to extract data for batch file processing. This means that bad and incorrect data continues to flow into other applications, causing students, teachers, and other district staff to go back to IT with more helpdesk tickets.
Storing the data in an Operational Data Store, or ODS, means that the data no longer has to be stored via “hacks” in the SIS. Instead, data will be collected from the many different sources in the district and stored in one central database where the data can be checked for errors. Clean data will be handed out to other applications, reducing the amount of time IT staff has to spend dealing with helpdesk tickets related to bad data.
CPSI solves the issues of data collection, standardization, and correction through the use of our xDComposer, xDStore, and xDValidator toolsets. The xDComposer is used to collect data in real time from the many different source systems over secure web services. The xDStore acts as both an ODS and a long term data repository to collect the data and store it in a standardized format for both the current year and historical data. The xDValidator tracks the data in the ODS and applies the business and data quality rules of the district to the data. IT staff or other staff is notified of the data errors via a web interface. The data is then corrected at the source. This means the data becomes cleaner over time and helps the district to run more efficiently.
Other tools we offer, such as xDREST and xDListener, allow districts to get more vendors on board with the process. CPSI offers connectors using our tools to expand data collection and integration using APIs or file import/exports for nearly any application the district owns.
The xDStore also offers the ability for districts to create multiple data repositories using any data standard as well as the ability to create custom data stores. This means that districts are not tied to a single reporting front-end, but may use any reporting system they like to deliver data. From teacher applications to parent portals to BI and analysis tools – our xDStore can provide the data.
With CPSI, all of the school and district staff can be confident that the information on their computer or device always reflects the true “picture” of the data in the district. Our solution provides everyone in the district – from students to teachers to superintendents – with the underlying foundation to provide up-to-date and “trustworthy” information in all of the applications they use.
It all begins with data.
Data is stored in many different systems throughout the district – from the SIS and HR systems to assessment and transportation systems. Data is not always easy to extract from these systems. Using CPSI data connectors and the xDComposer, data can be extracted from nearly any system in the district automatically, and typically in real time. For vendor applications offering web APIs, we offer connecter services to push and pull data, automating the process so districts never have to have a programmer on staff.
Data storage made easy.
After the data is collected, the data needs to be stored somewhere for the current year and many years to come, along with historical data. The data also needs to matched up and standardized to bring the pieces of the puzzle together. The xDStore takes the data collected from the many different sources and stores it using nearly any data standard. The xDStore becomes the ODS for the current year as well. It can also create as many long term data storage repositories in any format as the district needs.
Get the data squeaky clean.
Storing the data is not enough. Dirty data, duplicate data, and inconsistent data needs to be cleaned up before it passes along to the many different systems in the district. The xDValidator tracks all of the data in the ODS for data issues – from data entry errors to duplicate records to complex business rules. Since no coding is required to write validation rules, current IT staff can be easily trained to write even the most complex validation rules. In addition to training, CPSI offers hundreds of pre-made, common business rules that are ready to be used at the district.
Clean it up at the source.
Typically, districts have to clean up data errors and duplicate data in each and every system in the district. With xDValidator, that no longer needs to happen. The xDValidator tracks all records in the ODS and marks them when it finds errors. District staff are notified of the errors via a web interface and daily summary abstracts. District staff then corrects the errors in the source system, such as the SIS for students and the HR system for staff. Data that is marked in error is not passed along to any other system until district staff corrects the errors at the source. This means the district only corrects the data in one system and doesn’t have to worry about “dirtying” up other systems in the district.
Share data in the district easily.
Now that the data is no longer “locked” into each system, data can be shared throughout the many disparate systems in the district easily. We know that different systems offer various methods of integration – from file import/export to SFTP to direct database access to REST APIs. CPSI is here to help your district get each and every system in your district sharing data automatically. CPSI has connectors ready to go for many common applications used by districts. CPSI also offer services to create new connectors at a low (or no) cost to districts, working with your team and your vendors to make sure that your data integration needs are met.
Ensure every user can login to AD securely.
It is not easy to manage hundreds and thousands of accounts in Active Directory. Most districts have a mobility rate in their student body of at least 30%, making management of student accounts difficult and time consuming for the IT staff. xdAD lets districts take control of their Active Directory easily and efficiently. Designed just for education, xdAD automatically manages student and staff user accounts, groups, and attributes. Integrate accounts automatically with Office 365 and Google Apps. Manage AUPs and securely track user account logins and passwords for use in synchronized sign-on with other applications.
The story doesn’t end here.
CPSI knows that the needs of districts are always changing. Parents are pushing to get more access to data about their children. Students need ways to gain feedback and gather data about their own education. Teachers need ways to use all of the data about a student to help students succeed. Principals, superintendents, and other administration staff are always in need of more reporting to work on their financials and program data to make the district run effectively. IT staff need a way to manage it all. The toolsets provided by CPSI give your district the foundation of data needed to meet the growing needs of the education world.
“We believe that every student deserves the
foundation of a good education.”
-Michelle Elia, President and Founder