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.