Leveraging Clever when SIS integration is difficult
Early days in this work I thought Data Viz Starter Pack would support three student information systems (SIS), that there were only a handful in the edTech space anyway, and data out would be a breeze. Ha! Not the case. Today we support eSchool Plus, Illuminate, PowerSchool, Skyward, and soon Infinite Campus. I’ve come to realize that it isn’t the SIS that decides if a district would benefit from the Starter Pack, but rather: 1. Do they have a person in their organization who is passionate and ready to take on this work? 2. Do they know what work they’d like to illuminate and which integrations are most necessary?
I’ve also found that there are districts who host their SIS, districts where the state hosts it, and districts where the SIS is hosted by the vendor.
It is on our roadmap to help schools introduce an Ed-Fi ODS so that all data can be fed into one place with a common data standard. We are not there yet. We need more SIS and edTech vendors to be Ed-Fi certified and support pushing data to an ODS. Until we are there, we need to find ways to easily bring data into reporting environments so that analysts can build the reports they need.
We leverage Clever at times when SIS data exports are difficult to come by. The Clever team has been awesome and very helpful in helping schools gain access to their data. Clever is the conduit for learning applications to connect to a school’s SIS so those applications can be rostered and kept up to date.
Districts that use Clever can request an API token giving them access to their district’s data. This token can only be used by internal applications and is used to make requests against the Clever API. Leveraging Google Apps Script, we pull data from the API to fit our Data Viz Starter Pack base data sets. This allows us to give data analysts data sources in Google Data Studio that provide current student and staff lists and course enrollments.