The purpose of this page is to share information about a new state system for school districts to use to report educational data, and why it might matter to you. The new system is called Ed-Fi and it is being implemented to help improve the collection of required educational data from Minnesota school districts.  


In 2016, the Minnesota Legislature passed changes to existing statutes that require school districts, including charter schools, to collect and report more detailed demographic information about graduation and assessment results for students who are American Indian and students of color. We refer to these new requirements as data disaggregation. This legislation is referred to as the “All Kids Count Act,” and the more detailed reporting is called data disaggregation. Read the full text of the legislation: Minnesota Statutes, sections 120B.31, subdivision 3a, and 120B.35, subdivision 3.

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) and the Minnesota Information Technology agency (MNIT) sought to understand school districts’ capacity to meet this new requirement. They began to fully understand the complexities and magnitude of the tasks ahead of them, at the state and school district levels.

MDE and MNIT requested and received funds to help understand the situation better. They studied the feasibility of school districts carrying out the new data disaggregation requirements. They spoke with stakeholders (people who would care about this and/or be affected by this) and learned that there is a need for a more flexible and streamlined system for school districts to use to report their data. And they realized that, although the purpose of the new data collection is to allow for more detailed analysis of educational data for more specific groups of students, the changes that result would impact other areas at the state level that use student demographic data, such as school finance.

MDE and MNIT had two important tasks ahead of them:

  1. To find a way to use technology to minimize the burden on school personnel and to better connect different data sources at the state level as the new requirements are implemented; and,
  2. To communicate the new requirements in a way that is culturally sensitive and respectful, but also is clear, and results in collecting the most accurate information. You can read more about the requirements for the new data disaggregation and considerations for communicating these changes with families, schools and other stakeholders. Visit the Counting all Students webpage.

Data Systems

What exactly is happening, and when?

The technology changes will happen in two ways.

First, the vendors that provide current Student Information Systems (SISs) used by school districts will work with MDE to make changes to how data is provided to MDE and will add the necessary data elements to comply with state law. These changes will assist in collecting the new and current data while improving flexibility and efficiency. Second, at MDE, this new technology called Ed-Fi is being implemented to help connect the various data systems used in MDE, to minimize disruption to necessary day-to-day work, like calculating and distributing school funding, and sharing data with testing companies.

Ed-Fi is being implemented in phases.

In the first phase, five pilot districts will implement some aspects of the new system in the 2018-19 school year. The aspects they report will include the new race ethnicity categories required by the “All Kids Count Act”, plus a subset of the MARSS data. During this pilot phase, the five school districts and all of the Student Information System (SIS) vendors in the state will meet regularly to share their experiences and learning so they can be a resource during statewide implementation. (These meetings have already begun.)

Phase two will start in 2019-20, when all school districts will be invited to start using Ed-Fi, but will be asked to also continue to report through MARSS the same way they do now. School districts will be required to do dual reporting for the first year. Any school district that does not have its data certified through Ed-Fi will need to continue dual reporting for an additional year to work through issues.

Implementation will continue in school year 2020-21 with 50 percent of Minnesota school districts reporting all MARSS data using Ed-Fi while also submitting their MARSS data through the legacy AB file submission, thus dual submission. During school year 2021-22, the goal is for these Minnesota school districts to report all MARSS data using only Ed-Fi.

School year 2021-22 is the last year for a district to do dual submission before Ed-Fi reporting for all MARSS data becomes mandatory in school year 2022-23.


Frequently Asked Questions