EdExchange Data Standard Enters Pilot Phase

EdExchange Open Data StandardA group of higher education organizations has begun piloting EdExchange, an open standards-based way to securely exchange real-time data—such as electronic transcripts—between academic institutions and their service providers.

Pilot participants initially include the National Student Clearinghouse, Parchment, Educational Credential Evaluators, University of Phoenix and the California Community Colleges (CCC) Technology Center, which spearheaded development of EdExchange. Additional participants are being sought to join the pilot.

How EdExchange Works

EdExchange is faciltated by a directory server—essentially a secure address book of validated network servers within the exchange. Data to be sent over the network is placed in an encrypted “EdExchange Envelope”; the receiver then sends a similarly encrypted confirmation back to the sender. Avoiding file-based technologies keeps data strictly between the sender and receiver, ensuring security of the information.

Developed through open-source collaboration, the process simplifies data transfers between organizations by making sure everyone is using the same technology. Previously, there was no consistent way to request and exchange documents between academic institutions, and no confirmation of delivery, said Lou Delzompo, Chief Technology Officer of the CCC Technology Center, in an announcement of the EdExchange pilot at the recent Spring 2016 Data Summit organized by the P20W Education Standards Council (PESC).

Any provider using EdExchange standards and registered in the service network could communicate directly with the appropriate exchange host for a targeted institution, noted Tim Calhoon, Executive Director of the CCC Technology Center.

"The services would be 'payload agnostic' and, while our immediate interest is for transcript exchange, the network could be used for the exchange of other existing or future PESC standard transactions," Calhoon said.

Next Steps

Feedback is now being sought from organizations piloting EdExchange with their partners. During the pilot phase, the PESC Common Data Services (CDS) Taskforce hopes to collect information about best practices and organizational processes.

Refinement of EdExchange is ongoing, with production release slated for later this year. The to-do task list includes development of administrator login and dashboard controls, creation of an API to manage accounts and a database to support these, as well as API documentation and examples of use.

EdExchange is the first project of the CDS Taskforce, originally proposed in 2011 by Calhoon, who now serves as co-chair. EdExchange is operated by PESC and governed by a steering committee of higher-education administrators and technology providers. PESC members are eligible to participate in EdExchange as service providers or as user institutions.

For information about joining EdExchange or the CDS Taskforce, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Crista Souza is the TechEDge News Editor