Common Education Data Standards (CEDS)

While education institutions across the P-20W (early learning through postsecondary and workforce) environment use many different data standards to meet information needs, there are certain data we all need to be able to understand, compare, and exchange in an accurate, timely, and consistent manner. For these, we need a shared vocabulary for education data—that is, we need common education data standards. The Common Education Data Standards (CEDS) project is a national collaborative effort to develop voluntary, common data standards for a key set of education data elements to streamline the exchange, comparison, and understanding of data within and across P-20W institutions and sectors.

What are the Parts of the Standard?

The CEDS “standards” are comprised of several pieces of information that provide context for and describe data items within CEDS:

  • Domain
  • Entity
  • Categories
  • Element
  • Option Set
  • Related Connections
  • Alternative names and other notes
  • Technical Name
  • XML Schema
  • Viewing and Interacting with CEDS

By element: Via the Elements page, users can access a searchable glossary of the CEDS “vocabulary,” including names, definitions, option sets, technical specifications, and more.

By relationship: Through the CEDS Data Model, users can explore the relationships that exist among entities and elements—viewable both through a Domain Entity Schema and a Normalized Data Schema.

By comparison: In addition to these two ways of viewing the standards, supplemental tools enable users to take the next step and put CEDS into practice. The CEDS Alignment Tool allows a user to load his or her organization’s data dictionary and compare it, in detail, to CEDS and the data dictionaries of other users’ organizations. This facilitates alignment with CEDS and across systems, paving the way for easier sharing and comparison of data. The CEDS Connect Tool is an innovative tool that allows users to find and create “Connections” from unit-level data elements (variables) to practical applications across the P-20W environment.


  • Required: Adoption of CEDS is voluntary.
  • All or nothing: Not all CEDS elements have to be utilized to realize benefits.
  • A data collection: CEDS collects no data.
  • An implementation: There is no single implementation that will work for every user. Physical implementation decisions will be made by practitioners and solution providers in the field based on their specific objectives.
  • Solely an ED undertaking: NCES is developing these standards with a group of stakeholders and publishes drafts for several public review cycles.
  • A federal unit record system: CEDS is not a student record system.

Source: Common Education Data Standards (CEDS)

Available at:

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s