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Meeting Information


January 18, 2012



Attending: James Fiore and Toby Vandemark, co-chairs; Alex Minkofsky, Tarang Shah, Peter Samoulian, Valerie Smothers

Agenda Items

Toby introduced James as the new co-chair of the working group. James is the Director of information Technology at the American Board of Surgery. James has experience implementing MedBiquitous standards at the Board.

1. Review minutesof Jun 22

The minutes were approved.

2.  Discuss department of education assessment workand current status (new link)

Valerie explained that this grew out of the discussion on including assessment results on the last call. The issue was brought to the Technical Steering Committee for discussion. Dan Rehak of the technical Steering Committee pointed the group to the Race to the Top Assessment program ,which is looking to enable exchange of assessment data electronically. The Department of Education has proposed a standards-based framework. The Technical Steering Committee recommended keeping an eye on the effort as it unfolds, as it is likely to sway the education and assessment industries.

James asked about the use case for the assessment standards. Valerie replied that they want states to be able to export and send assessment data in a standardized format as part of a grant funding program.

James pointed out that comments received on the document are linked at bottom of the new link page. The group read through the comments together.

Toby commented that Sharon Lewis, Council of the Great City Schools, has 2 concerns. 1) They are not sure how to implement models with various methods of scoring. 2)There is no reference to staff or class data. If we can’t access class data, impede ability to manage the administration and instructional application of the assessment.

Broward County had three requests. 1) Consider an approach that uses a federated search across content management, learning management, and assessment management systems. 2) Include IMS standards. 3) Include SIF, ADL, and SCORM in addition to IMS.

James asked how else this might be used in MedBiquitous. Valerie replied that there is the potential for assessment results to be used in the educational achievement specification as well as the Activity Report specification. MedBiquitous would like to have a consistent approach across standards.

James commented this would likely not change how boards interact with test vendors. If the general use case is output to end users, that makes sense. We could more easily follow a standard as it develops.

Valerie reviewed that ABIM had proposed extending the activity report to include assessment results and registration.

James commented that he would study the Department of Education documents further. As of April 2011, they agreed that xml standard data formats need to be developed. Nothing else has been developed. Don already has standards that he wants to use. He doesn’t see any reason not to wait it out and see what the Department of Education does. ABS and others are already using what ABIM has proposed. They will follow that for now. We can also try to play an active role in what Department of Education develops.

Toby agreed with the wait and see approach.

James asked if there are any timelines. Valerie offered to ask Dan Rehak about that on the next technical Steering call and report back to the working group. James recommended considering the possibility of appointing someone to join any Department of Education standards Development efforts if appropriate.

3.  Review TSC recommendations regarding extensibility and compatibility 

Valerie explained that instead of using XtensibleInfo, the xsd:any element would be added to the schema in strategic places to allow for extensibility wherever the working group feels it is needed. Organizations wishing to extend the schema would have to create a schema for the elements they wished to add. Any added elements must be declared in a different namespace.

James agreed this was a positive development reflecting how XML is intended to be used. He suggested that we consider suggesting changes where appropriate. The suggestions from Pediatrics are good.

Peter agreed that made sense. One could declare new namespace and add custom elements there.

The group recommended that if anyone has a place they want to extend to send that suggestion to the working group.

Valerie will add extensibility to the ActivityReport element, ActivityReports, Module, and Activity. (amended from original)

4.  Review potential changes resulting from ABP web services implementation

  • Adding a unique id to ActivityReports (the root element)
  • Adding a unique ID to Activity Report
  • Adding a new element called FailureInstance (failure reason, description, node)

Peter commented that this is a two part question. Failure node has unbounded cardinality. Failure reason does, too. But is it impossible to tell which reasons pair with which nodes. How do we indicate multiple failure descriptions within an activity? How do we bind specific failure reason and node together?

James commented that we talked about adding a unique id for each activity. That needs to be added as well.

The group agreed with the web services updates as described. Valerie will provide a modification for review on the next call.

Peter noted that the cardinality of failure node and failure reason should change if they are subelements of failure instance. He added that the same structure could be used under the other operations in the web service. Valerie agreed.

Valerie asked if others were using the web service definitions. Tarang replied that they do not, but that 20-30 states are using their Professional Profile service.

The group decided to schedule another meeting in a month’s time.

5.  Open discussion


Action Items

  • Valerie and James will ask Dan Rehak about the Race to the Top Assessment Framework timeline on a future Technical Steering Committee call.
  • Valerie will add extensibility to the ActivityReport element.
  • Valerie will update the spec to include unique ids for activity reports and activity report.
  • Jody will work with Toby and James to schedule a meeting for February.
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