kid in puddle

What is EdExchange?


It’s on my permanent record, oh crap!

Back in grade school before going outside, the principal warned the student body to avoid the muddy field on the loudspeaker. My classmates and I ignored his command and played one of our best kickball games on the forbidden field. Returning to classroom we left a trail of muddy footprints. Of course, the principal followed the trail and rounded a group of us up in the auditorium. We were all given detention, and a broom and mop to cleanup. Worse, we were told this day would be put on our permanent record!

I was ashamed and scared and could barely bring it up with my parents at the age of eight. Later, when graduating sixth grade, I was given a citizenship medal from our local VF Post that was ceremonially pinned on my shirt.

Both markers, good or bad, were forms of acknowledgement recorded and assessed by others. The actual records were not owned or controlled be me. They were curated on my permanent record in the principal’s office. Both abstracted the circumstances and may have relevancy in my future perhaps – whether I wished for that or not, does not matter now.

Will we ever reach the day when we have the means to express our education, work and life experiences authenticated by the organizations we intersect with over our lifetime? Will our bread crumbs be visible and traceable across the many facets of life? Will I be able to control them? Or will someone else, like the three big national credit agencies tracking my purchases, debts, income and patterns. Putting aside whether we desire this on a personal level, can we see a systematic method emerging enabling the tracking of events recorded across organizational systems? That’s an interesting question worth pondering as many EdTech innovators are promoting digital badging technology as the means to project awards, competencies and achievements on one’s profile or online resume or comprehensive learner record.

The declaration of a four-year degree, or ten-year period of employment, may be more relevant and important than a weekend training certificate or badge that represents I mastered MS Word or have learned Python at the entry level. The challenge is enabling any credential provider with supporting technology to serve digital requests for documentation, verification or authentication on-demand from stakeholders who have a need for verification and evaluation.

Representing credentials and achievements, or claims for that matter, is not the central challenge in my estimation. It’s the validation or consumption of them and determining their relevancy and applicability to the person. This leads us to the need for a digital lookup function and the need to handle the request/response between digital trading partners seeking verification or documentation from the authoritative source – either directly or through a service provider on behalf of the authoritative source of information.

The premise we are never going to be able to dictate a unified way of recognizing or documenting achievements, competencies or awards is not the main thrust in my viewpoint. It is the request to validate the authenticity of a claim and the request for details, if desired, to describe them so anyone could comprehend, compare and evaluate the relevancy.

A group of Edtech leaders have been working on launching EdExchange, a PESC project designed to support the secure exchange of digital services and documents between digital trading networks and partners. No educational provider or organization is an island isolated from the need to request, or respond to requests, for documents or services supporting the education, training or learning experiences. Whether we need to release enrollment information, assessments, financial data, achievements, evidence of learning, or any other form of information that could be communicated in digital form, the industry needs the means to lookup and act on those use cases.

EDEXCHANGE is an exchange service offered and operated by PESC and governed by a steering committee of PESC Members. The foundation of the service is a directory 'look up' where subscribers (institutions, vendors, service and data providers) are able to determine availability of digital services, data or documents electronically. The directory server lists the technical capacity called end points offered by participants, the document types supported electronically and identifier data such as institutional identifiers like the PESC GEO Code. To exchange data, institutions or service providers or organizations called subscribers connect directly to the network to send and receive electronic packages with respective target recipients on-demand. This lookup service is similar to DNS and the communication protocol is similar HTTP.

EDEXCHANGE is open source. The EDEXCHANGE specification was designed with open web services architecture and is available on GITHUB.

EDEXCHANGE is available to anyone who wishes to connect to the private network, utilize the lookup and communication protocol methods provided.

EDEXCHANGE is not a database and does not store data or documents. It is similar to the internet DNS and email services which enable lookup, send and receive messages initiate recipients’ action and response.

EDEXCHANGE does not limit types of services, data or digital documents to be exchanged. Subscribers can promote new document types between two or more trading partners. PESC manages the inclusion of document types on the network to avoid contaminating the use and purpose.


EDEXCHANGE originally began as the main project of PESC's Common Data Services Task Force (CDS Task Force launched at the Fall 2011 Data Summit). The California Community College Technology Center requested through PESC, the formation of both CDS and EDEXCHANGE, and have remained consistent leaders and participants, dedicating resources, hardware, software, and technical staff to run the service in test and throughout the pilot and production phases.


EDEXCHANGE provides those that use, collect or exchange services, data or documents with a consistent, reliable, open, cross-sector standardized option for digital exchange. Whether institutions communicate through the network directly or use a third party service provider, EDEXCHANGE serves both, providing exchange services for all needs securely.


An EDEXCHANGE User Group formed and established a Steering Committee in 2015, ultimately governed by the PESC Board of Directors, to administer more direct management, oversight and strategic planning of EDEXCHANGE. The Steering Committee is made up of nine (9) PESC Member representatives, is diverse, representing the various sectors across education, is semi-autonomous, and is responsible for the overall management of EDEXCHANGE.


EDEXCHANGE seeks wide adoption across any stakeholder or group that wishes to support a secure communication framework. In order to achieve this mission and purpose, EDEXCHANGE subscribers remit an annual subscription service fee allowing unlimited use of the service while general lookup would be free of charge. There is a tiered schedule designed to support the management, operation and evolution of the network. PESC members who volunteer and contribute to EDEXCHANGE are grandfathered into a discounted subscription structure. Non-PESC members can subscribe.


EDEXCHANGE User Group meetings are open to all PESC Members. Join the User Group calls held monthly on the 1st Thursday at 4pm EST.​ For more information, go here.


Visit the Onboarding Guide and submit your registration today!