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Housekeeping…. For those with CEU forms, bring them to me They will be returned after the session. Intros…. Phil Bettendorf / Level Data Background: Teacher, PowerSchool Admin, Network Admin, programmer, systems engineer. Presenters Expectations. What this session is

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  • For those with CEU forms, bring them to me
  • They will be returned after the session


  • Phil Bettendorf / Level Data
  • Background: Teacher, PowerSchool Admin, Network Admin, programmer, systems engineer

Presenters Expectations

  • What this session is
    • Understanding foundation table structure in Powerschool and ways to access data in that structure via the Powerschool GUI database management function (DDE/DDA – AKA DDE/DDA)
      • What is “foundation table structure”?
        • Introduction of Oracle DB management has created a set of tables that are not access through the GUI. Those tables are primarily the Teacher gradebook tables. General rule of thumb is that non-teacher gradebook files are foundation tables.
  • What this session is not
    • Exclusive ways to get at data through traditional means in the GUI (quick exports, lists, reporting)

Presenters Assumptions

  • DDE/DDA setups screens will not be covered as part of the session, but can be discussed if individuals feel there is a need for clarifications
  • Focus is on understanding structure and ways to access data for external analysis, reporting


Understanding Powerschool internals – review

Export via DDE/DDA and analysis in Excel

Another method to get at data… Bonus!!!


Attendee Roles

  • Typical attendees for this session have been
    • Secretaries
    • Principals
    • System Administrators
  • Additional district representation here today?



  • Depends on your role…
    • You share with me what your role is in your District, and give me you want to take away from this session today.
  • Example
    • I am a secretary and have access to DDE/DDA. I want to pull a list of discipline log information for my school but don’t want to use the GUI. Can I do that?
      • The answer is, “yes you can”!


Oracle has introduced an efficient way of accessing data. Should I still use DDE/DDA ?

How long will DDE/DDA be around?

Is the data I export via DDE/DDA out of date as soon as I export it?

What is the best use of the DDE/DDA feature in Powerschool?

How can I get more information about DDE/DDA









Web based


http://your URL/admin

Web based

http://your URL/public



Web based

Web based

http://your URL/subs

http://your URL/teachers


part 1


“As an important step of knowledge discovery in databases, data mining is a process of analyzing data in order to discover implicit, but potentially useful information and uncover previously unknown patterns and relationships hidden in data, which has been applied in many fields. “


  • How can we achieve this in Powerschool?
    • DDE/DDA Exports


DDE/DDA provides us a tool to pull information out of Powerschool for analysis.

Bridging the “Data Gap” is only inhibited by creativity… Don’t be limited to traditional methods; think “outside the box” !!!


Data-DrivenDecision Process


PowerSchool Schema

  • Note: this feature has been disabled as of version 6.x
  • Put the following in your URL bar:
    • http://<IP address>/admin/home?ac=structure

There are over 195

tables within

Powerschool that

all are related in one

way or another


CC Table











Student Table


Section Table


Schools Table


Table relationships

Field 1

Field 2


Feeder 1 ID

Feeder 2 ID

Feeder 3 ID

Feeder X ID

Feeder X ID

Feeder 1 ID

Feeder 3 ID

Feeder 2 ID



Exporting Data From PowerSchool Using DDE - DDE stands for Direct Database Export and can be found by going to System, Direct Database Export.  Since it's part of the System pages, not everyone may be able to access it depending on security privileges.  DDE lets you view information in the various database tables that make up the PowerSchool database and export that information out to a file that can be opened by Excel.  DDE does not allow you to make any changes to the database directly - something known as DDA (Direct Database Access) allows you to do that instead. 

-Matt Fruend



  • Direct Data Export (DDE)
  • Why use DDE?
    • Export or filter information not easily obtained through the PowerSchool interface
    • Track down data issues (technical staff)
  • Effective management of student data via database interface requires:
      • Knowledge of data elements
      • Knowledge of table relationships

DDE/DDABackgrounddata elements

  • Data are stored for efficiency; not convenience
  • Foreign key naming (most of the time)
    • The letters ID are added to the name of the field
  • Examples / foreign keys:
    • TermID is stored internally as a # in all feeder tables and the term name is defined in Terms
    • SchoolID is stored internally as a # in all feeder tables and the school name is defined in Schools
    • StudentID is stored internally as a # in all feeder tables and the students name is defined in the Student table

DDE/DDABackgrounddata elements

  • Knowing which primary keys are stored as a foreign key in a related table allows the DDE user to export information that makes sense (ie Semester 1 instead of 1601)
  • There are some caveats to the foreign key naming. An example…
    • The Sections table has a field called Teacher. It contains the ID of the Teacher; not the teacher name.

DDE Backgrounddata elements

  • Another example of storing data for efficiency… lookup values vs. literals:
      • Examples:
      • FTE (stored as # but might mean “Full Time”)
      • Attendance codes (stored as a # but might
      • mean “A” for Absent)
  • Another example are defined values that are not stored anywhere; they just “are”
    • Enroll_status in the student table
      • 0 = active, 2 = transferred, etc.

DDE Backgrounddata elements

  • Related tables
  • How to link up tables
  • Next slide will show an example of the CC (enrollment) table and related tables.

DDA - modify

  • What is DDA?
    • Ability to modify/delete data
  • Who needs to use DDA?
    • Authorized technical support contacts
  • Why would you want to use DDA?
    • Fix corrupt data as a result of a system bug or a user error
    • Some use it as a “quick fix” without regard to related table data. Can cause bigger problems!
  • Recommendation
    • Give at most 1 person in your district access to DDA

Exporting out of DDE/DDA

  • Live examples of getting data from the DDE/DDA

Pivot tables

  • Allows analysis of vast amounts of data into concise views
    • Who is the target audience?
    • DDE/DDA exports provide the source for these tables
    • Important note: Pivot tables are built on static data sets… But there is a way for them to be dynamic…

Pivot tables –building a dynamic pivot table

  • Dynamic pivot tables start with a data set defined with a named range and a formula that will ebb and flow with number of rows in the range.
  • =OFFSET(‘{sheetname}'!$A$1,0,0,COUNTA('{sheetname}'!$A:$A),COUNTA('{sheetname}'!$1:$1))
  • {sheetname} refers to the sheet that the data resides in.
  • Note: 2007 Excel allows you to change a data source range, but it is not dynamic. You have to change the range each time rows grow and shrink

Other ways to get

at data…

Match Function

This is one of the more under-utilized features in the Powerschooladmins “data” mining arsenal…


Match Function

Data are stored in individual “buckets” that are specific to a functional area within the system. Each “bucket” of information (table) has connectors to other “buckets” of information (table) so that the data makes sense.

The Match functions works by being able to extract related data that is associated from one table to another related table.

This is one of the more under-utilized features in the Powerschooladmins “data” mining arsenal…


Match Function

Match function overview…


Start with the Source table – filter the

selection for which you want the match

Go to the Target table – select all… Then

Match to the table that holds the selection

for which the match is to happen.

note: there must be a relationship between the tables


Match FunctionExercise

Match back to the Student table…

If the result of a Match function is student centric, and you want the

ability to manage the group (browse, create a stored selection), perform

a Match back to the Student table… Powerschool maintains the

current selection from DDE to the front page of the application for the

user performing the Match function…

StoredGrades -> Student



  • Excel Pivot table
  • Informing Practices and Improving Results with Data-Driven Decisions