Glossary of Terms

This Glossary of Terms reflects common language in each locale.

The first three columns indicate whether the item/term is used in which locale, followed by the item/term name and its full description.
AU/NZ = Australia/New Zealand
NA = North America
UK = United Kingdom

YESYESYESAccess Control ListThis is a setting in some ZISs which defines which objects, and which actions relating to them, are authorised for a given agent​.
YESYESYESACLSee Access Control List​
YESYESYESAdapterSee SIF Adapter
NONOYESADD​See Aligned Data Definition
NONOYESAligned Data Definition​Documentation defining common definitions including names, addresses, general dates, birth date, death date, fax number, phone number, email address, gender, organisation names, language codes, country codes and ethnic codes.
YESYESYESAPI(Application Programmers Interface) Access to a piece of softwares functionality or data that is designed for ease in producing code, rather than directly accessed by a user.
YESYESYESApplicationThe end-tool with which the agent interacts to add, modify, delete or retrieve data.  This could be a database or other data managing program.​
YESYESYESArchitectureDesigns or guidance on how to bring the various components of SIF Specifications together to create integrations.
YESYESYESAttribute, XML​An item associated with an XML element that describes, modifies, or provides extra information about the element content (i.e. an adjective describing the element).
YESYESYESAuthentication​The process of verifying whether someone or something is in fact who or what it declares itself to be.
YESYESYESAuthoritative Provider​The software application that is deemed the authoritative source of the data.
YESYESYESAuthorization​The process of verifying whether an authenticated user or application should be allowed to issue a specific request of a service provider, or access restricted data.
YESYESYESBroker​The software that connects agents together for a specific data scope.  Can also be referred to as 'middleware' or an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB).  Previously known as Zone Integration Server (ZIS) in all SIF Solutions prior to SIF 3.x. 
YESYESYESBrokered EnvironmentSee Environment: Brokered.​
YESYESYESBROKERED Mode/ArchitectureThe Brokered Architecture securely and reliably connects N Service Consumers to a dynamically changing list of M Service Providers through a centrally secure, separate and discrete Message Broker. The Brokered Architecture offers a superset (rather than replaces) the functionality of the DIRECT Architecture. As a result, any Service Consumer interoperating successfully in a Direct Architecture can be redeployed into a Brokered Architecture without reprogramming.
NONOYESCAB​See Component Awarding Body
YESNONOCatholic Education OfficeVictorian Catholic​ jurisdiction - for example Catholic Education Office Melbourne.
NONOYESCDD​See Common Data Definition
YESYESYESCDM​See Conceptual Data Model
NOYESNOCEDS​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.
YESNONOCEOSee Catholic Education Office​
YESYESYESCertification​Certifiation is the process the zone integration server (ZIS) or application and agent as a pair are put throughby the software applications developer. Certification warrants and tests the claims that the software application vendors assert about their ZIS or agent to the SIF Specification.
YESYESYESCertification logo​See SIF Certification logo.
YESYESYESCertification RegisterSee SIF Certification Register​.
YESYESYESCertification System Deficiency​An agreed error in the certification system, which is inhibiting the certification process.
YESYESYESCertified ProductSee SIF Certified Product.​
YESYESYESChoreography​A defined ordering of events and messages to provide a sequential process to implement business rules.
YESYESYESClientSIF 3.x Equivalent:  Service Consumer​
NOYESNOCode Set​A chosen set of values.  CEDS call these Option Sets.
YESYESYESCode Set: ​A SIF Code Set is a closed set of values for a field (element) that can be defined as a set of values.  In the SIF Data Model, Code Sets are specified in one of three ways: (1) an enumeration in the XML definition of the element in the data model, (2) an enumeration in a SIF Code Set file published separately from the Data Model, and (3) an enumeration (or range) published by an organization external to SIF.  Number (3) is called an external code set and numbers (1) and (2) are called SIF Code Sets.
NONOYESCommon Data Definition​Common Data Definitions are an important enabler for the MIAP Learner Registration Service and will allow the MIAP Learning Data Interface to pool relevant information quickly and accurately.
NOYESNOCommon Data Definition​The agreed upon and vetted written description and meaning of the data element or data field. The use of common data definitions provide an additional level of interoperablility.
NOYESYESCommon elements​Data elements that are common across multiple data objects.
NONOYESComponent Awarding Body​An awarding body offering constituent qualifications for the 14-19 Diploma, which may include principal learning, foundation, higher and extended project, functional skills and/or additional and specialist learning qualifications.
YESYESYESComposite Object​A Composite object is an object designed for a particular use case or limited set of use cases.  The object is usually made up of the combined parts of Entity objects. These objects are part of the SIF Physical Model but are not part of the Entity model (sub-model). An example of a Composite object is the StudentPersonal object from the (NA) 2.6 specification.  This object contains student information from the Student object in the Entity model as well as information from other objects.
YESYESYESConceptual Data Model​A map of concepts and their relationships that represents the high-level logical structure of the sets of data, which is independent of any software or data storage structure.
YESYESYESConformance Requirements​A definition of what mandatory and optional behavior a product must implement in order to be considered conformant to the SIF Certification Program.
YESYESYESConformance Statement​A declaration by the Solution Provider describing how the product meets the conformance requirements for the SIF Certification Program, including which optional features are supported. It also identifies the precise environment and software configuration in which conformance was tested.
YESYESYESContextA Context is optional Data Model-specific metadata that may accompany a Consumer Request as a way of further scoping and restricting the respond data. For example, a supplied Context might indicate that the Student Provider Service being requested in Zone XYZ is the one dealing with currently enrolled students, rather than the formerly enrolled students.
YESYESYESCRUD​“Create, Read, Update and Delete”, corresponding to the REST POST, GET, PUT and DELETE operations.
Referenced in the SIF 3.0 Base Architecture documentation.
YESYESYESCurriculum​A plan of instruction that details what students are to know, how they are to learn it, what the teacher's role is, and the context in which learning and teaching will take place.
NONOYESDAB​See Diploma Awarding Body
YESYESYESData Model​A description of the data structure and the way data are organized and used.
YESYESYESData ObjectAn “instantiation” or instance of a Data Object Type. A Data Object is created in XML and can be validated against the XML schema of the Data Type which it represents. 
It is also a fundamental component of the SIF data model that SIF Certification is being sought for.
NONOYESData Protection Act​(DPA) TheData Protection Act is a United Kingdom Act of Parliament. It defines a legal basis for the handling in the UK of information relating to living people. It is the main piece of legislation that governs protection of personal data in the UK. Although the Act does not mention privacy, in practice it provides a way in which individuals can enforce the control of information about themselves. Most of the Act does not apply to domestic use, for example keeping a personal address book. Organisations in the UK are legally obliged to comply with this Act, subject to some exemptions.
Compliance with the Act is enforced by an independent government authority, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). The ICO maintains guidance relating to the Act. The Act defines eight principles of information-handling practice. 
More details can be found at:
YESNONODEECDSee Department of Education and Early Childhood Development​
NONOYESDepartment for Education​UK government department with responsibility for children's services, families, schools, 14-19 education, and the Respect Taskforce.
YESNONODepartment of Education and Early Childhood Development​​(DEECD) Victorian state jurisdiction - for example Department of Education and Early Childhood Development​ Victoria.
YESNONODepartment of Education and Training(DET) State jurisdiction - for example DET QLD (Department of Education and Training Queensland) and DET NSW (Department of Education and Training New South Wales).​
YESYESYESDELAYED Request/ResponseThe Consumer issues the Request which is replied to with an “Accept” (HTTP status code 202) in the immediate HTTP response, which indicates “Request is legal and can and will be delivered to the indicated Service Provider”. This frees a single-threaded Consumer to do other things.
The Response issued by the Service Provider arrives asynchronously at a later time, in a manner identical with that of an incoming Event. It contains the Message ID of the original Request it completes. See also “IMMEDIATE Request/Response”.
YESNONODETSee Department of Education and Training​
NONOYESDfE​See Department for Education
NONOYESDiploma Awarding Body​The role of Diploma Awarding Bodies is to help centres and consortia to understand the operational arrangements and processes of the Diploma in relation to the DAB's line of learning. DABs award and certificate whole Diploma qualifications for the lines of learning for which they are recognised.
YESYESYESDirect EnvironmentSee Environment: Direct.​
YESYESYESDIRECT Mode/ArchitectureA Direct Architecture connects a single Consumer to a fixed set of one or more directly accessible Service Providers. A Direct Architecture conceptually does not leverage middleware. All Consumer to Provider connections are direct (no intermediary). Each Service Consumer is operating in an Environment of its own, and has no knowledge of any other Service Consumers. Direct Architecture standardizes SIF-compliant message exchanges between Service Consumer and Service Provider in the absence of a central Message Broker.
NONOYESDPA​See Data Protection Act
NOYESNOEducational Service Agency​Educational Service Agencies (ESAs) in many states play key roles in the economic and efficient provision of a wide range of educational services to their component school districts. ESAs are known by a variety of names including Educational Service Units (ESUs), Local Educational Agencies (LEAs), and Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES).
YESYESYESElement, DataA data field representing a defined piece of information.​
YESYESYESElement-level filtering​Optionally performed at the ZIS level to remove certain specified elements from messages. This enables different data to be sent to different subscribers from the same published messages.
YESYESYESEncryption​A way of coding information in a message so that if it is intercepted by someone as it travels over a network it cannot be read by the human eye.
YESYESYESEnterprise Service Bus (ESB)See Broker.​
YESYESYESEntity ObjectAn Entity object represents a distinct oncept taken from the logical and conceptual SIF models.  The design of these objects is model-driven, not use-case-driven, so they may need to be combined to fit a particular use case.  Examples of Entity Objects include student, teacher, school and student-school-enrollment.
YESYESYESEntity ServiceSee Service: Object
YESYESYESEnvironment​The “SIF 3.0 Environment” is made available to a Service Consumer when it initially registers. It comprises the totality of every service the Consumer might possibly provision itself to access. Based upon authentication constraints however, the Consumer’s access to some services it can see might be restricted. 
The Environment is defined by the set of Infrastructure Service URLs returned to a Service Consumer in response to a successful Registration Request. These URLs allow the Environments Provider to provide a “customized” environment for each Consumer. For example, depending on the authentication provided by the Consumer at registration time, the URLs returned may insert it into either a production or test environment, or one which provides access to only a limited subset of authorized available Service Providers.
As noted, the physical topology behind the Consumer’s Environment interface can take one of two forms - Direct or Brokered.
Referenced in the SIF 3.0 Base Architecture documentation.
YESYESYESEnvironment: Brokered​The Brokered Environment securely and reliably connects N Service Consumers to a dynamically changing list of M Service Providers through a centrally secure, separate and discrete Message Broker.
Unlike the Direct Environment, any Service Consumer with the proper authorization rights can provision itself as a Service Provider, and receive Requests from and publish Events to, other Service Consumers with the appropriate authorization rights.
A Brokered Environment commonly includes access to additional Utility functions such as support for Extended XQuery across object type boundaries.
All of the functionality provided by the SIF 2.x Zone has been maintained in the SIF 3.0 Brokered Environment, and in many cases has been extended. The formerly monolithic SIF 2.x ZIS operations have also been “repackaged” into more modular SIF 3.0 Infrastructure Service interfaces.
The “Message Broker” functionality requirements of a SIF 3.0 Brokered Environment can be implemented (among other alternatives) by SIF “business logic” layered on top of an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB), by internally coupled middleware components or by an upgraded SIF 2.x Zone Integration Server (ZIS).
The Brokered Environment offers a superset (rather than replaces) the functionality of the Direct Environment. As a result, any Consumer interoperating successfully in a Direct Environment can be redeployed into a Brokered Environment without reprogramming.
Referenced in the SIF 3.0 Base Architecture documentation.
YESYESYESEnvironment: Direct​New to the SIF 3.0 standard, the Direct Environment standardizes SIF-compliant message exchanges between Consumer and Provider in the absence of a central Message Broker.
The Direct Environment connects a single Consumer to a fixed set of one or more directly accessible Service Providers. These include, at a minimum, the mandatory set of Infrastructure Services, all mandatory Utility Services and at least one Data Object or Functional Service.
A Direct Environment conceptually does not leverage middleware. All Consumer to Provider connections are direct (no intermediary), because the Environments Provider Interface and all Service Provider Interfaces are implemented by an Environments Provider Adapter front-ending a single application (such as an SIS or LMS). This means that a Service Consumer cannot dynamically provision itself as a Service Provider when registered in a Direct Environment.
Such an Adapter implementation could simultaneously provide a separate Direct Environment to each of several Service Consumers, to enable them to directly access and update the data of its provided application.
Referenced in the SIF 3.0 Base Architecture documentation.
YESYESYESEnvironments Provider​An Environments Provider reliably and securely connects the Service Consumers to the Service Providers by implementing a set of Infrastructure Services which taken together, comprise the Environments Provider interface. 
The implementer of the Environments Provider Interface may optionally (and transparently) implement one or more Services Provider Interfaces as well. In the case of a Direct Environment, this is exactly what it must do.
SIF 2.x Equivalent for a Brokered Environments Provider:  ZISThere is no SIF 2.x Equivalent for a Direct Environments Provider
YESNONOeportfolioAlso known as e-portfolio. 
​Collection of student work and other study-based information stored and transported electronically.
YESYESYESEvent​A type of message that is sent by an agent when information in its associated application is added, changed, or deleted.
NOYESNOEvery Child Matters​Every Child Matters: Change for Children is a new approach to the well-being of children and young people from birth to age nineteen (19).
The Government's aim is for every child, whatever their background or their circumstances, to have the support they need to be healthy; stay safe; enjoy and achieve; make a positive contribution and achieve economic well-being.
NONOYESeXchanging Course Related Information​XCRI is a JISC-funded, UK-oriented project to establish a specification to support the eXchange of Course-Related Information.
A key activity for XCRI is the development of an XML specification, the XCRI Course Advertising Profile (or XCRI-CAP for short). Learning providers can publish their courses information in the standard XCRI-CAP format, so that it can be collected easily by organisations with course search services such as UCAS. Opening up the offerings of learning providers creates new possibilities for value-added services and information channels for universities, colleges, and training providers.
YESYESYESExtensible Markup Language​(XML) A standard language used to describe data. SIF messages are defined using XML.
NONOYESFE​See Further Education
NOYESNOFEP​See Fluent English Proficient
NOYESNOFluent English Proficient​A designation that means that a student is no longer considered as part of the school's English learner population. It refers to students who have learned English.
YESYESYESFunctional ServiceSee Service: Functional.​
NONOYESFurther Education​Further education (often abbreviated "FE") is a term mainly used in connection with education in theUnited Kingdom and theRepublic of Ireland. It is post-compulsoryeducation (in addition to that received atsecondary school), that is distinct from the education offered inuniversities (higher education). It may be at the same level, at a higher level, or at a lower level than secondary education, anything from basic training toHigher National Diploma orFoundation Degree.
A distinction is usually made between FE andhigher education ("HE") which is education at a higher level than secondary school, usually provided in distinct institutions such asuniversities. FE in the United Kingdom therefore includes education for people over 16, usually excluding universities. It is primarily taught in FEcolleges (which are similar in concept toUnited Statescommunity colleges, and sometimes use "community college" in their title), work-based learning, and adult and community learning institutions.
YESYESYESGUID​Globally Unique Identifier, a 32-character identifier unique across space and time. Frequently used to uniquely identify each instance of a data object (RefId), resulting in a mechanism for uniquely mapping a specific person, school, etc. in one application with the same entity in another application.
NONOYESHE​See Higher Education
NONOYESHigher Education​Higher Education (HE)is the level of instruction above that of courses leading to GCE 'A' levels, SCE 'Highers' and Certificate of Sixth Year Studies, ONC or OND. E.g. a qualification at NVQ levels 4 or 5 such as (but not exclusively) a higher degree, a first degree, a teaching qualification or a nursing qualification.
YESYESYESHorizontal reportingSee Reporting: Horizontal.​
YESYESYESHTTP​See Hypertext Transfer Protocol
YESYESYESHTTPS​SeeHypertext Transfer Protocol over Secure Socket Layer
YESYESYESHypertext Transfer Protocol​Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is a communications protocol for the transfer of information on the Internet. Its use for retrieving inter-linked text documents (hypertext) led to the establishment of the World Wide Web.Ref:
YESYESYESHypertext Transfer Protocol over Secure Socket Layer​Hypertext Transfer Protocol over Secure Socket Layer orHTTPS is a URI scheme used to indicate a secure HTTP connection. It is syntactically identical to thehttp:// scheme normally used for accessing resources using HTTP. Using anhttps: URL indicates that HTTP is to be used, but with a different default TCP port (443) and an additional encryption/authentication layer between the HTTP and TCP. This system was designed by Netscape Communications Corporation to provide authentication and encrypted communication and is widely used on the World Wide Web for security-sensitive communication such as payment transactions and corporate information systems.Ref:
NONOYESICO​See Information Commissioner’s Office
YESYESYESID​The unique and immutable identifier of a specific Data Object.
NOYESNOIEP​See Individualized Education Plan
NONOYESILP​See Individual Learning Plan
NONOYESILR​See Individual Learner Record
YESYESYESIMMEDIATE Request/ResponseThe Response to a Request is provided synchronously in the immediate HTTP response, and the Requester thread for that connection “blocks” until the Response arrives. It matches the standard RESTful Client design pattern and must be supported in both Direct and Brokered Architectures. See also “DELAYED Request/Response”.
NONOYESIndividual Learning PlanIndividual Learning Plans (ILPs) were first outlined in the DfES document “14-19: Opportunity and excellence” (January 2003), alongside increased vocational options and greater flexibility in the Key Stage 4 curriculum. They are likely to be important in developments following the Government's White Paper "14-19 Education and Skills", published in February 2005.  An Individual Learning Plan becomes increasingly important with increasing flexibility at Key Stage 4 and an increasing range of progression routes from age 16.
An individual learning plan is a plan for education and learning across the whole of 14-19, completed in year 9. It is not intended to restrict young peoples’ choices, but is likely to be revised on an annual basis as future plans become more concrete.
There is no national blueprint.
An individual learning plan: Records the progress and achievement of a young person by age 14 (this could include for example SATs results at Key Stage 2 and 3 and likely Key Stage 4 outcomes)Identifies choices at Key Stage 4 (including entitlement subjects, vocational options and possibly ideas for work experience)Establishes broad learning and career goals for the whole of the 14-19 phaseProvides the basis for on-going monitoring and review of progress throughout the 14-19 phase (for example transfer of information between pre-16 and post-16 institutions has always been a difficulty, but in one 14-19 Pathfinder they are working on an electronic version that young people could choose to take with them).
NONOYESIndividualised Learner Record​The Individualised Learner Record (ILR) is acollection of statistical data returned at various points of the academic year byproviders in theFurther Education system.
Providers submit information to the ILR at specified times throughout the academic year. The file they submit to is dependant on the funding stream that they are in receipt of, i.e.Learner Responsive (LR),Employer Responsive (ER),Adult Safeguarded Learning (ASL),European Social Fund (ESF) orUniversity for Industry (UfI).
Up to and including 2007/2008, the ILR was monitored, collected and processed by the LSC, but from 2008/2009, two independent organisations were established to take responsibility for it;
The Information Authority - Overall responsibility for the ILR and the format of the information within it.
The Data Service - carry out processing and dissemination of the data.
NOYESNOIndividualized Education Plan​(IEP) Refers to a written statement for each individual with a disability that is developed, reviewed, and revised in accordance with Title 42 U.S.C. Section 1414(d).
NONOYESInformation Commissioner's Office​(ICO) The Information Commissioner's Office is the UK's independent authority set up to promote access to official information and to protect personal information
NONOYESInformation Standards Board​The Information Standards Board (ISB) for education, skills and children’s services (escs) will be the overarching authority and governing body for the management and assurance of information and data standards across the escs system. Approved ISB information standards will ensure that information is stored in common, consistent formats which will aid front line delivery, reduce bureaucracy and enable a more joined up service.
The ISB is part of a wider Information Governance structure and reports to the DfE/DIUS Group CIO Council.
YESYESYESInternet​A worldwide "network of networks" that allows participants in different electronic networks to share information, transfer files, access news, and communicate through electronic mail.
YESYESYESInterpretation​Decision made by the A4L Community that elaborates or refines the meaning of a SIF Specification; or a standard or specification referenced by a SIF Specification.
NONOYESISB​See Information Standards Board
NONOYESISB TSS​ISB Technical Support Service.  See also Information Standards Board.
YESYESYESJSON(JavaScript Object Notation) ​A tree serialization of data, similar to XML, easily leveraged by many systems especially those with support for JavaScript.
YESNONOJurisdiction​Education body in Australia charged with the management of a school system. Examples include CEOM (Catholic Education Office Melbourne) which looks after Victorian Catholic schools, DET QLD (Department of Education and Training Queensland) and the NSW Independent Schools Association. Generally jurisdictions are state- or regionally-based, and cover three types of schools in the K12 area - state, Catholic and independent.
NONOYESKey Stage​A Key Stage is a stage of thestateeducation system in theUK setting the educational knowledge expected of students at various ages.
The stages are as follows:
Key Stage 0: Nursery and reception years (3-5 years old). Now included as part of theEarly Years Foundation Stage
Key Stage 1: Years 1 to 2 (5-7 years old)
Key Stage 2: Years 3 to 6 (7-11 years old)
Key Stage 3: Years 7 to 9 (11-14 years old)
Key Stage 4: Years 10 to 11 (14-16 years old). The exams at the end are typically of theGCSE level.
Key Stage 5 (more commonly referred to asSixth Form): Years 12 to 13 (16-18 years old). The exams at the end are typicallyA-Levels,AS-Levels,NVQs orHNDs.
TheNational Curriculum sets out targets to be achieved in various subject areas at each of the Key Stages.
NONOYESLA​See Local Authority
YESYESYESLDM​See Logical Data Model
NOYESNOLEA​See Local Education Agency
NONOYESLearner Record​The learner record is an aggregation of records about an individual’s learning that has already been collected by UK education bodies.
NONOYESLearner Registration Service(LRS) This is an internet-based service which enables education providers to generate a Unique Learner Number (ULN) for anyone over the age of 14 in UK education and training.
YESNONOLearning Management System(LMS) See Learning Platform.
NONOYESLearning Platform​A learning platform is an integrated set of interactive online services that provide teachers, learners, parents and others involved in education with information, tools and resources to support and enhance educational delivery and management.
The term learning platform refers to a range of tools and services often described using terms such as educational extranet, VLE, LMS, ILMS and LCMS providing learning and content management.
The term learning platform also includes the personal learning environment (PLE) or personal online learning space (POLS), including tools and systems that allow the development and management of eportfolios.
In principle a learning platform is a safe and secure environment that is reliable, available online and accessible to a wide user base. A user should be able to move between learning platforms throughout their life with no loss of access to their personal data.
YESNONOLMSLearning Management System - see Learning Platform.​
NONOYESLocal Authority​Local Authorities (LAs) have a duty to promote the economic, environmental and social well-being of their area, including working on cross-cutting schemes with other partners. They are democratically accountable, which gives them a distinctive leadership role in local community to set a vision for education, children and young people's services and bring together partners to achieve change and improvement.
There are 150 LAs in England. Those LAs are responsible for the strategic management for education and children and young people's services including:
 The welfare and education of every childSpecial Educational Needs (SEN)Planning the supply of school placesMaking sure every child has access to a suitable school place, or has suitable provision made for themSupporting the challenging schools, and intervening where a school is failing its pupilsAllocating funding to schoolsImplementing the refurbishment or rebuilding of every secondary school over the next 10 to 15 years through Building Schools for the Future.
NOYESNOLocal Education Agency​(LEA) A public board of education or other public authority within a State which maintains administrative control of public elementary or secondary schools in a city, county, township, school district, or other political subdivision of a state.
YESYESYESLogical Data Model​(LDM) Contains granular details about the relationships between the data elements and the desired flow of data.
NONOYESLP​See Learning Platform
NONOYESLRS​See Learner Registration Service
NONOYESManaged Learning Environment​Managed learning environments, or MLEs, are concerned with whole institutional systems, and involve the joining-up or interoperation of several separate systems - Student Record Systems, Library Systems, Management Information Systems, VLEs, timetabling systems and so on.
This is in contrast to a virtual learning environment, where the focus is on the tools used in the process of teaching in an online setting.
Essentially, a managed learning environment helps to set the perimeters of the learning experience, and makes it possible to standardize the resources used in learning in a manner that results in measured results.
NONOYESManagement Information System​(MIS) A computer based system designed specifically for schools to provide a depository for learner information. An MIS, dependant on provider, may provide, but not be limited to the following information:home address; school photo; telephone contact numbers for emergencies; d/o/b; dietary requirements (if applicable e.g. kosher meals, nut allergies); timetable details and number of absences.
It may also provideinformation on individual learners including behaviour and attendance and inform the school workforce with information to make decisions on pupil learning.
YESYESYESMandatory elements​Elements of an object that must be provisioned with data for the object to be able to function - for example, the minimum set of data required for an object.
YESYESYESMessage​An transport container for SIF Objects (in XML format). Messages are sent from agents and routed by the ZIS.
YESYESYESMessage broker​A standard middleware component which provides at a minimum automatic service discovery, context based routing and guaranteed message delivery. It is often used as the underlying implementation for the Brokered Environment Provider.
YESYESYESMessage Queues​Persistent storage areas, such as databases or files, where messages reside while waiting to be delivered.
YESYESYESMiddlewareSee Broker.​
NONOYESMIS​See Management Information System
NONOYESMLE​See Managed Learning Environment
NOYESNONational Center for Education Statistics​The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), located within the U.S. Department of Education and the Institute of Education Sciences, is the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education.
NOYESNONCES​See National Center for Education Statistics
NOYESNONCLBSee No Child Left Behind
NONOYESNEET​See Not in Education, Employment or Training
NOYESNONo Child Left Behind​Signed into law in 2002, No Child Left Behind sets performance guidelines for all schools and also stipulates what must be included in accountability reports to parents. It mandates annual student testing, includes guidelines for underperforming schools, and requires states to train all teachers and assistants to be "highly qualified".
NONOYESNot in Education, Employment or Training​The young people who are not in education, employment or training, (NEET), are amongst the most disaffected young people aged 16 to 18 years. Other vulnerable groups (including children in public care, teenage parents, young carers, young people with medical needs, and young offenders) have been shown to be over-represented within this NEET group.
YESYESYESOAuthOAuth is an open standard for authorization. OAuth provides client applications a 'secure delegated access' to server resources on behalf of a resource owner. It specifies a process for resource owners to authorize third-party access to their server resources without sharing their credentials. Designed specifically to work with Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), OAuth essentially allows access tokens to be issued to third-party clients by an authorization server, with the approval of the resource owner. The client then uses the access token to access the protected resources hosted by the resource server.
YESYESNOObjectSee Data Object, Entity Object, Report Object, Composite Object
YESYESYESObject Provider​An agent system that responds to requests for a given data object. There is only one designated provider (default responder) in a zone per object. Providers of an object must be able to supply all mandatory elements within that object.
SIF 3.x Equivalent:  Service Provider
YESYESYESObject ServiceSee Service: Object.​
YESYESYESObject Service Provider​An application providing access to Objects of a selected type in accordance with the Service Interface, and publishing related Events.  Ex:  The Student Object Service Provider.
YESYESYESOEM'd product​A piece of application software that is similar to another except for it branding and provider.  An option provided as part of the SIF Certification Program.
YESYESYESOpenIDAn authentication system.​
YESYESYESPDM​See Physical Data Model
YESYESYESPhysical Data Model(PDM) Specifies implementation details which may be features of a particular software application or version.
YESYESYESProblem Report​A question of clarification, intent or correctness of the specification(s), SIF Test Suites or SIF Certification system, which, if accepted by the A4L Community, will be resolved into an Interpretation, Test Suite Deficiency or Certification System Deficiency respectively.
YESYESYESProduct Standard​The document in which conformance requirements are specified for a particular type of product, and against which products or services may be certified in the SIF Certification Program. There will be one Product Standard for each type of product which is to be certified.
YESYESYESProfileA collection of requirements taken from the SIF Standard that enables interoperability across an agreed set of functionality between applications.
A profile sets the expectations for a given implementation.​
YESYESYESProvide​To be able to respond to requests for a given data object. There is only one designated provider (default responder) in a zone per object. Providers of an object must be able to supply all mandatory elements within that object.
YESYESYESPublish​To send event messages to the zone whenever an event occurs affecting a given data object.
YESYESYESPublisher​An agent that publishes data and/or event messages to the zone.
YESYESYESPull Mode​The mode in which an agent functions. An agent in Pull mode polls the ZIS to get any messages waiting for it. Pull mode agents always initiate contact with the ZIS.
YESYESYESPush Mode​The mode in which an agent functions. An agent in Push mode allows the ZIS to send messages to it in real time. Initiation of communication is bi-directional between the ZIS and the agent.
YESYESYESQuery​A structured request for information from a database, often issued by an agent, usually framed in SQL (Structured Query Language).
NONOYESRBC​See Regional Broadband Consortium
YESYESYESRe-Badged Product​A piece of application software that is similar to another except for it branding.
YESYESYESReference Test EnvironmentUsed in the SIF Certification Program.  ​The environment in which conformance was validated, which includes the identity of the version of the product or service that was tested and the release of the test suite used for conformance testing.
YESYESYESRefID​Reference ID that uniquely identifies each instance of an object. See also GUID.
NONOYESRegional Broadband Consortia​Regional Broadband Consortia (RBCs) are consortia of local authorities established to procure cost-effective broadband connectivity for schools in England. There are 10 RBCs covering 139 of the 150 local authorities.
YESYESYESReport Manifest​A report definition describing the data to be contained in a report.
YESYESYESReport Object​A Report object is a subclass of Composite objects, designed to represent point-in-time information and can contain summary information, cross tabulations, or information associated with a range of entities. This is the same kind of information as would be contained in a typical report. Report objects are read-only.
YESYESYESReporting: Horizontal​The transfer of data between multiple software applications within an organisation using a SIF Zone Integration Server (ZIS).
YESYESYESReporting: Vertical​Automated reporting using the special case of vertical interoperability identified in the SIF Specification.
YESYESYESRequest​A type of message containing a query for a specific data object.
YESYESYESResponse​A type of message containing data objects sent in reaction to a request message.
YESYESYESREST​An abbreviation for "Representational State Transfer", this technology consists of a series of design patterns for interoperability, layered over HTTP.  It forms the basis of the SIF 3.0 Infrastructure.
NOYESNORoster​A collection of people and roles around a specific event, in the education world usually a section of a course.
YESYESYESSandbox​A application designed to help a programmer understand and explore an API.
YESNONOSBPSee SIS Baseline Profile.​
YESNONOSBP Framework​A code framework built on the SIF Common Framework which iimpements or supports behaviours required by the SIS Baseline Profile. These include caching of dependent objects, and automated querying for their dependencies.
YESYESYESSchema​An XML Schema is a language for expressing structures and constraints for data objects and elements.
NONOYESSchool​An educational institution providing primary and secondary education, prior to tertiary education (college or university).
YESYESYESSCORM​Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) is a collection of standards and specifications for web-basede-learning. It defines communications between client side content and a host system called the run-time environment (commonly a function of alearning management system). SCORM also defines how content may be packaged into a transferableZIP file.
NOYESNOSEA​See State Education Agency
YESYESYESSelective Message Blocking(SMB) Allows an agent to tell the ZIS to suspend delivery of event messages until further notice.
YESYESYESService​A set of defined functionality encapsulated behind a standardized CRUD interface, which is implemented by a Service “Provider” for clients (the “Service Consumers”) to utilize.
Referenced in SIF 3.0 Base Architecture documentation.
YESYESYESService ConsumerA Service Consumer implementation makes requests of, and subscribes to and receives Events from, one or more Service Provider components.
Ex: A Teaching & Learning cloud application, supporting a course, requesting records of enrolled students.
YESYESYESService Interface​An interface supporting one or more of the standardized CRUD (Create, Query (READ), Update and Delete) data requests on objects of a specific type.  Ex: Student Data Object Service
YESYESYESService PathsThis is an alternative to Service Name, and where defined and available its use can greatly enhance the efficiency at which the Consumer obtains the desired result. The service path typically names a series of data objects that are joined according to a shared attribute, intermixed with the ID of a specific object that all subsequent objects named are to be related to. The last segment of the service path is typically a data object name, so that the Service Path counts as an Object Service Request with some built in object joins and conditions to constrain the result set.
For example, to obtain all the Sections in which Student 1234 is currently enrolled, the single Query Request URL to do that would contain the string: ../students/1234/sections
YESYESYESService ProviderA Service Provider implementation accepts, processes and responds to requests from Service Consumers for object type or function-specific services, and publishes related Events in accordance with the type of Service Provider Interface it is implementing.
YESYESYESService: Functional​A Functional Service encapsulates stateful process behavior as well as the data exchanged between applications implementing that process. It does this by supporting all four methods of a Data Object Service Provider interface but applies them to Jobs Phases rather than Data Objects.
When a Consumer issues a “create” Request to a Functional Service, it results in the creation of a new executing instance of the Service (a “Job”) rather than a new instance of a data object.
From a conceptual point of view, each Job instance contains a set of named “phases”, identical to every other Job created by that Function Service. These discrete phases define and encapsulate the sub actions, which need to be done, but they do not explicitly determine the ordering (since the phases defining a Function may be executed in different order, depending upon the implementation and the needs of the site where the Functional Service is deployed).

Once created, the Job instance can be queried to find out where in the process it is (what is happening, what is the current status of each completed phase), and the Job instance may issue Events.
YESYESYESService: ObjectWhile the SIF 3 infrastructure is independent of the Data Model defining the payloads it carries, all Service Providers must support the following general Object Service framework. An Object Service is the “authoritative source” for all data elements contained in all data objects of a specific type, and services some or all of the following requests:
> Query
> Create
> Update
> Delete
Depending upon the object type, the corresponding Data Object Service may:
> Publish an Event whenever an object is Created
> Publish an Event whenever an object is Deleted
> Publish an Event whenever certain (or any) elements in an Object are updated
> Restrict the range of possible Queries
Whenever an Object Service receives a request for an operation it does not support, it must return an error.
YESYESYESShibbolethAn authentication system.​
YESYESYESSIF 3 HubA place where SIF 3 Consumers can connect to in order to retrieve, and optionally alter, data for a school, district, state or even at a national level. Often, but not necessarily, a SIF 3 Hub is fronted with a SIF 3 Broker to abstract the potentially complex data provider set-up and to enable SIF 3 Events. The SIF 3 Hub allows for a centrally managed SIF Adapter configuration and access control.
YESYESYESSIF AdapterThere are two basic varieties of Adapter:
Service Consumer Adapter (or in simple cases, a straightforward RESTful Client)
Service Provider Adapter
Essentially each Service Consumer and Service Provider application may include one or many separate adapter component(s) to communicate with other applications. This communication may happen in a DIRECT or BROKERED architecture. For example, a SIF 3 Brokered Architecture may integrate a student information application, a learning management application, and a library automation application. An adapter component acts as a bridge between all these applications.
 Previously known as a 'SIF Agent' in all SIF Solutions prior to SIF 3.x.
YESYESYESSIF Agent​The liaison between an application and the ZIS. An agent is responsible for sending messages to and receiving messages from the ZIS. For incoming messages, an agent translates the XML message into the data recognized by its application, and applies any changes to the application’s data. An agent is also responsible for monitoring changes in the data associated with its application, assembling it into a SIF message, and submitting it to the ZIS.
YESYESYESSIF Certification Agreement​The agreement between the applicant and the Certification Authority, which contains the legal commitment by the applicant to the conditions of the SIF Certification Program.
YESYESYESSIF Certification AuthorityThe Certification Authority is the regulatory team who administer and ensure compliance of any product completing the SIF Certification Program.  ​The A4L Community is officially sanctioned as the Certification Authority.
YESYESNOSIF Certification Authority Help DeskA4L Staff member(s) tasked with responding to certification needs and opportunities.
YESYESYESSIF Certification logoThe A4L Community’s certification logo or other marks as designated from time to time by the Community, formerly the SIF Association.
YESYESYESSIF Certification Register​A web-based record of all SIF Certified products, which is maintained by the Certification Authority.
YESYESYESSIF Certified​A product which conforms to the SIF standard and has passed the SIF certification process.
More information on the SIF Certification Program can be found here:
YESYESYESSIF Certified product​A product or service that has successfully completed the certification process and for which the Solution Provider has been notified in writing by the Certification Authority that certification has been achieved for such product or service.
YESYESYESSIF compliantA product that claims to conform to the SIF standard. The product has not been tested and certified and cannot use the registered name “SIF” in their product functionality or promotion.
YESYESYESSIF ContextSee Context
YESYESYESSIF enabledWhen used during the SIF Certification Program, it describes a product that is not yet certified.
Please refer to the A4L Marketing Guidelines and Trademark Usage for further information.
YESYESYESSIF Implementation SpecificationA data standard that describes how education applications can share data.
YESYESYESSIF xPress​See xPress
YESYESYESSIF Zone Services​WSDL-defined service applications which will run over the extended SIF infrastructure.
YESYESYESSIF_Ack​The acknowledgement message used in every message exchange. The receiver of a message returns the Ack to let the sender know the message was received, or if there was an error.
YESNONOSIFCommon Framework​Australian framework built on Pearsons (now open sourced) ADK/Java which simplifies construction of the most common agents.
NOYESNOSIS​See Student Information System
YESNONOSIS Baseline Profile​(SBP) A profile, created by the SIF AU Community,  covering extended behaviours for the most common objects and transactions in the Australian context. The SBP Framework implements these behaviours.
YESYESYESSMB​See Selective Message Blocking
YESYESYESSolution Provider​A product vendor who is interested in, applying for certification in, or has certified a product in the SIF Certification Program. During the period in which a Solution Provider is going through the certification process to get a product certified, the Solution Provider is referred to as an applicant.
NOYESNOSp Ed / SPED​See Special Education
NOYESNOSpecial Education​Special instruction provided for students with educational or physical disabilities, tailored to each student's needs and learning style.
YESYESYESSpecification AuthorityThe A4L Community, which is responsible for developing, maintaining and interpreting the specification(s).
YESYESYESSQLStructured Query Language - see Query​.
NOYESNOState Education Agency​(SEA) The agency primarily responsible for the State supervision of public elementary and secondary schools.
NOYESNOStudent Information System​(SIS) Usually the primary student application in a zone.
YESYESYESSubscribe​To receive event messages (adds, changes, deletes) for a data object and its elements.
YESYESYESSubscriber​An agent that receives event messages (adds, changes, deletes) for a data object and its elements.
YESYESYESSynchronize​A process that agents perform that establishes a common GUID in a zone between applications for each person, school, or other entity. Agents typically synchronize with the SIS agent when they are first installed, and again at the beginning of each school year.
YESYESYESTest ResultA term used during the SIF Certification Program.  ​The test harness output and associated analysis report. The output is a log of network events, which is parsed to determine if the claimed SIF Object support is present and conformant, to the extent that can be determined by means of network observation, thereby producing a “pass” or “non-pass” result for each claim.
YESYESYESTest Suite​A test harness authorized by the A4L Community for use in testing within the SIF Certification Program. A test suite in this context is comprised of an interworking harness, network event logging, and associated analysis tools.  The full range of currently available SIF Test Suites can be found here:
YESYESYESTest Suite Deficiency​An agreed error in a test suite, which is causing it to produce an incorrect result code that impacts certification.
YESYESYESTest Suite Maintenance Authority​The organization(s) sanctioned by the A4L Community to maintain the test suites.
YESYESYESTrademark Licence Agreement​The agreement between the Solution Provider and the A4L Community, which contains the legal commitment by the Solution Provider to the conditions for use of the SIF Certification Logo.
YESYESYESTMLASee Trademark Licence Agreement
NONOYESUCISee Unique Candidate Identifier
NONOYESULN​See Unique Learner Number
YESYESYESUnbounded query​A query that returns all possible instances of the data set it addresses. Unbounded queries are often used in full synchs.
NONOYESUnique Candidate Identifier(UCI) ​​Each candidate sitting GCE A/AS, GCSE Modular and Key Skills examinations will be allocated a Unique Candidate Identifier (UCI) number, which will be used to identify individuals during their modular courses. The UCI is 13 characters long and usually consists of the centre number, a year reference number, the candidate number and an alphabetical check digit. The UCI enables the awarding bodies to match the current exam entries with previous entries in unitised qualifications.
NONOYESUnique Learner Number​A Unique Learner Number (ULN) is a 10-digit identifier, which is applied to the Learner Record of anyone over the age of 14 involved UK education or training.
Learners will retain the same number for accessing their Learner Record throughout their lives, whatever their level of learning and wherever they choose to participate.
Each ULN is issued and held by theLearner Registration Service (LRS). The LRS uses the number to index each learner’s identity details, education and training qualifications within theLearner Record.
YESYESYESVertical ReportingSee Reporting: Vertical.​
YESYESYESVertical reporting choreography​The specific steps followed by agents regarding the movement of data in a vertical implementation.
NONOYESVirtual Learning Environment​A virtual learning environment (VLE) is asoftware system designed to support teaching and learning in an educational setting, as distinct from a Managed Learning Environment (MLE) where the focus is on management. A VLE will normally work over the Internet and provide a collection of tools such as those for assessment (particularly of types that can be marked automatically, such as multiple choice), communication, uploading of content, return of students' work, peer assessment, administration of student groups, collecting and organizing student grades, questionnaires, tracking tools, etc. New features in these systems includewikis,blogs,RSS and3D virtual learning spaces.
While originally created for distance education, VLEs are now most often used to supplement traditional face to face classroom activities, commonly known as Blended Learning.
NONOYESVLE​See Virtual Learning Environment
NONOYESWBL​See Work Based Learning
YESYESYESWorkflowSee Service: Functional
NONOYESWork Based Learning​(WBL) Work Based Learning is the component of a learning programme that focuses on the application of theory in an authentic, work-based context. It addresses specific competences identified for the acquisition of a qualification, which relate to the development of skills that will make the learner employable and will assist in developing his/her personal skills.  Employer and professional bodies are involved in the assessment of experiential learning, together with academic staff.
NONOYESXCRI​See Exchange of course related information
YESYESYESXML​See Extensible Markup Language
YESYESYESxPressAn xPress solution is comprised of a contemporary implementation model as an Application Programming Interface (API); an underlying, market-driven use case; and the use of the SIF 3 Infrastructure Specification combined with a use-case centric Data Model designed for ease of use.
YESYESYESZIS​See Zone Integration Server
YESYESYESZone​A Zone is a collection of Application Services within the Consumer’s Environment, to correspond to discrete components within the owning educational organization (such as a school or district) or other conceptual groupings (ex: Special Ed students; Utility Services).
Each Service “instance” accessible within the Consumer’s Environment is scoped to a Zone, although a given Service Provider implementation may support the same Service Provider interface in several Zones.
YESYESYESZone Integration Server​Controls communication between agents. Its primary responsibility is to route messages from agent to agent, and to control which agents can request, provide, publish, and subscribe to which data objects. The ZIS is actually software, not hardware, and may or may not be installed on a dedicated server.
SIF 3.x Equivalent for a ZIS:  Broker / Middleware / Enterprise Service Bus