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Some in the educational marketplace attempt to dismiss SIF utilization to promote their own work. To address this misinformation, the A4L Community developed and disseminated a brief usage survey, and the impact numbers depict the continued usage and growth of the SIF Specifications. This quick presentation shows some of the survey results.
Helping to bring hundreds of SIF 2 applications, supporting millions of students, a clear first step towards migrating an application from SIF 2 to SIF 3.
Are you looking to…
Deliver an effective digital learning ecosystem, providing choice and innovation? Provide evidence that leads to success by drawing from authoritative source data? Guarantee privacy and trust?
… then Unity is for you and your organization!
The release of the Unity Specification provides EDFacts and xPress Roster mappings to address school needs and build towards allowing states and vendors to implement the US Department of Education’s Common Education Data Standards (CEDS).
For over twelve years the A4L Community has developed the SIF Specification in parallel with the Common Education Data Standard (CEDS). Close alignment between these two data standards has always been a natural result. Today the A4L Community announces an even closer alignment with real-world impact for state agencies.
Some in the educational marketplace attempt to dismiss SIF utilization to promote their own work.
To address this misinformation, the A4L Community developed and disseminated a brief
usage survey. Even with a short timeframe (2 weeks) the impact numbers depict the continued usage and growth of the SIF Specifications. The Survey results indicate:
> SIF-Enabled applications are in place and operating in every US state
> There are at least 12 statewide implementations utilizing SIF interoperability representing over 11 million students in 4,100 school districts with 810,000 teachers
> Non-statewide implementations utilizing SIF interoperability represents over 2.5 million students in 1,000 school districts
> The majority of applications utilizing SIF Specifications are using it for horizontal interoperability with more than one “connection” to another application
xPress is a new line of open, standard APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) built on the SIF 3 infrastructure, which provides schools and developers with a way to exchange data simply and securely among modern apps, whether they are hosted locally, in the cloud or on mobile devices.
Recent updates to the SIF Specification have changed the landscape for automated grade passback from instructional tools such as learning management systems to gradebooks and student information systems. The SIF Data Model Specification (North America) 4.3 – also known as Unity – enhances SIF’s ability to share assignment level score data and standardizes the delivery of competencies, including objectives-based performance data. Similarly, the SIF Infrastructure Specification (global) 3.5 enables fully asynchronous operation as well as adding the ability to notify an LMS when a score or competency has actually been recorded in the gradebook database.
Secure, Rapid, High Volume Data Integration with the SIF Infrastructure Specification
The demand for data in education continues to skyrocket (Data Quality Campaign, 2022). In the real-world, however, constantly churning, time sensitive, high volume record sharing has historically been the Achilles’ heel of PK12 data integration efforts. When schools start to capture real time attendance events, the extra volume degrades and often completely overwhelms systems that rely on quick and timely data updates. Because of the extra load, updates to students and staff information could get lost in a sea of attendance events causing them to have to wait hours in line for processing.
Over the last decade, awareness and concerns over student data privacy issues gained attention across the United States. With 2020 came a newly heightened awareness of privacy, as nearly all students were thrown into online learning, and families had greater visibility to the technology tools their children were using. At the same time, the need for more robust interoperability has spiked as more and more technology tools are needed to provide online, hybrid, and in-person education. In Massachusetts, a partnership between the Executive Office of Education (EOE), the Student Data Privacy Consortium (SDPC), Cambridge Public Schools (CPS), and Cedar Labs was formed to address these twin needs.
Succeeding the highly successful The Wave project, the Oklahoma Department of Education (OSDE) is adding another application to their integrated SIF infrastructure. For years, Oklahoma increased interoperability by using an open standard framework (SIF Specification) for data exchange. In fact, OSDE has been collecting data in REAL TIME for over 10 years using the SIF specification and an extensive toolset from Computer Power Solutions of Illinois (CPSI).
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way that we educate kids by shifting their majority ‘brick and mortar’ setting to an online delivery model. This shift has put huge new demands on school personnel, parents, technology providers and the learners themselves. Even before the outbreak, schools have been challenged managing hundreds of software applications in their ‘bricks and mortar’ digital ecosystem.
The Access 4 Learning (A4L) Community’s SIF 3 Infrastructure is the latest release of an open standard infrastructure, bringing SIF into the modern era by leveraging a REST1 based approach to data exchange. The key contribution the SIF 3.x Infrastructure Specification defines, coordinates and standardizes the ways in which multiple RESTful clients can access a RESTful educational service securely, robustly, and in real time.
The Challenge: Vendors, Local Education Agencies (LEAs) and State Education Agencies (SEAs) have invested a significant amount of resources over the last decade+ on building and administering open standards-based data sharing ecosystems powered by SIF2. By and large, these hard-fought initiatives have met with good success, and continue to serve their original purpose to this day. Increasingly, however, application developers are demanding an integration toolset that better aligns with modern industry best practices.
The Challenge: In education, the “roster” is a fundamental building block of instruction, assessment, and administration. Conceptually, a roster specifies the teacher (or teachers) and the list of students in a program, class or section of an organization, enabling teachers to manage and teach students as members of a group. For example, granting privileges based on a roster would allow a learning management system to automatically connect teachers to students, and allow teachers to provide seamless access to course materials and assessments.