These deliverables are part of the SIF Implementation Specification (US) 3.0 that now allows developers to create technical solutions based upon standardized Common Education Data Standards (CEDS) data payloads and transfer frameworks, or “wire”.
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) CEDS version 3.0 defines a Logical Data Model for the U.S. educational domain. CEDS is intended for adoption primarily by longitudinal data systems and encompasses a broad spectrum of educational data entities and the relationships but does not standardize how the various data sources transfer their data. A standard is needed to define a dynamic application-to-application data transfer that would be totally secure, robust, and fully incorporating CEDS data. The SIF Implementation Specification (US) 3.0 is this standard.
“The next step for the CEDS initiative is to help the field find different paths to implementation. We, at the National Center of Education Statistics (NCES), applaud SIF for their efforts in developing a solution that incorporates and allows the movement of all of the CEDS v.3 Logical Data Model”, states Dr. Jack Buckley NCES Commissioner.
The SIF Implementation Specification allows for the transfer of data securely, seamlessly and in real-time between applications, not only within an educational institution, but also vertically to regional/state agencies and even further to the federal level. The specification is an open standard, which allows end-users the freedom to choose ‘best of breed’ applications, with no vendor lock-ins and proprietary based APIs. Unlike other solutions, when you choose a SIF-enabled application you are taking the decision to future-proof your IT systems. SIF doesn’t just do point-to-point data transfer, with read and write-back capabilities it can also populate any/all SIF-enabled applications, saving you time and money.
Building on previous versions of SIF Implementation Specification, a major hallmark of the SIF 3.0 Specification development is the complete incorporation of the CEDS data model, extending from early childhood to workforce data, into the SIF physical data model. The mature SIF data model, larger due to it’s enabling of more localized data management needs (i.e. food service, transportation, human resources, etc.), is now a CEDS “plus” data set and is by far the largest openly developed global educational data model. The second development hallmark is the complete separation of the data model from the infrastructure, allowing for a “wire of choice” for users based on commonly used marketplace transfer methodologies. This includes both the REST and SOAP transports, which when harnessed to the new CEDS “plus” data model, creates the only secure “on the wire” data model blueprint for educational marketplace solutions.
Available today on the new SIF Association website are draft versions of the critical sections of the SIF Implementation Specification (US) 3.0 documents and tools including:
- Infrastructure Architecture - Defines the basic concepts and detailed service operation framework of the SIF 3.0 infrastructure;
- Infrastructure Services Defines the data structures, operations, and actions for the set of core services which together comprise the SIF 3.0 Environments Provider Interface;
- Updated FAQ draft Provides context for the SIF 3.0 release and what it means to the educational technology community;
- SIF REST “Sandbox” (SIF-RS) - a self-explanatory “hands on” way to construct a REST client that can quickly exchange data with a defined set of RESTful services in accordance with the requirements defined in the SIF 3.0 standard;
- Data Model Glossary - This document provides short definitions for important Terms and Concepts relating to the SIF 3.0 Data Model;
- XSD Files - This zip file contains the XSD files that define the SIF US 3.0 Data Model along with relationship diagrams.
“We are thrilled with the large community engagement and “volunteer heavy lifting” taken on by the end users and developers in the community to reach this benchmark development stage for the SIF 3.0 specification” states Larry Fruth II, Ph.D., SIF CEO/Executive Director. “This blueprint enables the construction of highly scalable real world educational solutions that can securely and robustly exchange data payloads whose formats conform to the CEDS v3.0 Logical Data Model”
Additional SIF 3.0 development components will be released in the coming months. This includes the finalization of the infrastructure and data model schemas including SOAP transport with REST bridging, a migration guide for current SIF-application users, a new Certification Program, Data Dictionary and Implementation Planning Guide. Purchasers can now ensure that their system providers will deliver truly interoperable CEDS-conformant applications by specifying they need to support the openly developed SIF 3.0 standard. Get involved in this “game changing” blueprint for secure data interoperability by demanding CEDS/SIF functionality from your data managers and providers.
A special “SIF Rest Sandbox” (SIF-RS) demo webinar is being held on Wednesday 10 April at 1pm EST / 10am PST US. Please join us for a demo of this great new tool for developers to ease SIF development see our website event page for further details.
About the SIF Association
The SIF Association (sifassociation.org) is a unique, non-profit collaboration composed of over 3,200 schools, districts, states, US and International Ministries of Education, software vendors and consultants who collectively define the rules and regulations for educational software data interoperability. The SIF Implementation Specification enables diverse applications to interact and share data efficiently, reliably, and securely regardless of the platform hosting those applications. The SIF Association has united these education technology end users and providers into a single community, resulting in an unprecedented effort to give teachers more time to do what they do best: teach.