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A Formula for Data Exchange

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The Schools Interoperability Framework is a system that makes it possible for school-related software applications to share data easily over a network even if they are from different software vendors.

  • To implement the SIF, school users must have software complying with one of the two current SIF specifications, versions 1.1 and 1.5. Also required is a "zone integration server," software that directs the exchange of data securely between applications.
  • Software can be certified as SIF-compliant in student and school information; transportation and geographic data; library automation, human resources, and financial systems; food-services programs; and data warehouses and reporting systems.
  • A majority of software companies in the school market participate in the Schools Interoperability Framework Association, which controls the specifications, though only a minority of those companies have SIF- compliant applications.
  • Education groups participating in the SIF include the Council of Chief State School Officers, the National Association of State Boards of Education, the State Education Technology Directors Association, the International Society for Technology in Education, and the U.S. Department of Education, as well as several states and school districts.
  • In 2003, Oklahoma adopted a law requiring that school districts adopt SIF version 1.5 by the 2005-06 school year for any student-information system and any instructional-management system that they use.

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