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Just The Facts: ‘On The Ground’ SIF Utilization

Posted By Penny Murray, Friday, August 25, 2017
Updated: Friday, August 25, 2017

Just The Facts: 'On the ground' SIF Utilization

The Access 4 Learning Community (A4L), previously the SIF Association, has changed its brand name due to the fact that the majority of its 3,000 members represent schools, regional agencies, and government entities now wear more than just “data manager” job titles.  These practitioners are being asked to oversee, IT, data access, policy development like privacy, educational technology, and even additional operational roles including communications.  These members drove the change in brand to indicate the Community’s broadening mission – Access 4 Learning.

Even with this name change, the A4L Community continues to mature the SIF Specification and Certification Program.   The SIF blueprints continue to contain:

  • The most comprehensive educational data model anywhere
  • A supporting infrastructure differing itself from other standards who do not provide “on the wire support”
  • A mature, 15 year established on the wire testing Certification Program

The evolution of SIF Specification 3.x has ushered in new features and functionalities including:

  • A separation of data model and infrastructure
  • Updated REST-based infrastructure without the required middleware
  • Targeted “bite size” functionality via the xPress API line
  • Additional security controls allowing for increased data privacy control

Even with these facts, some in the educational marketplace attempt to dismiss SIF utilization in the attempts to promote their own work.  To address this misinformation, the A4L Community recently developed and disseminated a brief usage survey which was sent to marketplace providers and LEA/SEA data leaders.  Questions included:

  • Organization / Product(s) Name
  • Which States SIF Enabled Applications/Support are Being Used
  • School Districts, Student and Teacher numbers in Identified States
  • Primary SIF-Enabling Function of Applications/Support
  • Primary Data Function SIF-Enable Application is Being Used in Each State  
  • Is the Application a Provider of Data, Consumer, or Both?

Even with a short timeframe (2 weeks) and low response rate (16 survey responses representing 23 large marketplace products) the impact numbers depict the continued usage and growth of SIF Specification usage.  Without specific school district identification, care was taken to not “double count” applications in use in districts.  This means that confirmed numbers are substantiated and expected to be well under actual values.

 

Survey Summary results:

  • SIF-Enabled applications are in place and operating in every US state:  This represents over 55 million students/3.9 million teachers
  •  There are at least 12 statewide implementations utilizing SIF interoperability: This represents over 11 million students in 4,100 school districts with 810,000 teachers
  •  Non-statewide implementations utilizing SIF interoperability: This represents over 2.5 million students in 1,000 school districts.

STATE

AL

AK

AZ

AR

CA

CO

CT

DE

DC

FL

GA

HI

ID

IL

IN

IA

KS

#DISTRICTS

15

55

20

15

40

25

190

20

1

25

25

1

12

45

35

369

20

#STUDENTS

50k

132k

50k

50k

200k

50k

525k

20k

50k

50k

225k

9k

50k

50k

70k

509k

50k

STATE

KY

LA

ME

MD

MA

MI

MN

MS

MO

MT

NE

NV

NH

NJ

NM

NY

NC

#DISTRICTS

21

25

65

15

404

25

50

25

21

25

25

15

27

15

25

81

25

#STUDENTS

50k

50k

60k

10k

950k

50k

200k

50k

15k

50k

50k

50k

50k

40k

60k

2.7m

65k

STATE

ND

OH

OK

OR

PA

RI

SC

SD

TN

TX

UT

VT

VA

WA

WV

WI

WY

#DISTRICTS

15

778

544

25

25

25

89

15

19

25

60

25

135

301

25

25

59

#STUDENTS

45k

1.7m

700k

50k

150k

50k

770k

45k

70k

150k

655k

17k

1.3m

1.1m

65k

50k

94k

 * Yellow indicates statewide implementations
 * Numbers represent “minimal” values without overlapping implementations

 

Applications in Use

The survey responses indicate that the primary SIF functionality in use in these applications is enabling horizontal data interoperability between applications (83%).  Not surprisingly, a large majority (90%) of SIF implementations utilize the technical blueprints to support more than one data function.

 

 

 

Interoperating Applications

The types of application interoperating via the SIF Specifications vary by locale.  As expected, the student information system (SIS) leads the way as a major application using SIF interoperability (76%).  The survey indicates that the majority of implementations (96%) utilize more than one type of application for data management and movement.

 

 

 

Utilization by State and Functionality

The survey responses depict SIF Specification usage by functionality in states.  These may be statewide (indicated earlier) or in districts.

State Usage

 

Data Role

The goal of interoperability and the Community’s focus on “enter once and use many times” is highlighted in the data role the applications plays that utilize the SIF Specifications. 

Survey responses indicate that the majority of applications both provide and consume data (68%) between other applications using SIF.  Survey results indicate those administrative oriented applications using SIF Specifications to provide data to other applications (30%) outpaced those applications identified as data consumers (2%).

 

 

 

Summary

Even with the low response rate from marketplace providers for this survey, it clearly points out in real and verifiable numbers that the SIF Specification continues to be the most comprehensive and widely utilized technical blueprint for the educational marketplace.  Ideally additional providers will provide their information in subsequent surveys to give even a more accurate depiction of SIF Specification, including the game-changing 3.x Specification, in the marketplace.

 

Download the white paper: Just The Facts: 'On the Ground' SIF Utilization

 


Tags:  2016  Just The Facts  Usage Survey  white paper 

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