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Introducing Unity... the best of the best from 20yrs marketplace interoperability

Wednesday, May 22, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Penny Murray
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Washington, DC, 22 May, 2019 ---The Access 4 Learning (A4L) Community, previously the SIF Association, is proud to create a new “buzz” – the best of the best from 20 years of the most widely used interoperability specifications to address school needs and builds towards allowing states and vendors to implement the US Department of Education’s Common Education Data Standards (CEDS).  The new Specification – code named “Unity” – was built by our volunteer members developed using open, non-proprietary and transparent processes linked to a quality control Certification Program. It contains the most comprehensive K12 data model and modern, internationally used transport technologies to securely move the data to provide it to the right person at the right time in the right way under local data privacy control.

A highlight of the new global infrastructure is the ability to carry the most recent work of the Student Data Privacy Consortium’s (SDPC) and their ‘Global Education Privacy Standard’ or GEPS.  GEPS allows for the communication of privacy requirements including contract clauses, privacy obligations and security benchmarks over the wire in a format easily ingested by marketplace providers allowing   products to get in the hands of users in a rapid, safe, and secure manner.  The new ‘Unity’ infrastructure has increased performance and security on the wire, ease of usage, and scales for the widest educational focused interoperability by any technical standard - with or without the need for middleware!   “What Unity gives me as a school student data steward is what it can do compared to other educational specification; the ability to link interoperability with privacy controls for greater data control” affirms Steve Smith, CIO, Cambridge Public Schools. 

“Many marketplace providers and other standards groups have attempted to underplay usage of the SIF Specifications in the educational space.  A recent survey of just 7 K12 software integrators proves they are far and away the most used set of blueprints – in all 50 states and multiple countries!  Unity is the next step supporting greater privacy and security controls including the work of the Student Data Privacy Consortium (SDPC) and is designed to support API standardization” states Larry Fruth II, PhD, CEO/Exec Director, A4L Community.  “The Community is also developing ‘use case’ blueprints based on ‘solutions development’ that will include other technical standards so vendors can expect that the data exchange standard they build today will be used tomorrow.”

To find out more about the ‘Unity’ Specification, please go to:          

To see the Usage Survey information, please go to:



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About the Access 4 Learning Community

There is no other global community made up of educational marketplace product and service providers and the customers they serve, collaborating daily to address real word learning information and resource issues.  The Access 4 Learning (A4L) Community, previously the SIF Association, is a unique, non-profit collaboration composed of schools, districts, local authorities, states, US and International Ministries of Education, software vendors and consultants who collectively address all aspects of learning information management and access to support learning.  The A4L Community is “Powered by SIF” Specifications as its major technical tool to allow for this management and access simply, securely and in a scalable, standard way regardless of the platform hosting those applications. The Access 4 Learning Community has united these education technology end users and providers in an unprecedented effort to give teachers more time to do what they do best: teach. For further information, visit


About the Student Data Privacy Consortium

The Student Data Privacy Consortium (SDPC) is designed to address the day-to-day, real-world multi-faceted issues that schools, states, territories and vendors face when protecting learner information. SDPC’s vision is to develop common activities, artifacts, templates, tools and effective practices that can be leveraged through a unique collaborative of end users and marketplace providers working together.  For further information, visit


  • SIF Association (dba Access 4 Learning (A4L) Community)

  • PO Box 1024, New Albany, Ohio 43054-1024

  • Phone: +1.202.621.0547