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End Users & Decision Makers
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"We don't build widgets, we build learners"

Education is the ultimate community endeavor.  It combines parents, administrators, practitioners, researchers, policy-makers, product providers, and the learners themselves - all playing various critical roles.  We believe it needs community support to ensure success.  The A4L Community has united education technology end users and providers in an unprecedented effort to give teachers more time to do what they do best: teach.
Why 'Open' Standardized Data Exchanges?

"One offs" and "flavor of the day" cannot continue to be the normal operational pattern in education.  Think about if we let each homebuilder put in their own flavor of electrical wiring and outlets in each house they build.  That does not work in home building and it does not work in education!  What is needed is a set of agreed upon "rules of the road" for what products have to at least reach to allow for the leveraging of critical education resources.  SIF stands for the Systems Interoperability Framework (or Schools Interoperability Framework in North America).  The openly and collaboratively built SIF Implementation Specifications enable diverse applications to interact and share learning information efficiently, reliably, and securely regardless of the platform hosting those application.  It is not a product.

For the vendor, the SIF standard facilitates seamless information sharing and reporting between conformant educational applications without incurring expensive customer-specific development costs.  For the end user, the application conformity it provides, allows educational establishments to purchase and deploy best-of-breed solutions simply, securely, in a scalable manner, all in a standardized way.

Make sure you ask your software application providers if they develop to 'open standards' so that they can interoperate with other applications, thereby 'future-proofing' your investments.  Check out our sample RFP Language and other useful documentation...


The A4L Community advocates and promotes the SIF Specification which is:


Enable two applications to securely share educational data in minutes, reducing data entry time for school, district and government staff.  Find Out More…


Ensure acess to critical learning data is restricted solely to applications authorized by the local 'data steward', whether hosted locally or in the cloud.  Find Out More…


From the simplest of data exchange needs to an enterprise solution… why not ‘future-proof’ your IT investment for learners long-term gain?  Find Out More…



Open standards should be just that – open and transparent – not a proprietary solution developed by an individual organization.  Find Out More…




What are other end users saying about SIF?

  “SIF should not be viewed purely as a technical solution. Successful data integration is now business-critical in Warwickshire and is becoming more so on a daily basis. We would not be able to offer the services that we do to our schools or the local authority without our SIF infrastructure being in place.”   “Interoperability standards enable our schools to capitalize on existing software investments while improving data quality and redirecting scarce resources toward instruction."  

 John Parmiter
Service Manager - ICT Development
Warwickshire County Council, UK


 Bethann Canada
Director - Information Management
Virginia Department of Education, USA



Why Choose SIF? >>
Implementation Readiness & Planning >>
Understanding the SIF Specification >>


For additional help and information, why not consider joining the A4L Community?

As a member you can access additional support from our Staff and Community members, gain full access to the Community Site and get involved in specific areas of interest to you, get discounted registration at our events, and help to define the SIF Specification to meet YOUR needs!

Join the A4L Community        Contact Us

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

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

  • Phone: +1.202.621.0547