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Introducing Unity...

The Access 4 Learning® (A4L) Community, is proud to announce the latest release  of the ‘new’ Unity Specification which provides EDFacts and xPress Roster mappings to address school needs and build towards allowing states and vendors to implement the US Department of Education’s Common Education Data Standards (CEDS). 

The Community’s new focus on “connecting and securing effective learning ecosystems” begins with this release and will continue as we ensure interoperability is aligned with privacy effective practices to best support end users and marketplace providers in their distinct data stewardship roles. The Unity Specification was built by our volunteer members developed using open, non-proprietary and transparent processes.  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.  The ‘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! 

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Unity Specification           SIF Infrastructure Specification 3.3           Getting Started with Unity






Built on SIF 2.x Specification

  • Enables leveraging of existing: 
    • 20-year Knowledgebase
    • Software in Use - Investments
  • Robust 
    • Global Development and “Lessons Learned”
    • Covering 17 Data Domains
    • Released August 17, 2020
    • Membership Driven Long Term Path for Specifications

SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION: Unity Adoption Guidebook is designed to help from concept to integration plan, API design all the way to development.  The SIF Data Model: Comparison spread sheet has been developed to help you quickly identify differences in Specification releases.




CEDS Supported

  • Builds upon the ongoing Community directive to be “CEDS Aligned”
  • 2833 Unity fields currently mapped to CEDS
  • Recently:
    • 96 EDFacts Elements Added
    • xPress Roster CEDS Mapping updated

SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION: EDFacts Mapping document available to align your SLDS to federal reporting requirements & improve business processes within the marketplace.




xPress Roster

  • Modular API Design
  • Most robust rostering standard in marketplace
  • 45+ vendors utilizing it now
  • Compliments (and works well with) the Unity Data Model… you can start with xPress Roster and scale up!

SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION: xPress Roster Mapping document helps map across various rostering standards, and across different objects within a SIF Specification.




Individual Education Plans (IEPs)

  • First (and only) standardized API for IEPs
  • Two extensively detailed objects
  1. Ready for ‘in District’ use and
  2. Student Transfers
    • Superset of state IEP plans
    • Parental permissions are ubiquitous
    • Measurable objectives account for wide variation
    • Standards references can be included
    • Personal goals and understandings are included
    • Placement, least restrictive environment, amendments, etc.




Global SIF Infrastructure

  • Build on REST
  • Scales easily
  • Java & .NET frameworks available
  • JSON conversion
  • Designed for the cloud
  • Performance is ‘real’ (ask MA!)
  • SIF integrators ready today with products and services to help

SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION: Unity Adoption Guidebook is designed to help from concept to integration plan, API design all the way to development.  




Privacy Support

  • Automate Contract Clause Expectations Exchange and Vendor Verification
    •  The “POD” (Privacy Obligation Document)
    • Enabled in global SIF Infrastructure
  • Built in privacy support, based on GDPR and Student Data Privacy Consortium (SDPC) needs

TO FIND OUT MORE INFORMATION: Visit the Student Data Privacy Consortium (SDPC) website




API Documentation

… coming soon!

  • Reduce development time
    • follows industry standard API best practices
    • increases accessibility to all developers
    • combines Data Model & Infrastructure to allow developers to build solutions based on one resource.





  • Working towards updating the CEDS Integrated Data Store (IDS) Connector for Unity and EDFacts Reporting
  • The Connector will be using A4L’s RESTful infrastructure to generate APIs
  • This project is a unique opportunity to leverage the open-source movement, public-private partnerships, and  federal-state partnership.

TO FIND OUT MORE INFORMATION: Visit the Generate website.



Unity Specification           SIF Infrastructure Specification 3.3           Getting Started with Unity


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

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

  • Phone: +1.202.621.0547