SIF - Summary
|The SIF Implementation Specification defines the software implementation guidelines for SIF; it does not make any assumption of what hardware and software products need to be used to develop SIF-compliant applications. Instead, it defines the requirements of architecture, communication, software components, and interfaces between them.
The implementation specification defines software implementation guidelines that will directly impact infrastructure, student information services, data analysis and reporting, exceptionalities, food services, grade book, human resources, financial management, instructional management, library automation, and transportation.
The SIF specification is based on the W3C endorsed standard Extensible Markup Language (XML). It defines common data formats and high-level rules of interaction and architecture, and is not linked to a particular operating system or platform.
The key elements of SIF include:
- XML to define the common data formats, high-level rules, and mechanisms that enable applications to interact independently of the underlying software platform
- Implementation guide to explain how to deploy SIF using software architecture based on Windows NT and related technologies. Because SIF is an open process, implementation guides based on multiple platforms are possible
- HTTP and TCP/IP to enable communications between software platforms
- Compliance criteria and tests to ensure full applications interoperability
SIF has several working groups, each of them with its own responsibilities and mission. Next are enumerated these working groups.
- Data Warehouse Working Group:The mission of the Data Warehouse Working Group is to lead the definition of the detailed data that schools and parents need to improve student achievement and organizational effectiveness. It will represent to the other SIF working groups the interests of the school administrators, guidance counselors, teachers, parents and students who can benefit from the analysis of integrated SIF K-12 data.
- Food Services Working Group:Food Services specifies, implements, and promotes a standard set of messages and automated communication mechanisms that allow computer applications for the food service sector of the education industry to effectively exchange information with all SIF-compliant applications.
- Grade Book Working Group:The goal of the Grade Book Working Group is an efficient, functional standard that supports the entire SIF structure,allowing for easy, bi-directional transfer of data integral to grading.All Grade Book objects are currently in draft status.
- Human Resources & Financials Working GroupHR & Financials defines the SIF specifications for human resources and financial application software, focusing solely on defining specifications for the information required by the other SIF application groups from the human resource and financial applications in order to prevent duplicate input of the same data, or to keep applications in sync with data that is primarily maintained in human resource and financial applications.
- Infrastructure Working Group:Infrastructure develops and specifies a standard framework of messages and communication mechanisms that allowdiverse applications for the education industry to effectively, reliably, and securely exchange information over open networks in a platform-neutral manner. The Infrastructure Working Group's goals include facilitating and fostering a continuing dialog with other industrial standard organizations to evangelize and promote the framework in order to achieve software interoperability between schools and other organizations.
- Instructional Services Working Group:The goal of Instructional Services is to create, design and advocate a set of specifications that feature data objects which will advance interoperability standards of information needed in instruction and educational service delivery min the classroom and instructional settings.
The structure of the Instructional Services Working Group consists of three sub-working groups: Instructional Management, Exceptionality Programs, and Instructional Resources Management.
- Library Automation Working Group:This Working Group provides the library automation centric entities necessary to effectively exchange relevant data via the framework.
- Student Information Systems Working Group:Student Information Systems provides maximum interoperability between K-12 applications that need to exchange SIS information such as student, teacher, school, and enrollment using the Schools Interoperability Framework (SIF) specification by facilitating the data exchange by designing SIF data objects that are easy to understand, implement, and extend and by making the communication between applications as efficient as possible by ensuring that only the minimum required amount of data is exchanged in each transaction.
- Transportation and Geographic Information Working Group:The goal of Transportation and Geographic Information is to provide the wealth of information currently locked in the transportation department to the rest of the school community, including transportation as well as geographic information for students.