Clarity has been provided to the United States educational technical standards marketplace via the Common Education Standards (CEDS) work being championed by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). This work, however, is at risk of being obscured by new players who are adding a variety of pieces from a set of entirely different ‘data solutions’ that simply do not adequately connect to the ones around which CEDS consensus has (at times painfully) finally been achieved.

In the past such players tended to be large marketplace vendors pushing back against community built open technical standards by inserting their own proprietary solutions to lock in customers. Today, due to the hard work done by CEDS and other technical standards communities, most educational vendors are on board with supporting standardized interfaces so as to provide product ‘plug and play’ capabilities to their customers.

The SIF Community has just released a white paper entitled ‘Ed Tech: Ensuring All the Pieces Still Fit Together – Metrics for “Either-Or” Data Propositions’. This paper highlights and compares some of the new organizations adding to confusion to the data solutions picture. These include small scoped services providers all the way to large foundations charting their own data solutions path. This draft provides specific information to allow decision makers and developers to navigate the numerous ‘either-or’ propositions currently in play. The use of openly developed technical standards is critical for the here and now but also for the future of effective educational data management and usage for all students and practitioners.

“The SIF leadership, led by LEA and SEAs across the country, have collectively redefined what SIF interoperability means to the Community”, states Larry L. Fruth II, Ph.D. SIF Executive Director and CEO. “Interoperability is the ability of making systems and organizations to work together considering the technical, social, political, and organizational factors that impact system-to-system performance – and this paper begins the focus on supporting organizations working together to navigate the data management landscape”.

Each of the outlined activities support one or more narrow solutions they believe teachers and students want, without taking into account the bigger picture of how the broader range of school, district and state data and resources are to be identified, managed, secured, transferred and used. It is a kind of “wouldn’t it be cool if we could just…” technology mantra that unfortunately tends to produce ambiguity in real-world developer and end user CEDS solution deployments. Ensuring all the pieces still fit together can be a critical resource in supporting your work.

Ed Tech: Ensuring All the Pieces Still Fit Together – Metrics for ‘Either-Or’ Data Propositions, can be found on the SIF website here:

About the SIF Association
The SIF Association is a unique, non-profit collaboration composed of over 3,200 schools, districts, local authorities, states, US and International Ministries of Education, software vendors and consultants who collectively define the rules and regulations for educational software data interoperability. The SIF Implementation Specification enables diverse applications to interact and share data efficiently, reliably, and securely regardless of the platform hosting those applications. The SIF Association 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

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