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‘New’ Unity Specification release supports implementation of CEDS and State Reporting

Washington, DC, 27 August, 2020 —The Access 4 Learning® (A4L) Community, previously the SIF®  Association, 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! 

“The original goal of the Community was to support school/district level data management issues and then streamline the mandated reporting of that source data.  While the SIF Specifications did serve as a major starting point for the CEDS initiative, this release streamlines the reporting end to end in North America.  Data now can move from local entities to state agencies and then to federal departments”,  states Larry Fruth II, PhD, CEO/Exec Director, A4L Community.  “While many providers and other standards initiatives underplay usage, the SIF Specifications are the most used K12 open standards in the marketplace, used in hundreds of school districts across all 50 states and in multiple countries!  Unity is the next step in supporting greater privacy and security controls including the work of the Student Data Privacy Consortium® (SDPC) and is designed to support API standardization.  The A4L Community is the only place where connecting and securing are done in the same place!”

To find out more about the ‘Unity’ Specification, please go to: https://www.A4L.org/page/Unity

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