Wyoming builds statewide education data system

In what is being touted as the first statewide use of the Schools Interoperability Framework (SIF) specifications, Wyoming is building a system that will allow easy transfer of information about K-12 students and their academic performance between school districts and state education agencies.

The Wyoming Integrated Statewide Education Data Systems (WISE), which is expected to be completed by July 2010, will allow the information about students to follow them from district to district without the rekeying and reformatting of data that introduces so many errors now, said Mark Johnson, chief operating officer of ESP Solutions Group, an integrator working on the project.

It will also enable the transfer of better quality data between districts and state agencies, he said, which will result in more timely and accurate reports to federal authorities that are needed for such things as No Child Left Behind evaluations.

WISE should significantly reduce the burden that the Wyoming education system now bears in compiling, processing and validating this data, Johnson said.

SIF is a Washington, D.C., based organization made up of software vendors, school districts, state departments of education and other bodies involved in K-12 education.

Products that comply with the SIF Implementation Specification -­ a set of platform independent and vendor neutral rules and definitions ­- can share data with each other without any additional programming or manipulation.

The goal is to make it possible for school administrators, teachers and others to have constant, secure access to the most current data available.

The SIF specification is used by more than 40 states, encompassing more than 600 school districts and about 4 million students.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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