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Designing Architecture for School Interoperability

Designing Architecture for School Interoperability

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Published by Michael King
It is the intent of this paper to support school districts in designing and implementing Architecture For School Interoperability model entitled STAR a Student Tracking and Reporting system for their district. STAR is a comprehensive model designed to improve student learning through applied available technologies for data decision making based upon NCLB accountability standards. This paper recognizes five distinct tenets as key elements in Student Tracking and Reporting (STAR) design. These five tenets will provide information on how a individual district or state department of education can implement an infrastructure to monitor real-time assessment of the progress toward the improvement of student learning using horizontal articulation to manage and report to the local district State Department of Education by complying with SIF and Open-Standards’ web-based tools.
It is the intent of this paper to support school districts in designing and implementing Architecture For School Interoperability model entitled STAR a Student Tracking and Reporting system for their district. STAR is a comprehensive model designed to improve student learning through applied available technologies for data decision making based upon NCLB accountability standards. This paper recognizes five distinct tenets as key elements in Student Tracking and Reporting (STAR) design. These five tenets will provide information on how a individual district or state department of education can implement an infrastructure to monitor real-time assessment of the progress toward the improvement of student learning using horizontal articulation to manage and report to the local district State Department of Education by complying with SIF and Open-Standards’ web-based tools.

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Published by: Michael King on Feb 09, 2010
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07/19/2010

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Designing Architecture For School Interoperability
byMichael D. King
For more information on district level technology planning got to :"Tech"N"TuIt" 
Tech"N"Tuit provides a wide range of information on technology applications in the classroom to resources on open source software and web 2.0 literacy.
STAR (Student Tracking and Reporting)
It is the intent of this paper to support school districts in designing and implementing Architecture For School Interoperability model entitled STAR a Student Tracking and Reporting system for their district.STAR is a comprehensive model designed to improve student learning through applied availabletechnologies for data decision making based upon NCLB accountability standards. This paper recognizes five distinct tenets as key elements in Student Tracking and Reporting (STAR) design. These five tenetswill provide information on how a individual district or state department of education can implement aninfrastructure to monitor real-time assessment of the progress toward the improvement of student learning using horizontal articulation to manage and report to the local district State Department of Education by complying with SIF and Open-
Standards’ web
-based tools.
Meeting State and Federal Demands
As school data becomes pivotal to instructional decisions, storing and retrieving data becomes aprocesses of vital importance because data driven decision making is the way schools in the future willbe forced to provide evidence of effectiveness, not only academically but economically as well. SchoolDistricts across the nation are now faced more than ever with the task of investing in resources to buildand safeguard data repositories that will meet the overwhelming demands of the multiple measuresreal time reporting required by local, state and federal reporting.School districts across the Nation are currently faced with the challenge of improving classroominstruction, data retrieval, and accountability in an ever-changing society. There exists a need to createnewer, faster, and more unified software systems which will enable the school districts in every state toforward information on request/receive demand. In the near future, school districts across the state willbe responsible for gathering and sharing an array of reported data including formative academicassessments and end-of-instruction assessments; attendance and suspension rates; real-time studentreport cards to meet the needs of No Child Left Behind Act; and ACT/SAT college entrance examinationscores.Exploring information beyond the data achieved through the State Indicators or Criterion Reference Testresults, school districts must determine the best method to assess student progress and to planinstruction. To accomplish the growing demand on data retrieval, individual School Districts and StateBoards of Education will need to develop a seamless approach for gathering and implementingaccountability data which would ensure improvement of student learning and records sharing.
This article is under copyright protection and for any reprint of this article for commercial use you must get written permission by the author.Distribution for educational purpose has been granted as long as the authors name has been given credit for the works.
 
Zone Integration
The Schools Interoperability Framework (SIF) Specification is a "set of common definitions for school dataand a set of rules for how the data can be shared". Data is broken up into zones that are managed by acentral Zone Integration Server (ZIS).The ZIS then sends out and receives data from all of the different SIF-enabled applications Application AgentsSee Reference
 
 ).
Traditionally, the standalone softwareapplications being used by public schooldistricts have the limitation of data isolation;that is, it is difficult to access, share andintegrate a cumulative data reporting system.This often results in redundant data entry,meaning that data entry are not standardizedthrough multiple software applications whichinfluences data integrity, and inefficient orincomplete reporting. In many districtssoftware applications are purchased inseparate packages. The lunch servicedepartment may prefer one softwareapplication while , health services,transportation and student informationsystems are all under different companylabels and have their own special reports thatare not under one integration system, eachbeing backed up under their owndepartments server or hosted out through aweb based application.
Interoperability Framework
In such cases, all department information can appearin multiple places but may not be identical, forexample, or decision makers may be working withincomplete or inaccurate information entered bymultiple users. When multiple key entry platforms,end users, lack of central backup systems are aKatrina nightmare waiting to happen in multipledistrict across this nation as well as a technologycoordinators increase in technical support andproblems associated with maintaining numerousproprietary systems. To resolve these problems SIF(Schools Interoperability Framework) products beganto appear on the market as early as 1999. SIF wasinitiated to create "a blueprint for educationalsoftware interoperability and data access thatthreaded individual software applications through acentral server where seamless data could beconverged, stored, backed-up and used in real timereporting. In other words to seamlessly transfer data from multiple department silos of informationeach district will need to employ the installation of a Zone Integration Server (ZIS) architecture in orderto make multi-measure data useful in the facilitation of change.
This article is under copyright protection and for any reprint of this article for commercial use you must get written permission by the author.Distribution for educational purpose has been granted as long as the authors name has been given credit for the works.
 
 Through the development of ZIS architecture, school districts should be committed to a number of dataanalysis tools for tracking school improvement while allowing the flexibility of adding future applicationsto the data sharing zone. Such data analysis will include monitoring district constructed benchmarkassessments; measuring student performances through content analysis; tracking at-risk studentperformance; and providing real-time student assessment information to each Department of EducationZone Integrated Server (ZIS) through an Extensible Markup Language (XML), an industry Open-Standarddata format which allows state and federal agencies the readability of pertinent student-trackinginformation. The Open-Standard data format provided through an SIF framework will enable eachdistrict across the state to share data that moves among other software applications to support'horizontal interoperability. This data sharing will allow administrators and teachers to streamline datamanagement and create a true information management system. The newly designed system willintegrate disparate data repositories through a platform-independent, vendor-neutral communicationsarchitecture based on open-standard rule.
No Child Left Behind and Data Accountability
The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2002 is breaking new ground by requiring the collection of datathat describes school effectiveness through measurements of student progress and staff effectiveness.This Act outlines four basic education reform principles: stronger accountability for results, increasedflexibility and local control, expanded options for parents, and an emphasis on teaching methods thathave been proven to work. The data points necessary to make these determinations come from acrossthe pre-school through twelfth grade enterprise including student enrollment by socio-economic status,student performance on standardized tests disaggregated by race and ethnicity, class schedules, andstaff qualifications and teaching assignments.In many school systems across the Nation, most of this data is maintained in a variety of unconnectedsoftware applications. The required data import/export task is time-consuming and costly. Theseapplications are often purchased by different departments within a school or district, resulting in data
‘silos’ that mirror the school and district
organizational structure. The impact of NCLB is that schools,districts, and states must draw their data out of these disparate applications in order to respond to the
new requirements imposed by NCLB's ‘horizontal questions’ which cut across the software
andorganizational silos.Nationwide individual state departments of education need to recognize advancements in real-timetechnology that can provide local districts the opportunity through ZIS architecture to systematicallyaccount for individual and group academic and performance skills. It is the intent of this paper todemonstrate within this application a model for accomplishing the accountability questions derivedfrom the National requirements the importance of building a National Student Tracking and ReportingSystem entitled "S.T.A.R."
This article is under copyright protection and for any reprint of this article for commercial use you must get written permission by the author.Distribution for educational purpose has been granted as long as the authors name has been given credit for the works.

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