SIIA Releases Primer on K-20 Education Interoperability Standards

Advocates adoption and continued development of technical standards to enhance the innovation and impact of educational technologies

Washington, D.C. (April 19, 2012) – The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), the principal trade association for the software and digital content industries, today released a “Primer on K-20 Education Interoperability Standards.” This Primer provides a framework for understanding interoperability standards that facilitate the exchange of information among educational systems, and support the integration of content, data, and components from different technology applications.

The Primer will enable developers of educational applications and digital content to further understand how adoption of interoperability standards can advance both education goals as well as their own business needs. The Primer also provides education leaders with the information needed to embrace interoperability and encourage further standards development. Appendices describe organizations and initiatives that create and promote standards, and define relevant concepts and terms.

“Interoperability enables innovation and improves products and services for consumers and vendors alike,” stated the Co-Chairs of the SIIA Education Division’s Technical & Development Committee, Steve Nordmark (Chief Academic Officer, Knovation), Michael Jay (President, Educational Systemics) and Robert Iskander (Founder, Chairman & CEO, EduTone Corporation). They added: “We call on both technology developers and education leaders to move forward now to implement interoperability standards to ensure technology use continues to mature, grow, and better serve the needs of educators, students, and the public at large.”

The importance of interoperability is highlighted in the pending initiative to develop online assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards, funded with federal Race to the Top grants to the SBAC and PARCC state consortia. SIIA and others have argued for a flexible, modular assessment technology architecture to meet evolving and unique state and local requirements. Such a design requires interoperability standards to enable the seamless migration of test items and student data across applications, as well as the integration of various component technologies.

“SIIA is a strong advocate for interoperability standards,” stated Mark Schneiderman, SIIA’s senior director of education policy. “This Primer is intended to support those making high-level decisions about when to implement, or require compliance with, interoperability standards by providing education and technology leaders with a broad understanding of the relative maturity of standards, the trade-offs involved with using them, and their short-term and long-term impact.”

The Primer was developed under the direction of the SIIA Education Division’s Technical & Development Committee. It was authored by Edward Walker, Executive Vice President, Consulting Services for Education, Inc. The Primer was released to SIIA members in February 2012 and is now publicly available for free at SIIA grants all parties permission to reproduce and distribute the Primer in print or digital format for non-commercial purposes provided the copyright is attributed to SIIA.

About SIIA
The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) is the principal trade association for the software and digital content industry. SIIA provides global services in government relations, business development, corporate education, and intellectual property protection to more than 500 leading software and information companies. The SIIA Education Division serves and represents more than 180 member companies that provide software, digital content and other technologies that address educational needs. The Division shapes and supports the industry by providing leadership, advocacy, business development opportunities and critical market information. For more information, visit

Media Contacts

• Laura Greenback, SIIA Communications, 410-533-1943,

• Charlene Blohm, C. Blohm & Associates, 608-216-7300 x17,

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