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When I was a tech blogger for ReadWriteWeb and API-related news broke, we writers would often shudder. “Well, you can't use API in the headline,” the argument in the newsroom went. It's the pa...
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Every API needs a format in which it sends and receives data. Moodle supports GIFT ( which would be a great standard if someone else supported it. SCORM is a completely unworkable non-format, which is what its proprietary designers intended. I know because I served on IEEE P1484 (LTSC) in the late 1990s.
This has more to do with business models than it does the fact that most core education software is old. The truth is most education software companies want you to buy your SIS, LMS, IEP case management, etc all from one shop. Easy interoperability means easy stitching together another vendor's product and easier migration down the road.

It's also been an area of past failure. SIF was supposed to make systems talk well to one another but it never reached its potential. Part of that was that SIF "compliance" meant vastly different things to different people. Part of that was SIF simply not covering all that is needed. Ed-Fi is Susan and Michael Dell's attempt at standardizing both the logical structure of education data and the connectors.

Rhode Island went with CEDS/State Core Model now being run by NCES. At the state level, we operate our own package called the ADT (automated data transfer agent) that works with multiple SIS across many collections (not currently real time but could receive push data with virtually any frequency). This allows the state to act as a major systems integrator so we can operate a state wide IMS without having a single SIS. Because our collections pull from more than just a traditional core SIS, the CEDS relational data store allows the state to enforce substantial referential integrity frequently lost with multiple source systems (a problem an API call wont solve).

In the end though, I would say this is changing. As a technical lead on several major data project initiatives at the Rhode Island Department of Ed, I haven't run across one system that wasn't willing to integrate a web service somewhere in the architecture to move data from system to system. In this case, the difference is not API/no API, it's opening up that API to tons of folks outside of the "controlled" area of purchased systems and having well documented, standard formats for the XML like +James Salsman said.
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