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Standards Forum for Education

Overview and Governance

The Standards Forum for Education is a standing committee of PESC responsible for XML and other data exchange standards develoment in higher education. It is governed by a Steering Committee comprised of 7 elected representatives from member organizations, operates under the direction of the PESC Board of Directors, and includes a number of boards and development workgroups.

The workgroups are dedicated to the development of a specific transaction or business process. Workgroups, co-chaired by representatives from PESC member organizations, meet mostly by conference call on a regularly scheduled basis, and meet in person at PESC's Summits. As a benefit of membership, member organizations can propose the establishment of a new development initiative.

While development workgroup terms are ad hoc, The Standards Forum includes two standing boards: the Technical Advisory Board (TAB) and the Change Control Board (CCB). The Technical Advisory Board (TAB) is responsible for updating and maintaining all technical specifications and for providing guidance on technical and architectural issues related to electronic standards and higher education. The Change Control Board (CCB) governs the data dictionary, core components documentation, and schemas and authorizes all changes and updates to any and all PESC approved standards.

It is expected that workgroups will deliberate until such time as all interested participants agree to a common approach and recommended solution for the standards submission.

For more information about the Standards Forum for Education including the process on which standards are developed, please refer to the Policies and Procedures Manual. The Policies and Procedures Manual (v 1.0.0) outlines all rules and processes for establishing data exchange standards for the education community through PESC. The Manual in full includes an overview of PESC and the Standards Forum for Education, the process for establishing data exchange standards, the PESC Guidelines for XML Architecture and Data Modeling, and the User Guide for the XML Registry and Repository for the Education Community.

Mission and Purpose

The Standards Forum for Education facilitates the achievement of PESC's mission through collaborative development and production of data exchange standards. Utilizing a structured process with known acceptability criteria, the Standards Forum is able to gain the endorsement of the education community to set and maintain these standards.

Collaboration is the cornerstone of PESC's existence as a standards body. Collaboration exists when a cross-section of the higher education industry including vendors, institutions, not-for-profit institutions and other private and government agencies participate in the development and implementation of standards. Only through the comprehensive involvement of parties impacted by a particular functional process can any standard be approved, promoted, implemented, and enforced.

The Standards Forum serves several purposes in the conduct of its activities:

  • identification of areas for which standards are necessary
  • the approval of standards
  • post-approval maintenance of these standards.

Standards Identification: The Standards Forum helps to identify data exchange functions for which standards are needed but lacking as well as assisting in the identification of participants with a vested interest in creating and utilizing standards, and with a knowledge base that contributes to the effort.

Standards Approval: Individual organizations, consortiums of organizations, or a workgroup of PESC may submit a proposal for data exchange to be considered for adoption as a standard. These proposals are considered "candidate submissions." As an approval and review body, the Standards Forum:

  • Provides a structured and documented process for developing standards and submitting the candidate for approval;
  • Supplies, upon request, technical assistance with the appropriate "packaging" of the candidate request for approval;
  • Conducts expert-based review of the candidate standards and validates their appropriateness for the function(s) to be served;
  • Provides, if the candidate application is determined to be inadequate, feedback to the submitters with improvements needed for a recommendation for approval;
  • Supplies a vehicle for the solicitation of public comment from any and all parties who might be affected by the implementation and use of the proposed standards;
  • Evaluates the public comment and works with the submitters to make any needed changes.

Post Approval Activities: Once approved, PESC will:

  • Communicate the standards to the community;
  • Provide a repository of approved standards for development and future reference; and
  • Support a process for updating the standards, as community needs change.


Individual workgroups are created as dictated by the needs of the Standards Forum for Education. Workgroups have the authority to create subcommittees as needed to carry out their responsibilities. Workgroups create proposed standards based on the needs of the education community and these proposals are transmitted to the Change Control Board for review and validation. Developers and analysts on the workgroup must prepare documentation with a consistent approach. They must be developed in accordance with PESC's Guidelines for XML Architecture and Data Modeling or corresponding guidelines for other technology applications.

The workgroups are also responsible for ensuring that sufficient industry collaboration is involved in the development of the candidate submission. All parties with a vested interest in the adoption of a standard must have the opportunity to provide input to the process. Workgroups are responsible for two major deliverables: appropriate schema(s) and an implementation guide.

Upon acceptance of a new standard, the individual workgroups also become responsible for development and maintenance of the standards that they are assigned. Workgroups are expected to make every effort to reuse existing data elements without modification wherever possible to minimize the number of data elements used across applications.




Policies & Procedures

PESC Approved Standards

Development Workgroups

Education Record User Group

EDI Implementation Guides


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