Postsecondary Electronic Standards Council
Created in 1998, eXtensible Markup Language or XML, a specification used in software to define the content of an electronic document, has become widely used in business-to-business transactions. Whether sending data over the web or between applications, XML can be used to transmit both text and the meaning of that text.
XML quickly became popular as by this time programming was no longer bound by file size restrictions. With XML being more easily programmable and more verbose (human readable), PESC launched a study group to analyze and recommend to the PESC Board of Directors what steps PESC should take with regard to XML.
In response, the Board Response to the XML White Paper recommended the establishment of a permanent group to address XML development. On August 4, 2002, PESC launched the Standards Forum for the Education Community.
In the early 1990's the Standardization of Postsecondary Electronic Education Data Exchange (SPEEDE) Committee of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO), the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) of the U.S. Department of Education worked together to develop the first electronic standards in higher education for processing transcripts, which was developed in an existing technology called Electronic Data Interchange (EDI).
With the successful launch and implementation of an EDI transcript standard, other data exchange processes were developed in EDI as well, including admissions and test score reporting. Note; While use of EDI grew and continues to be implemented in the registrar and admissions communities, for a number of reasons including programming complexities, the financial aid community did not adopt and implement EDI but works now in XML.
The EDI standards were originally developed under the requirements of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the most current version of the EDI suite of transactions is version 4, published in April 1998 and based on X12 Version Release 4010. These standards, however, are no longer maintained under ANSI as the community has agreed to work under PESC as education's standards-setting body, thereby making ANSI's role obsolete. PESC's Education Record User Group, established in 2008 to govern the development and support of all admissions and registrars standards, now also governs all EDI standards and all EDI standards are now considered PESC Approved Standards.
Around 2000, admissions, financial aid, and registrar communities also began developing standards in a new technology called eXtensible Markup Language (XML) under PESC. The launch and use of XML does not mean that use of EDI is obsolete. In choosing which technology to use EDI or XML, organizations must determine the capabilities of the organization with which they exchange data and perform a number of analyses including cost benefit and strategic.
Note: The Statistical Networking Applications Project (SNAP) has published a comprehensive implemetation guide for data exchange between and among PK-12 schools/districts and colleges and universities. These two editions are fully compatible.
THE VALUE OF STANDARDS
A voluntary, consensus-based approach to data standards development, approval & maintenance is the most successful method. A groundbreaking report from the Delphi Group in 2003, from which PESC based most of its strategy and operations, highlights the value of standards and key factors on community views and perceptions of standards bodies.
Eduventures, October 2012
Delphi Group, 2003
Indiana Commission for Higher Education
SPEEDE/ExPRESS, April 1997
PESC APPROVED STANDARDS
for Admissions, Financial Aid, Registrar Offices
>> Test Score
PESC APPROVED STANDARDS
PESC APPROVED STANDARDS are available openly and free of charge for education and workforce, health and medical, military and government, and all teaching and learning communities - the cornerstone principle of PESC, PESC's Mission and PESC's Membership.
PESC APPROVED STANDARDS are Workgroup developed, proposed, approved, ratified and maintained through an open, transparent, rigorous, community-based, collaborative process, which includes a public notification when development initiates and a formal 30-day public comment period before approval, all governed by PESC Members.
PESC APPROVED STANDARDS are platform and application neutral; used, implemented, adopted and integrated in systems, networks, products and services applications; are hub and spoke and web services friendly; support a transaction or business process; and, can be implemented or used one independently from another.
One PESC APPROVED STANDARD (e.g. the College Transcript Standard) is made available in several different technologies (e.g. EDI, JSON, PDF, XML), providing more technical choice for users. The EDI, JSON, PDF and XML data modeling guidelines and specifications, definitions and business processes are aligned and governed under PESC's Standards Development Forum for Education. This alignment instills trust between different technologies, enables reliable data mapping across different technologies, and ensures data quality and integrity across different technologies.
For use of PESC APPROVED STANDARDS,
the PESC Website and PESC Work Products
in which you do not mention or
provide attribution to PESC:
use, access and downloading of
PESC APPROVED STANDARDS
are provided openly and free of charge.
You can also develop
derivative products and services from
PESC APPROVED STANDARDS
and you are responsible for any use of
PESC APPROVED STANDARDS you make.
For XML, PESC APPROVED STANDARDS include:
Dependent on when developed and released, each are based on specific versions of:
The Academic Record is an XML schema that contains a dictionary of element type definitions that can be used to construct and validate XML messages. The library contains element types that are specific to information about a student's academic experience and accomplishments.
Core Main is also an XML schema that contains a dictionary of common element type definitions that can be used to construct and validate XML messages.
The PESC XML Technical Specification outlines PESC XML Schema Structure, development methodology and design rules.
While PESC has adopted certain EDI standards as PESC APPROVED STANDARDS and hosts corresponding EDI Implementation Guides, users must obtain the EDI standards from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). For more information, please see the Introduction & Overview of SPEEDE/ExPRESS.
For some, voluntary consensus standard (also called Non-Government Standard) is a statutory or regulatory obligation. For others, the term ‘voluntary’ creates a perception of a wide-open, unstandardized market in which closed, proprietary applications and/or services reign; and access and control of data, serve as the value propositions to attract customers and clients.
The most important concepts to understand about voluntary consensus standards:
- Voluntary consensus standards refer to data to be exchanged, shared, reported, sold and/or licensed between at least two separate and independent parties.
- While the value of voluntary consensus standards lies in the open, transparent, neutral and balanced process in place in the user community to participate (equally), develop, produce and maintain a standard, the value proposition is based in costs-savings, return on investment, improved data quality and efficiencies gained in overall data management and service delivery.
- Federal rules and regulations clearly articulate the roles and responsibilities for all Federal agencies with regard to voluntary consensus standards and Government-Unique Standards, including annual reporting to the Department of Commerce.
- Voluntary consensus standards are governed by standards-setting bodies that operate on a voluntary consensus-based model.
- A voluntary consensus standard can be mandated or required by an authoritative entity and emerges as a best practice model.
- A Government-Unique or proprietary standard can become a voluntary consensus standard.
The U.S. General Accounting Office describes voluntary consensus standard in a summary of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA) of 1995 https://www.gao.gov/new.items/rc00122t.pdf:
“Government standards are developed by individual federal agencies for their own use. Although unique government standards sometimes are appropriate, such as standards for certain specialized military equipment, in other cases, a voluntary standard would suffice. This creates duplication for industry, which may have to provide two lines of production to meet both government and private needs and can put U.S. companies at a disadvantage in international trade.”
The major challenge for standards-development bodies and standards-setting bodes, like PESC, is maintaining a trusted, open, transparent, neutral, balanced and free voluntary consensus standard that in essence “levels the playing field,” while simultaneously promoting innovation in a market that may perceive the voluntary consensus standard as merely anti-competitive or optional compared to other technical standards.
From a Federal Agency perspective, there may be a lack of confidence in the utility, timeliness and sustainability of a voluntary standard and inconsistent guidance in existing statute, rules and regulations.
Student Financial Aid
PESC Approved Standard
Leading the ESTABLISHMENT AND ADOPTION OF TRUSTED, FREE & OPEN DATA STANDARDS ACROSS THE EDUCATION DOMAIN SINCE 1997
PESC APPROVED STANDARDS, Technology and Services are community-sourced
and driven by PESC serving as an incubator to pilot and launch data standards
using an open, transparent and collaborative process (based on a voluntary consensus model); and,
by PESC serving as an open, data standards-development and open, data standards-setting body.
PESC governs resource mapping and maintenance of education eco-system taxonomies,
schemas and shared code sets in various technologies (e.g. EDI, XML, PDF, JSON, JSON-LD)
produced and released as PESC APPROVED STANDARDS.
FREE & OPEN STANDARDS DEVELOPMENT
PESC’s standards development model welcomes the entire community
to help develop lifelong data standards!
PESC Workgroups (or Standards Development Workgroups) looking to produce
a PESC APPROVED STANDARD – XML, JSON, JSON-LD, etc., are fully free and open,
meaning everyone can participate whether a PESC Member or not.
Eligibility to serve as Chair (or Co-Chair) and the right to vote on the Workgroup, however,
is only available to PESC Member organizations on the Workgroup.
As PESC relies on Members to help fund and drive PESC, reserving leadership roles
and voting rights for PESC Members – the stakeholders most likely to adopt and implement standards –
provides a fairer and more equitable voice.
PESC looks to capture the best wisdom and intelligence from the broadest group within the community
to inform its development process, and thereby produce more robust, usable, ‘lifelong learning’ data standards.
Prohibiting non-Member organizations and stakeholders from participating and contributing ideas and efforts,
when they are willing to but not yet ready to become a Member, does not serve PESC or the community.
With this PESC Workgroup model, the entire community is now welcome and able
to participate in PESC Workgroups and the mission of data standardization
can now be adopted broadly and widely.
PESC Members continue to serve as the leaders and funders of PESC,
enabling PESC to offer all data standards free and without charge.