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Last modified: July 07, 2006
PostSecondary Electronic Standards Council XML Forum for Education

Description: "The XML Forum for Education serves as an industry group focused on XML standards in the education space. In addition to monitoring global XML specification initiatives and developing standards appropriate to education, the Forum provides the community with information on XML applications and their potential."

In July 2006, PESC announced that "the Board of Directors and Steering Committee of the Postsecondary Electronic Standards Council (PESC) approved the release of the XML High School Transcript Standard as a PESC Member-Approved National Education Community Standard. This effort marks a significant milestone and achievement for the education community, the Standardization of Postsecondary Education Electronic Data Exchange (SPEEDE) Committee of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRA), and for PESC. The High School Transcript is a specification designed for use by secondary and postsecondary educational institutions, state agencies, and software vendors to communicate current and historical student academic records. The High School Transcript contains personal history and identifying information about the student, the current academic status, dates of attendance, courses completed with grades earned, diplomas and certificates awarded, and selected test scores. The High School Transcript is programmed in Extensible Markup Language (XML), the widely adopted programming language that has enabled safe and reliable , real-time messaging and data exchange, and is accompanied by a comprehensive Implementation Guide that facilitates faster, more efficient programming..."

[January 05, 2001] In Fall 2000, the Postsecondary Electronic Standards Council (PESC) chartered an 'XML Forum for Education' for the purpose of establishing Extensible Markup Language (XML) standards for the higher education community. The Forum was established following several months of study by teams assigned to assess the technical aspects of XML, its application in higher education, and future development trends. The PESC XML Forum includes as participants all stakeholders in XML standardization. The Forum focuses on the XML needs of the higher education community, development of XML products needed by the participants, and evaluation of other XML initiatives and their impacts on the community. Forum membership is open to all organizations -- non-profit, commercial, or governmental -- interested in using XML in their data exchanges with education entities (schools, software and service providers, and financial aid lenders, servicers, and guaranty agencies). The XML Forum is chaired by John Evdemon, Chief Architect at XML Solutions. At present, the PESC XML Forum for Education "has established the following Work Groups: Core Components, Technology, Marketing and Communications. The primary deliverable of the Core Components Work Group (chaired by Rebecca Babel of ELM Resources) is a data model containing education data elements common to many transactions within education. To produce the data model, the work group intends to gather appropriate data dictionaries which will be compared and used as input to a modeling exercise. The Technology Work Group (chaired by Vincent Ferrer of the US Department of Education) is to produce a security best practices document, define a protocol for dealing with extensions, and provide guidance, proofs of concepts, and quality assurance to other work groups. The Marketing and Communications Work Group (chaired by Ellen Blackmun of the National Association of Financial Aid Administrators) is to focus on outreach activities and to increase awareness of XML standards for applications in education." PESC is is a non-profit membership organization whose mission is to improve service and control costs of higher education by promoting standards for data sharing. As a three-year-old organization, it represents a "partnership of schools, higher education associations, federal agencies, and software and service providers. The Postsecondary Electronic Standards Council leads the higher education community in leveraging the value of electronic standards for data exchange. Formed to support and promote the use of standards for sharing data within the higher education community, PESC provides a forum for identifying existing standards, encouraging the development of an infrastructure to exchange data successfully, and setting standards where none exist. Topics studied by the group include public key infrastructure (PKI) for encryption and digital signatures, single student and institutional identifiers, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) standards for prospect information and Hope Scholarship reporting, and electronic test score reporting."

"[Meeting Report: The Inaugural Meeting of the XML Forum for Education.]" "The inaugural meeting of the XML Forum for Education, sponsored by the Standards Council, took place on August 4th with over 50 actively participating attendees. Keith Riccitelli of USA Group and PESC Steering Committee Chair ably facilitated discussions among representatives of institutions, higher education associations, software and service providers, and the Department of Education. The meeting summary provides a glimpse of the current use of XML in education and the desire among attendees to work toward standardization wherever possible. Three work groups were defined by meeting participants to satisfy the current needs of the education community: (1) core components (2) technology (3) marketing and communications. With the help of members of the Forum discussion groups, three work group charges were developed and subsequently approved by the PESC Steering Committee. These charges are linked to the list above. The XML Forum meeting also included a discussion of Forum governance and operational processes. It is envisioned that the Forum will be a semi-autonomous body convened under the auspices of the Standards Council. In this way, Forum membership will include both members and non-members of PESC. Now, with the three work groups defined, the community is responding to a call for participants. Each work group charge describes the scope of the effort and its timeline, so interested parties can get an idea of what they are volunteering for. We estimate that travel this year may only include a single face-to-face meeting. Most meetings will be held by conference call with interim communications and document sharing via a dedicated listserv. Forum membership is free to PESC members; PESC non-members will be charged a fee to cover administrative and technical support. If interested in Forum participation, please complete and submit the participant form. The Standards Council Steering Committee is currently seeking candidates to serve for a year as XML Forum Chair. This highly visible position will be filled by an individual from a PESC member organization. Keith Riccitelli is accepting candidate names at this time, and qualified individuals are encouraged to indicate their interest by contacting Andrew Burnett.


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