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School Courses for the Exchange of Data (SCED)

School Courses for the Exchange of Data (SCED) is a voluntary, common classification system for prior-to-secondary and secondary school courses. It includes elements and attributes that identify basic course information. This work includes the codes themselves as well as additional elements that provide context for the courses and a best practice guide for using the codes.

The Version 2.0 SCED includes:

  • new and updated course codes, titles, and descriptions in Subject Area 5: Fine and Performing Arts, renamed to Visual and Performing Arts;
  • new and updated course codes, titles, and descriptions for Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses in multiple Course Subject Areas;
  • new and updated Advanced Placement (AP) courses in multiple Course Subject Areas;
  • new course attributes that are not part of the SCED Framework, but can be used to provide expanded course information; and
  • new Course Subject Area codes for prior-to-secondary courses that match secondary Course Subject Area codes.

SCED Version 2 Resources

There are several resources for users of SCED. SCED is based on a 5-digit Course Code that provides the minimum amount of information needed to identify a course within the SCED system. The 12-character SCED Identifier provides slightly more information, including the course level, the amount of available Carnegie Unit credit (or the span of grades for prior-to-secondary courses) and the placement of the course if it is part of a sequence. However, even the 12-character SCED Identifier provides only a basic framework for classifying and tracking courses. A comprehensive overview of a course includes much more information, ranging from the course description to the language of the course and the type of curriculum framework employed. Optional attributes can be added to the SCED Identifier to improve the usefulness of the standard. Attributes are elements widely used by SEAs and LEAs to provide more information on courses, but they are not essential to basic SCED classification. There are two main ways to get information from SCED:

Downloadable SCED Excel File Excel File (307 KB)

This file includes:

  • A comprehensive list of all 5-digit SCED Course Codes included in Draft SCED Version 2.0. This list includes the Course Title, SCED Course Code, Course Description, and Change Status.
  • A list of SCED Course Codes commonly included in one of the sixteen Career Clusters® or part of a Family and Consumer Sciences plan of study. This spreadsheet is intended as an example of how the Career Cluster attribute and the Family and Consumer Sciences Indicator can be used to identify courses from different Course Subject Areas that are part of a plan of study.
  • A list of SCED Version 1.0 Course Codes that have been archived and suggested alternative Course Codes.
  • A list of Course Codes from the 2011 Prior-to-Secondary SCED and their corresponding new Draft SCED V 2.0 Course Codes. Beginning with SCED Version 2.0, secondary and prior-to-secondary course courses will use the same two-digit Course Subject Area Codes (the first two digits of the Course Code). Previously, prior-to-secondary courses were indicated using a separate set of Course Subject Area Codes. As a result of this change, SCED Version 2.0 can be used to code secondary and prior-to-secondary courses.
  • Names and definitions of the SCED Elements that make up the 12-character SCED Identifier and optional attributes that can be applied to the Identifier to provide a more robust description of courses.

Forum Guide to School Courses for the Exchange of Data (SCED) Classification System

This best practice guide includes an overview of the SCED structure and descriptions of the SCED Framework elements, recommended attributes, and information for new and existing users on best practices for implementing and expanding their use of SCED.

SCED Working Group

The Forum convened a SCED Working Group in 2012 to review and update the 2007 and 2011 SCED resources and to address requests and comments that have been submitted to NCES. The Working Group developed a methodology for managing and implementing SCED changes. This methodology includes a set of guiding principles and a process for updating course codes and descriptions that involves working closely with subject matter experts and SCED users at the national, state, and local levels. The Forum’s national network of SEA and LEA members reviewed proposed Course Code updates and also provided information on SCED uses that contributed to the development of this guide. More information on the process can be found in the Best Practice Guide.

The following people and organizations made up the working group for the SCED Version 2 update:

Kathy Gosa, Kansas State Department of Education (SCED Working Group Chair)
Bruce Dacey, formerly of the Delaware Department of Education
Marilyn King, Bozeman Public Schools (MT)
Rachel Kruse, Iowa Department of Education
Zachary Mangold, Maryland State Department of Education
John Metcalfe, Fremont County School District #1 (WY)
Allen Miedema, Northshore School District (WA)
Jan Rose Petro, Colorado Department of Education
Susan Williams, Virginia Department of Education

The SCED project benefited from the participation of the following groups whose insight and perspective helped shape SCED Version 2.0:

State Education Agency Directors of Arts Education (SEADAE)
Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE)
National Association of State Directors of Career and Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc)
National Coalition for Family and Consumer Sciences Education (NCFACSE)
National Science Foundation (NSF)
The College Board
U.S. Department of Education Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE)

The Forum SCED Working Group is reviewing additional Subject Areas for future updates. To suggest updates to SCED, please contact Ghedam Bairu at

Publications of the National Forum on Education Statistics do not undergo the formal review required for products of the National Center for Education Statistics. The information and opinions published here are the product of the National Forum on Education Statistics and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the U.S. Department of Education or the National Center for Education Statistics.

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