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School Courses for the Exchange of Data (SCED)

What is SCED?
SCED Version 3 Resources
Current SCED File: SCED Version 3.0 Downloadable File
Forum Guide to SCED Classification System
Forum Guide to SCED Publication Summary
SCED Finder
Previous SCED Versions and Resources
SCED Version 2.0 Downloadable File
Prior-to-Secondary School Course Classification System: SCED (2011)
Secondary School Course Classification System: SCED (2007)
SCED Working Group

What is SCED?

School Courses for the Exchange of Data (SCED) is a voluntary, common classification system for prior-to-secondary and secondary school courses. It can be used to compare course information, maintain longitudinal data about student coursework, and efficiently exchange course-taking records. SCED is based on a five-digit Course Code that provides a basic structure for classifying course content. Additional SCED elements and attributes provide descriptive information about each course.

SCED is updated and maintained by a working group of state and local education agency representatives who receive suggestions and assistance from a wide network of subject matter experts at the national, state, and local levels. As a result, SCED is designed to be flexible enough that education agencies can modify it to meet their needs.

SCED Version 3 Resources

SCED Version 3 resources include the most up-to-date version of the SCED codes in a downloadable, sortable file; a best practice guide for using the codes; a one-page SCED overview, and the SCED Finder.

Current SCED File: Version 3.0 Downloadable File Excel File (313 KB)
This file includes the following:

  • A comprehensive list of all 5-digit SCED Course Codes included in SCED Version 3.0. 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 as part of a Family and Consumer Sciences plan of study. This spreadsheet is 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  • A list of SCED Version 1.0 and 2.0 Course Codes that have been archived, as well as suggested alternative Course Codes.
  • 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;
  • 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.

Forum Guide to SCED Publication Summary
This one-page overview provides an introduction to SCED and an abstract for the Forum Guide to SCED. It is part of a series of outreach materials developed by the Forum.

SCED Finder
The SCED Finder is a tool that helps users select predefined SCED codes and then assign elements and attributes to courses. The SCED Finder can be used by school staff, researchers, students or parents to apply SCED codes for courses in a school’s curriculum, in state/district reporting and research purposes, for guidance on course offerings, or to compare courses during transfer. Users can search the SCED using keywords or browse the entire SCED to find the appropriate course code. The tool allows users to create, edit, and export lists of courses with the selected course code and user-identified SCED elements.


Previous SCED Versions and Resources

SCED Version 2.0 Downloadable File
This archived file includes both prior-to-secondary and secondary SCED course codes. Beginning with SCED Version 2.0, prior-to-secondary and secondary courses were coded using the same two-digit Course Subject Area Codes (the first two digits of the SCED code). Previously, prior-to-secondary courses were coded using a separate set of Course Subject Area Codes. The SCED Version 2.0 file includes a list of course codes from the 2011 prior-to-secondary SCED and their corresponding SCED Version 2.0 course codes in order to facilitate the change in Subject Areas.

Prior to Secondary School Course Classification System: SCED (2011)
This archived document includes prior-to-secondary SCED course codes and descriptions developed in 2011. It introduced a framework for prior-to-secondary course codes that was designed to mirror the framework developed in 2007 for secondary course codes.

Secondary School Course Classification System: SCED (2007)
This archived document includes the SCED course codes and descriptions developed in 2007, as well as instructions on implementing and using the taxonomy.

SCED Working Group

Chair: Lee Rabbitt, Pawtucket School Department (RI)

Marilyn King, Bozeman Public Schools (MT)
Rachel Kruse, Iowa Department of Education
Kristina Martin, Macomb Intermediate School District (MI)
Ray Martin, Connecticut Department of Education
Jan Rose Petro, Colorado Department of Education
Tom Purwin, Jersey City Public Schools (NJ)
Robin Utz, U.S. 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 3.0:

International Baccalaureate (IB) Organization
National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Classification of Secondary School Courses (CSSC) and Transcript Studies
National Coalition for Family and Consumer Sciences Education (NCFACSE)
Project Lead the Way (PLTW)
State Education Agency Directors of Arts Education (SEADAE)
U.S. Department of Education Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) 

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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