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Standards Export File Formats – Overview

Updated Mar 19, 2021

Standards Export File Formats – Overview 

This document describes the standards export files provided by Academic Benchmarks via ftp. The standards export files must be requested through the website for generation that night for download the next day. You can use this data to represent standards in an outline format. Each state can have multiple documents, each document can have multiple subjects, and each subject’s topics are grouped under one or more grade ranges. The topic tree is organized in the same way. The topic tree does not have a minimum or maximum depth and may vary within a document.

> State
>> Document Title
>>> Subject
>>>> Grade Range/Course (standard)
>>>>> Main Idea/Context (topic)
>>>>>> Theme/SubTopic
>>>>>>> Objective/SubTopic

The files come in a variety of formats or they may be customized to meet your needs. Each file provides a digitized list of standards for a specific state, organization, subject, and year. The filename is derived from those four pieces of information. An overview for each standard format is provided below. See Terms Reference , below, for a list of terms for each format.

File Formats

XML Format

The default format for standards export files, its outermost container is MSS, which provides a unique ID for the document. The MSS contains some meta information about the document and a list of one or more standard containers. Each standard contains a set of topics within a given grade range. Within each standard container is a list of top-level topic containers. Each topic provides some of the actual content within the document and is hierarchical in nature. Think of each topic as being part of an outline.  The XML Schema Definition can be found at http://tools.academicbenchmarks.com/mss.xsd.

SIF XML Format

XML format used by SIF (Schools Interoperability Framework). Visit http://www.a4l.org/page/SIFSpecifications for more information about this format.

XLS Format

Each line in this Microsoft Excel format describes a topic within the document as indicated by the filename. Columns A-D describe the document. Columns E, N, and O describe the standard grade range. Columns F-M describe the topic. The topics are listed in outline order.

CSV Format

The data is presented in exactly the same way as the XLS format, but may be simpler to process.

Terms of Reference

MSS The GUID (globally unique identifier) that uniquely identifies the standards document. The MSS can be used to identify each file uniquely.
TIMESTAMP The date on which the document was last updated.
STATE Usually a state name, but takes other values for national or international standards.
Attribute:
code: Usually the state postal code, but may take on other two-character values.
SUBJECT The state-specific description for the document’s subject.
Attributes:
code: The subject code in the AB system. The subject description is a many-to-one relationship with the subject code. The value is up to four alpha characters.
seq: The sequence number for this subject.
Examples:
YEAR The year in which the document was published.
STANDARD A standard that represents a grade range. This tag acts as a container for one GRADE tag and one or more TOPIC tags.
Attribute:
id: The GUID that uniquely identifies the standard. Optionally, this may be a numeric ID.
GRADE The state-specific description for the standard’s grade range.
Attributes:
lo: The low end of the grade range for this standard. Possible values are PK, K, 1-12.
hi: The high end of the grade range for this standard. Possible values are PK, K, 1-12.
code: The code that uniquely identifies a grade range.
seq: The sequence number for this standard’s grade range within a document.
Examples:
TOPIC The topic’s text in the outline. Each standard has one or more topics, which are hierarchical in nature. This tag acts as a container for zero or more TOPIC tags and, optionally, a LEGEND tag.
Attributes:
id: The GUID that uniquely identifies the topic. Optionally, this may be a numeric ID.
parent_id The topic’s parent GUID or numeric ID.
state_num: The state numbering or ID for this topic in the outline. May not be unique across the document.
stem: Commonly repeated introduction to a set of standards providing no context.
label: The level-oriented label of the type of topic, defined by the state.
seq: The sequence property that sorts the topics in outline order.
placeholder Indicator: for whether a given topic is actually part of the document or simply an informational placeholder.
parent_req Indicator: for whether the parent’s text is required to give context to this topic. (Only included upon request)
level: The depth of the topic in the outline. The value 1 represents the top level.
linkable Indicator: for whether or not a given topic can be aligned to a resource in our system.
Extended Attributes:
organizer: A term used by the state to organize a set of standards, can introduce context.
lead_in: An introductory piece of information for a topic providing context that can be prepended to a topic to complete a sentence.
EXTENDEDTOPIC A broader perspective to the topic. Often about a course or grade level, or how the strand relates to the subject area in questions, or a note or reference to another document or website.
LEGEND The special character used to describe a given topic. Applicable only to select states.
Attributes:
pos: The position of the special character. A value of -1 means the special character should be displayed before the topic. A value of 0 means it is displayed after the topic.
id: The unique ID of the associated topic.
descr: The description of the special character.
assessed: This flag signifies if the associated topic is assessed.

Column Definitions

State Usually the state postal code, but may take on other two-character values for national or international standards.
Document The name of the document.
Subject The state-specific description for the document’s subject.
Year The year in which the document was published.
Grade The state-specific description for the standard’s grade range.
Level The depth of the topic in the outline. The value 1 represents the top level.
Children The number of subtopics for this topic.
Label The document-specific description for the level of which this topic is a part.
Number The state numbering or ID for this topic in the outline. May not be unique across the document.
Title The topic’s title, usually prepended with the topic’s number.
Lead In* An introductory piece of information for a topic providing context that can be prepended to a topic to complete a sentence.
Stem* Commonly repeated introduction to a set of standards providing no context
Description The topic content.
Extended Description* A broader perspective to the topic. Often about a course or grade level, or how the strand relates to the subject area in questions, or a note or reference to another document or website
GUID The topic’s unique identifier, provided by default.
TID The numeric unique identifier as an alternative to GUID.
Parent GUID The parent topic’s unique identifier, provided by default.
Parent TID The numeric parent topic’s unique identifier as an alternative to Parent GUID.
Authority Provided GUID* The GUID specifically assigned by an authority.
Lo Grade The low end of the grade range to which this topic applies.
Hi Grade The high end of the grade range to which this topic applies.

*Extended Column, Available Upon Request

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