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Next Generation Standards Alignment of Digital Education Resources

To ensure high-quality alignment of digital K-12 education resources to state-adopted academic content standards, SETDA had launched a project in June 2012 (“Granular Identifiers and Metadata for the Common Core State Standards” or GIM-CCSS).

Given that the technical work in designing an approach to digitally encode the CCSS remains of interest to state and district education leaders, publishers, software developers and educators, SETDA published the GIM-CCSS technical design documents under an open license to allow re-use and further development. It presents recommendations for the technical solution. All recommendations are summarized below.

The recommendations focus on:

  • Creating a digital representation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) based on a well-defined information architecture. 
  • Assigning, using and managing identifiers associated with statements within the CCSS.
  • Providing metadata describing the statements within the CCSS.

The recommendations address the core technical use cases:

  • Linking – how identifiers of standards statements are used to link standards statements to representations in external systems. 
  • Processing – how the machine-readable form of the CCSS will be used.
  • Metadata – how metadata describing the CCSS will be used.

These use cases support of the broader requirement of identifying and representing concepts within a CCSS statement.

The document uses key concepts in the recommended solution:

  • Standards statements that express concepts – the information model treats all types of statements the same.
  • Identifiers that label statements and other concepts – from an identifier you cannot discern what is being identified. 
  • A digital representation for the model of the standards statement comprised of the description of the standard and its metadata – the metadata is solely provenance information.

A collection that details the entire solution includes:

  • Expressing the information model in JSON and XML.
  • APIs.
  • Recommendations for publication and deployment.
  • Use and best practices.

All technical documentations are available for free on SETDA website.

progression of common core state standards, reading standards

image credit: luhtalam (

Importantly, the technical approach is broadly applicable to any academic content standard and would offer important advantages today to those who choose to deploy it.

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