CHAPTER 1

FASTER and the SPEEDE/ExPRESS Interface

Introduction

The Florida Automated System for Transferring Educational Records (FASTER) has been in place since the 88-89 school year.  At first, usage was limited as districts, community colleges and universities modified their local student records systems to interface with FASTER.  Only 28,000 transcripts were exchanged during that first year.  By 1994, through the hard work of a multitude of dedicated state and local people, Florida boasted one of the most progressive, comprehensive and efficient systems for transferring student records in the nation.  In 2001, over 900,000 electronic transcripts were exchanged.  

At about the same time that Florida's FASTER system was going into production, Florida banded toegether with other states to begin developing a nation-wide student record transfer system which has come to be known as SPEEDE/ExPRESS (Standardization of Postsecondary Education Electronic Data Exchange/Exchange of Permanent Records Electronically for Students and Schools).

From: 'A Guide to the Implementation of the SPEEDE/ExPRESS Electronic Transcript' (5/94)

   
"The SPEEDE/ExPRESS Electronic Transcript represents the efforts of several groups.  The American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) sponsored the Committee on the Standardization of Postsecondary Education Electronic Data Exchange (SPEEDE), which is responsible for the application of the SPEEDE/ExPRESS format to postsecondary student transcripts.  AACRAO membership includes approximately 2,400 member institutions primarily in the United States and Canada.  As these postsecondary institutions implement the process of transmitting the student academic record in a standard format over electronic networks, it is intended that each will use this format.

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) led the efforts to make the SPEEDE/ExPRESS format appropriate for Pre K - Grade 12 student records.  The Exchange of Student Records Electronically for Students and Schools (ExPRESS) committee consisting of representatives of state and local education agencies in five states worked to make sure that the format included key information for Pre K - Grade 12 student records and that the system would be appropriate for school districts and state education agencies.

In February 1992, the SPEEDE/ExPRESS format for the student transcript (Transaction Set 130) was approved by the Accredited Standards Committee (ASC X12) of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) as a Draft Standard for Trial Use.  The other three transaction sets used by the SPEEDE/ExPRESS format, Transaction Set 131, 146, and 147, were approved by ASC X12 of ANSI as Draft Standards for Trial Use in October of 1992. The ASC X12 approves standards for the electronic transmission of standard documents.  Approval will also be sought for an international Electronic Data Interchange for Administration Commerce and Transport (EDIFACT) standard when this becomes feasible.

Therefore, these standard transaction sets should apply to all Pre K - Grade 12 and postsecondary educational records that will be transmitted and/or received by any Pre K - Grade 12 school district or postsecondary institution participating in the project."
 

 
In 1992 Florida began building the software necessary to convert FASTER to SPEEDE/ExPRESS at the central 'post office' in Tallahassee. A central location for this conversion software had several advantages:
  • with a few small modifications, local schools could continue transmitting the proprietary FASTER formats to FASTER members AND to SPEEDE/ExPRESS non-member schools;
     
  • local student systems would be somewhat insulated from changes in the national formats (it is hard enough for them to keep track of in-state changes);
     
  • annual changes to the FASTER system need not be delayed by the ANSI-X12 approval process.
     
Unfortunately, though the software was in place, there were few external schools capable of SPEEDE/ ExPRESS and, therefore, little incentive for Florida schools to make the minor adjustments to their local systems that were necessary to support the conversion interface. The system had very little activity and became a 'back burner' project.

Now, however, there are literally hundreds of schools which have registered as being SPEEDE/ExPRESS capable through the free EDI Server housed at the University of Texas at Austin. The EDI Server registrant list continues to grow at a fairly fast pace. This is partially due to third party student software vendors that began building SPEEDE/ExPRESS into their products and these products are now mature enough for general use.

Further incentive comes from the fact that at least one Florida FASTER postsecondary school, the Univeristy of South Florida, has converted their local student system to one with SPEEDE/ExPRESS capability. Beginning November 2001 the ONLY way for FASTER schools to send/receive student records to/from USF is through the FASTER/SPEEDE/ExPRESS interface. A second postsecondary school, Florida Atlatic University, is well on its way.
 

Getting Started with SPEEDE/ExPRESS

Beginning November 2001, proper use of the FASTER interface to SPEEDE/ExPRESS is required. This document provides detail specifications concerning that interface and is intended for use by technical staff.

Readers of this document MUST have a good working knowledge of both formats. The latest version of the FASTER User Manual is available at http://www.fldoe.org/faster.  Instructions for Building an Automated Student Record System may be obtained at http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2000/building/intro.asp .  Additional resources regarding Electronic Data Interchange and SPEEDE/ExPRESS can be found at the National Center for Education Statistics EDI web site, and at the Postsecondary Education Standards Council web site.

Schools listed on the EDI Server registrant list as in production using encryption are automatically added to the FASTER participants list.  Local FASTER systems should use program SRTS31 on a regular basis to get a current list of SPEEDE/ExPRESS trading partners.  You should be aware that some SPEEDE/ExPRESS institutions will require a test period (much like our in-state parallel test phase) for each institution with whom they trade.  FIRN is not responsible for making sure that your records are acceptable to out-of-state institutions except as relates to SPEEDE/ExPRESS syntax and to the data conversions which are specifically detailed in this document.

All Florida FASTER postsecondary main campuses are in the EDI Server registrant list individually.  Individual listing of K-12 FASTER schools is based on district policy.  These need only be listed if they wish to receive from SPEEDE/ExPRESS institutions other than USF or FAU.  These two schools have built into their systems the ability to address the FIRN generic address, FIRNX25, in the ISA header envelope with specific school details embedded in the N1 segments.  However, it is suggested that a district list at least their high schools to take full advantage of SPEEDE/ExPRESS and to promote the use of EDI in other states.
 

What you must do to enable the SPEEDE/ExPRESS interface for your school(s)...
  1. Visit the FASTER secure web site to provide the names, phone numbers and e-mails of people to be contacted by any out-of-state institution concerning your SPEEDE/ExPRESS records.
     
  2. Also at the FASTER secure web site select the schools or campuses that are to be listed individually on the EDI Server registrant list.  Note the 'SELECT ALL' option.  For school districts, this option implies that FIRN should assign an out-of-state ID to all schools in the district on the Master School ID file.  Postsecondary institutions choosing ALL will have out-of state ID's assigned to all campuses listed in Appendix C of the FASTER User Manual.
     
  3. Follow the directions in Appendix Q of the FASTER User Manual in preparing your transmissions.
     

Overview of the SPEEDE/ExPRESS Transaction Sets

A subset of the ANSI transaction sets developed specifically for the education community include:
 

  TS130 Student Educational Record (Transcript)-- corresponds to FASTER Response Records with transcripts attached
 
 
  TS131 Student Educational Record (Transcript) Acknowledgement-- transaction returned by the receiving institution allowing the sending institution to validate specific data elements sent in the studentís transcript adding additional security to the overall system
 
 
  TS132 Educational Staff
 
 
  TS133 Educational Institutional Record
 
 
  TS146 Request for Student Educational Record (Transcript)-- corresponds to FASTER Request Records
 
 
  TS147 Response to Request for Student Education Record (Transcript)-- corresponds to FASTER Response Records with no transcript attached
 
 
  TS152 Statistical Government Information-- to be used for IPEDS, CCD and Libraries reporting to the federal government
 
 
  TS188 Educational Course Inventory-- allows an institution to request/send their catalog of course offerings
 
 
  TS189 Application for Admission to Educational Institutions
 
 
  TS997 Functional Acknowledgement-- transaction returned by the receiving institution providing a simple acknowledgement of receipt and acceptance or non-acceptance of the transaction (note that TS131 is the preferred method for acknowledging receipt of a TS130)
 
 
The FASTER - SPEEDE/ExPRESS interface only supports Transaction Sets 130, 131, 146, 147, and 997.  Schools that have native SPEEDE/ExPRESS capbilities might wish to take advantage of some of the other transaction sets.

Transaction Set 997 is automatically generated by the interface when a SPEEDE/ExPRESS transmission is received by the central 'post office' from the EDI Server.  A FASTER record set is not generated for incoming SPEEDE/ExPRESS transactions in which errors are detected; therefore, the receiving Florida institution need have no processing in place for such an event.  The FIRN Applications Programming Staff will handle any incoming TS997's manually, contacting the sending institution via e-mail or voice communications as necessary.

Processing of FASTER Response Records Addressed to an Out-of-State Institution

First, let us assume that all institutions are fully capable of sending and receiving both Transaction Sets 130 and 131.  Now let us examine the scenario that would occur when a Florida institution sends a student's records to an out-of-state institution.
 

  1. FASTER institution sends unsolicited response (record status is undelivered),
     
  2. FIRN receives response, converts it to TS130 format and sends it out (record status still undelivered),
     
  3. Addressed out-of-state institution receives TS130 and sends back TS131,
     
  4. FIRN receives TS131 and sets record status to delivered, and
     
  5. FASTER institution runs Outgoing Aging Report so that record can be deleted during Sunday night maintenance.
     
If, however, the addressed out-of-state institution has not yet implemented TS131, then the setting of the delivered status must be a manual operation.  The sending institution should contact the addressed institution and verify that the student's records were actually received.  We hope that as SPEEDE/ExPRESS matures and becomes more widely used this manual validation will no longer be necessary.

Processing of SPEEDE/ExPRESS Transaction Sets 130 and 131 Addressed to a Florida Institution

The scenario for TS130's coming into Florida from out-of-state institutions is similar:
 

  1. Out-of-state institution sends unsolicited TS130,
     
  2. FIRN receives TS130, converts it to a FASTER response and sends it to the addressed FASTER institution (record status is undelivered),
     
  3. Florida institution downloads the response (record status is delivered),
     
  4. FIRN automatically sends out TS131,
     
  5. FIRN runs Outgoing Aging Report so that record can be deleted during Sunday night maintenance.
     
Again, if the sending out-of-state institution has not yet implemented receipt of TS131, then it is up to that institution to contact the FASTER institution to verify that the student's transcript was received.

Conversion specifications from FASTER to SPEEDE/ExPRESS and visa versa are contained in this document:
 

 
  • Chapter 2:
  • Postsecondary Transcript (P00-P08) FASTER formats converted into TS130 Version 4;  
     
  • Chapter 3:
  • Inter-district Student Records (I00-I09) and Secondary Transcript (S00-S08) FASTER formats converted into TS130 Version 4;  
     
  • Chapter 4:
  • FASTER Request format (I/S/P00) converted to TS146 Version 4;  
     
  • Chapter 5:
  • FASTER Negative Response to Request format (I/S/P00) converted to TS147 Version 4;  
     
  • Chapter 6:
  • SPEEDE/ExPRESS Outer Envelopes to FASTER Formats;  
     
  • Chapter 7:
  • TS130 Version 4 converted to Postsecondary (P00-P08) FASTER formats;  
     
  • Chapter 8:
  • TS130 Version 4 converted to Inter-district Student Records (I00-I09) and Secondary Transcript (S00-S08) FASTER formats;  
     
  • Chapter 9:
  • TS131 Version 4 acknowledgement to TS130 processing;  
     
  • Chapter 10:
  • TS146 Version 4 converted to FASTER Request format (I/S/P00);  
     
  • Chapter 11:
  • FASTER Negative Response to Request format (I/S/P00) converted to TS147 Version 4;  
     
  • Chapter 12:
  • TS997 Version 4 generic acknowledgement processing.  
     
    In an effort to facility the extraction of information from the Note segments between Florida Speede ExPress trading partners, NTE02 segments have been prepended by 4 character identification codes as follows:

    MIG: = Migrant Information
    WDW: = Withdrawal Information
    CDT: = Credits Needed for Graduation
    EAD: = Early Admission Student
    HDR: = Postsecondary Comment Records (P04) with Term and Tag = 0000000
    TRL: = Postsecondary Comment Records (P04) with Term and Tag = 9999990
    SES: = Session Notes
    CRS: = Course Notes
    IMM: = Immunization Information
    VTC: = Vocational Termination Code

    GOP: = Graduation Option
    DSC: = Discipline Information

    One of the SPEEDE/ExPRESS suggested best practices is that the participant be able to receive not only the current version of the transaction sets but the previous version as well.  Complete documentation of the SPEEDE/ExPRESS FASTER interface would therefore also include chapters describing the conversion from SPEEDE/ExPRESS Version 3 into the FASTER formats.  However, since most of our trading partners have already converted to Version 4 and new trading partners are likely to already be using Version 4 we have not included such documentation in this manual.
     
    This document has visual enhancements as follows:
    Changes since the last release of the document are highlighted using green background when possible.
    When background coloring is not possible, the text of the change will be in Large Font Bold Blue Italics.
    Lavender background is used for change requests to the SPEEDE/ExPRESS formats.
    Yellow background is used for topics that need to be revisited for next year's implementation.

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