FLORIDA AUTOMATED SYSTEM FOR TRANSFERRING EDUCATIONAL RECORDS
FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
OFFICE OF APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT AND SUPPORT (OADS)

Effective: December 15, 2013
Revised:

Chapter II

Preparing Transcripts and Student Record Requests

The System's ultimate goal is to enable one institution to transfer student records from its data files to those of a second institution electronically. That is, a computer program would extract student records from the first institution's data files and enter them into the System which would transfer them to the second institution. There, another program would insert them into the second institution's data files. To make all this happen, student records and student record requests must be organized according to predefined formats and data edit rules. Each institution using the System must be able to build request and response records according to these formats and edit rules.

When initializing any record sent through the System, please use spaces as the default character. Do not use LOW-VALUES (binary zeroes), since these cause problems for some institutions.

A. Etiquette for Transcript Exchange

Each institution will develop procedures for handling FASTER as it suits their needs. However, questions and difficulties often arise with user interaction; decisions made for one institution may create unforeseen problems for another. What follows are some guidelines that have grown out of many discussions of the Technical Advisory Committee of issues raised by FASTER users.
1. Timing is important. FASTER has peak periods (notably, June, September and December) when activity is high. This may affect your processing cycle. Avoid sending thousands of requests/responses all at once; sending huge amounts of data can create problems. One such problem could be finding large chunks of available disk space at the same time everyone else is trying to do the same thing. Also, huge files may necessitate modification of the jobstream. The easiest way to avoid large batches is to transmit regularly. Ordinarily, an automated system should not have difficulty processing every day. This avoids the situation where large amounts of data are accumulated, then sent in large batches just once a week. In other words, pay attention to the cyclical nature of the system, and avoid dumping huge batches of requests/responses on trading partners. There are situations where a large file may be generated when transmission is pending final grades or graduation information. In this case, it may be a good idea for the sender to break up the data into smaller files before transmission.
2. Stay in touch. The FASTER homepage (http://www.fldoe.org/faster/) is the place to find out what is happening with FASTER. There is a newsgroup where all important memos and notices are posted and anyone with an e-mail address can sign up for the FASTER listserve. The contacts and participant status information is also found on the homepage. Take the time to update/maintain the Contacts list information and your electronic mailing address. Keep in mind that as people come and go, names and numbers change.
3. If you've got it, send it. When requesting a student record or transcript, always send any identifying information that you have: names, sex, race, birthdate, graduation date, etc. Each bit of data can be useful in identification. Also, if you can identify a student based on the information provided in the request, don't withhold the records because a Social Security Number or a Primary Student Identifier was not provided. These fields are not required and there are situations in which these numbers simply are not available.
4. Older records are more difficult to find. What is true for current records is even more true for historical records. When requesting older records, keep in mind that they are almost always more difficult to identify. Birthdates are often most useful and can help to avoid fruitless searches and negative responses.
5. Use the message codes. If you only want a student's transcript after he has graduated, you can specify exactly that. See Appendix D for this message code and a variety of others.
6. FAXing and FASTER. Any request sent by FAX is not to be honored. FAXing is a wonderful tool, but has no place in the FASTER process. The goal of the System is to have all requests come in via FASTER, relieving schools from the burden of managing requests from multiple sources. The receiving institution should contact the sending institution and point out the problem.
7. Whither hard copies? Since the System provides print capability there is usually no need to request hard copy from a sending institution. However, sending the FASTER formats does not preclude the sending of any student data not automated in the FASTER system in hard copy. Occasionally, it happens that an institution is prevented from participating in using FASTER due to software upgrades or natural disasters. The listserv provides a way for an institution to broadcast their status and estimated downtime.
8. Consistent Transcript Preparation Procedures. The FASTER User Manual specifies a consistent, technical format for the preparation of student transcripts (for example, course records must always follow their corresponding term records). Heretofore, issues of a more administrative and procedural nature (for example, whether or not course records excluded from GPA calculations need to be sent at all) have been left to venues outside the FASTER process. The Florida Legislature, though, needs the ability to perform automated analysis on student transcripts. This cannot be done unless consistent administrative procedures are followed in the preparation of student transcripts. Consistent administrative procedures, as needed, will be developed by the respective divisions of postsecondary education, working in concert with their institutions and legislative staffs.
9. Reserved Symbols. There are three reserved symbols that should not be used in any part of the data sent through FASTER. These symbols are:
  • ~ (tilde),
  • ^ (caret), and
  • ` (grave accent).
These symbols are used as delimiters in the process that translates FASTER to SPEEDE/ExPRESS. If reserved symbols are included in data sent through FASTER to a SPEEDE/ExPRESS institution, the transcript cannot be successfully parsed by the receiving institution.

B. Formatting Requests

This section deals with situations in which a student's records are in one institution's files and the student authorizes a second institution to obtain them from the first. Since the first institution has to locate the student's records before they can be sent, the second institution must provide the first with information that will uniquely identify the student. In the System, this information is provided in the form of a request record.

Request records are called Header Records and follow the format specified in Appendix H. The following identifying information may be included in section "A" of the request record:
* Record Type
  Primary Student Identifier -- If the request is being sent to a postsecondary institution, this is the student's Social Security Number. If the request is being sent to a school district or Technical Center, this is the student's Student Number Identifier, Florida (which, under Department of Education regulations, will be the student's Social Security Number if the student has provided it to the school district).
* Addressed Institution
* Sending Institution
* Message Type
  Test/Production Indicator
  Institutional Student Number
* Last Name
  Appendage
  First Name
  Middle/Maiden Name or Initial
  Former Last Name 1
  Former Last Name 2
  Alias/Nickname
  Sex
  Racial/Ethnic Category
  Type of Institutional Unique Identifier
  Institutional Unique Identifier
  High School Graduation Date
  Date of Birth

Fields marked with an asterisk (*) are mandatory and may not be left blank (all others can). While not mandatory, it is strongly suggested that the Social Security Number be provided when making a request of a postsecondary institution, and that the Student Number Identifier, Florida, be provided when making a request of a public school, school district, or Technical Center.

Record Type is required and indicates the kind of student records being requested. I00 indicates that Interdistrict Records are being requested, while S00 indicates that the Secondary to Postsecondary Transcript (the Secondary Transcript) is being requested, and T00 indicates that Technical Center Records are being requested. P00 is used to request a Postsecondary Transcript, Cost of Attendance Record, or Financial Aid Enrollment record.

Addressed Institution and Sending Institution are composite fields, consisting of an institutional identifier and a code to indicate the number of a school or campus within the institution. All of these fields are mandatory and may not be left blank. For postsecondary institutions, the OPEID code is the institution's ID, and campus code is a number from zero through 9999 (see Appendix C). When campus code is unknown this field must be set to zero. For public schools, the institution ID is the school district code (see Appendix A), and the school code is the code for the school in which the student was or is enrolled from the Master School ID File (see Appendix B). Zero is also a valid school code, but only for response records.

The Message Type field is the codification of the standard handling instructions given by the requesting institution to the institution that has custody of the student's records. Code R01 requests that the student's records be sent as soon as possible, while code R02 asks that the records be sent only after the current term is complete and the student's grades are posted. Valid request message codes (all of which begin with an R or B) are included with Appendix D.

The Institutional Unique Identifier in Part A is a thirty character field which may be used by the sending institution to tag each request record sent out. By putting a unique tag in this field, an institution can match several of the files it gets back from the System against the institution's local files. For example, the Outgoing Aging Report (program SRTS21) produces a file which will contain section A of every Header Record it sees. Since this file contains the Institutional Unique Identifier, the institution will be able to match the delivery information it receives from program SRTS21 with individual records in the institution's local files. As will be shown in the next section, this institutional identifier can ultimately be used to match the request transmitted by SRTS01 with the response received through SRTS04. SRTS02 is the program used to download requests posted to an institution. It also delivers the header records of transcripts transmitted by schools to Bright Futures that have failed to pass the edits of the Bright Futures evaluation program and therefore could not be loaded to the Bright Futures database. These headers indicate to the receiving institution that it should investigate the problem with the student's transcript (which is indicated by the message type) and, after fixing the problem, re-send the transcript.

Please note that the sending institution fills in fields 1-16 in section A of the Header Record for transmissions addressed to another FASTER user. Fields 16a and 16b are used only for SPEEDE/ExPRESS exchanges. Field number 16c is supplied by the System. When sending a request record, all section B fields are left blank. Section B is used only with response Header Records.

Request records may be submitted to the System in batches. A batch of request records may contain many different addressees and may request more than one kind of student record. For example, a university might request Secondary Transcripts from several schools and school districts and Postsecondary Transcripts from several state colleges and universities, all in the same batch. In this way, the System facilitates batch processing, which is the most cost-effective means of transmitting student records electronically.

C. Formatting Responses

All responses in this System begin with a Header Record. Sometimes, a "response" will not be preceded by a request (e.g., where a student asks his or her institution to send the student's transcript to a university). In this situation, the institution prepares section A of the Header Record in the same way as it would for a request record. The only difference comes in the values of the Message Type field. These three character codes will begin with Q as listed in Appendix D. Section B of the Header Record is left blank (just as in a request record). There then follow the rest of the records that make up the transcript being sent. These are described in sections E, G, and I of this chapter, with different types of records being sent depending on the value of the Record Type field on the Header Record.

Where a response has been preceded by the receipt of a request record, the sending institution again builds a response Header Record. This time, however, section B of the Header Record is used. In building the response Header Record, the sending institution takes all section A fields (which does not include Record Type) from the corresponding request Header Record and puts them into section B of the response Header Record. This will make it possible for the original sending institution, when it receives the response, to match the response Header Record with the request Header Record that was originally posted. This process is simplified if the requesting institution has made use of the Institutional Unique Identifier.

The sending institution then fills in section A of the response Header Record with information from its own data files. In many cases, more fields will be filled in section A than in section B (as in the case where the requesting institution does not know the student's Student Number Identifier, Florida). In some cases, there may be discrepancies between the identifying information provided by the requesting institution and the information stored in the responding institution's files. Where these differences are so minor that the responding institution can still uniquely identify a set of student records, the responding institution fills in section A with its data, sets Message Type to S06 (see Appendix D), attaches the remaining record types of the transcript, and submits this set of student records to the System. The job of reconciling the inconsistent information now belongs to the requesting institution, the new custodian of the student's records.

Where discrepancies between the identifying information of the requesting institution and the responding institution's files are so great that it becomes doubtful that a match has been found, a transcript cannot be provided. The responding institution then puts the information from section A of the request record into both section B and section A of the response Header Record. The responding district then switches the Addressed Institution and Sending Institution fields in section A (to reflect the fact that the responding institution is now the sender), and sets Message Type in section A to S02. The Header Record is then submitted to the System for transmission to the requesting institution. This same procedure can be followed when the responding institution's files are totally unlike the identifying information provided by the requesting institution. In such cases the responding institution would send a Message Type of S10. Please refer to Appendix D for other Message Type codes that are available.

Thus, a response can vary from as many as dozens of records to as few as a single, unaccompanied Header Record. As with request records, batches of response records can contain multiple addressees and can include many different types of student information.

The file of response records an institution submits to the System is grouped by student. First, within a group of records for a student, comes a Header Record. Then come the remaining types of records that comprise this transcript or set of student records. Then comes the Header Record for the second student, followed by the other records for that student, and so on throughout the rest of the file. While all records in the file will be of fixed length (1020 characters), different formats will be used depending on the Record Type field located in the first 3 character positions.

The following section reviews the data edit rules applicable to the various types of request and response records. Sections E, G, and I of this chapter discuss the internal organization of the student records and transcripts that follow the response Header Records. Section L describes the electronic application for admission and section M reviews electronic transfer to non-FASTER institutions.

D. Data Edit Rules

Programs SRTS01 and SRTS03 post requests and responses, respectively, to the institutions' mailboxes. As a part of this process, the programs edit their input, producing error reports when any field contains invalid data. Appendix S contains a sample of each program's edit error report. The edit reports identify the transcript and/or record where the error occurred, the data field in error, the field's contents, and provide a short, descriptive error message. The reports are sorted by Sending Institution, Sending School/Campus, and Student Name. Independent pagination is kept within Sending School/Campus.

There are four levels of error severity: reject, out-of-state reject, Migrant reject, and Bright Futures reject. When the program encounters a reject error the entire transcript is rejected. Out-of-state reject errors are those which will cause the record to be rejected when addressed to an out-of-state institution. Bright Futures reject errors are those which result from incorrect or incomplete data being sent to a Bright Futures address. Migrant reject errors are those which result from incorrect or incomplete data being sent to the Federal MSIX system address.

Some fields have a very large valid values list (for example, Sending Institution School Number). For fields such as this, files containing the valid values are available for FASTER users to download and use at their local site. Refer to Appendix B for more details.

Appendix R contains the edit specifications for all record types used in the System. Among these edit errors, the following will result in the rejection of a set of student records:

- An error in any of the fields of an Interdistrict Record, Secondary Transcript, or Technical Center Transcript.

- An error in any Postsecondary Transcript record field.

- Any error in record sequencing or maximum record counts.

- Any error in Category A fields for Interdistrict, Secondary and Technical Center records addressed to SPEEDE/ExPRESS institutions.

- Any error in fields required for Bright Futures when the transcript is addressed to a Bright Futures address.

- Any error in fields required for MSIX when the transcript is addressed to the Federal MSIX address.

Student records and transcripts will also be rejected if they are addressed to an institution that is not yet participating in FASTER. For a discussion of participation status and how it can be determined, please see Chapter III Section F.

E. Interdistrict Records

Each set of Interdistrict Records for a student begins with a Header Record. After the Interdistrict Header Record (Record Type I00) come 10 additional types of records in the following order:

I01 Student (1 per student)
I02 Student Immunization (1 per student)
I03 Student School Year (1 for each school year; order ascending by School Year)
I04 Student Course (multiple records following the Student School Year record to which they apply)
I05 Student Voc/LEP/Dropout (1 per student)
I06 Exceptional Student (1 per student)
I07 Student Comment (up to 5 per student)
I08 Student Test (up to 9 per student)
I09 Student Discipline (multiple records)
I10 PAS Number (1 per student)
I11 Migrant Students (1 per student - when addressed to MSIX)

For example, suppose there were sets of Interdistrict Records for two students on a response file, with two school years worth of information for the first student and one for the second. Assume also that each student took 12 courses each year. The records on the response file would then appear as follows:

I00     Header for the first student
I01      
I02      
  I03   First Student School Year record
    I04  
    . 12 Student Course records
    .  
    I04  
  I03   Second Student School Year record
    I04  
    . 12 Student Course records
    .  
    I04  
I05      
I06      
I07      
I08     Student's First Test record
I08     Student's Second Test record
I09     Student's First discipline record
I09     Student's Second discipline record
I09     Student's Third discipline record
I10     Student's PAS Number record
I11     Student's Migrant record - only when addressed to MSIX
I00     Header for the second student
I01      
I02      
  I03   Student's only School Year record
    I04  
    . 12 Student Course records
    .  
    I04  
I05      
I06      
I07      
I08      

The actual formats for the Interdistrict Records can be found in Appendix I. Note that a subset of these same record types is used in providing Bright Futures Records to the Office of Education Information & Accountability Services. In this case, the Addressed Institution number will be 0000095.

F. Bright Futures

The Interdistrict Record and Secondary Transcript are also used to send student record information to the Office of Student Financial Assistance for the Bright Futures Program. The actual formats for the Interdistrict Record and Secondary Format are found in Appendix I. The cover page of each format contains a list of which elements are included for each transmission type.

To send the Interdistrict Record to the Office of Student Financial Assistance, use institution codes as follows:

The School/Campus Number is used to specify the type of Bright Futures processing the transcript will require. The first two bytes specify graduation year, the third and fourth bytes specify the semester and type of evaluation. For example, 07 in the first two bytes would mean that the student was a senior in 2006-2007, scheduled to graduate in May 2007. The third byte must be either a 7 or an 8, to indicate whether the transcript should be processed in the seventh or eighth semester evaluation. And the fourth byte must be either 0 or 1, where 0 indicates the student should be kept the practice database and 1 indicates that the student should be kept in the production database. The Message Type must be a Q01. All formats valid for an Interdistrict Record can be sent, or only those valid for the Secondary Format (S00) as long as all fields required by Bright Futures are included.

G. Secondary-Postsecondary Transcripts

After the Secondary Transcript Header Record (Record Type S00) come 7 additional types of records in the following order:

S01 Student (1 per student)
S02 Student Immunization (1 per student)
S03 Student School Year (1 for each school year; order ascending by School Year)
S04 Student Course (multiple records following the Student School Year record to which they apply)
S05 Student Voc/LEP/Dropout (1 per student)
S07 Student Comment (up to 5 per student)
S08 Student Test (up to 5 per student)

These record types are very similar to the corresponding record types on the Interdistrict Records formats. Appendix I discusses the differences (which, mainly, are that certain data fields will not appear on one or the other record type).

As an example, suppose that a Secondary Transcript on a response file had four years of information, with 12 courses taken each year. The records on the response file would then appear as follows:

S00     Header for the student's transcript
S01      
S02      
  S03   First Student School Year record
    S04  
    . 12 Student Course records
    .  
    S04  
  S03   Second Student School Year record
    S04  
    .  
    . 12 Student Course records
    .  
    S04  
  S03   Third Student School Year record
    S04  
    .  
    . 12 Student Course records
    .  
    S04  
  S03   Fourth Student School Year record
    S04  
    .  
    . 12 Student Course records
    .  
    S04  
S05      
S07      
S08     Student's First Test record
S08     Student's Second Test record

It is occasionally necessary to request records from a school that no longer exists. The System permits inactive schools to receive requests and send transcripts; however, inactive schools cannot make requests.

The Secondary Transcript format can be used to send to Bright Futures as long as all fields required by Bright Futures are included.

H. Outstanding High School Juniors and Employment Information

Information on Outstanding High School Juniors is no longer transmitted through FASTER. The OHSJ list is now created by DOE and made available for download on FASTER secure Web site.
The following are the instructions for accessing the file:
1) Go to the FASTER homepage at http://www.fldoe.org/faster/.)
2) Select "Secure Access to NWRDC - Mailbox Status". This will take you to a logon page.
3) Enter your institutions logon ID and password and press enter. This will take you to a menu page. (The state universities and state colleges already have the logon ID's and passwords needed to get to this site.)
4) Select "Download Outstanding High School Juniors".
5) On this page you will see links to both the FRN.POSTSEC.OUTSTAND.HSJRS text file and the zipped version, FRN.POSTSEC.OUTSTAND.HSJRS.ZIP. (And now the two new files.) Clicking on these links will provide a window with download options.
If you have any questions or problems accessing these files please feel free to contact the FASTER office at FSTR@fldoe.org

Employment information can be requested from a school’s Human Resources Office with the district number and the school number of 9100.

I. Postsecondary Transcripts and Financial Aid Records

The Postsecondary Transcript, in addition to the Header Record (Record Type P00), consists of nine different record types (Appendix J). These must be received in the following order:

P01 Fixed Segment (1 per student)
P02 Term Header (1 per term, order ascending by term)
P03 Course (1 for each course taken)
P04 Remarks
P07 Degrees Awarded (1 per degree awarded)

NOTE: Course (P03) records, Remarks (P04) records, and Degrees Awarded (P07) records can repeat within occurrences of Term Header (P02) records. Thus, the first P02 record will be followed by its associated P03/P04/P07, and then by the second P02 record and its associated P03/P04/P07 records, etc.

HOWEVER, P04 and P07 records with a Term Designator of 000000 must appear before the first P02 record (the P04 records must precede the P07 records, if any); and P04 and P07 records with a Term Designator of 999999 may follow the final set of P02/P03/P04/P07 records in a student's transcript (again, the P04 records must precede the P07 records, if any). Otherwise, P04 and P07 records must be associated with a P02 record. Also, all P07 records must follow the last P03 or P04 record within a set of P02/P03/P04/P07 records. P04 records, though, may come between P02 and P03 records.

P05 Transfer Summary (can have multiple occurrences)
P06 Tests (can have multiple occurrences)
P08 Immunizations (1 per student)
P20 Cost of Attendance  (can have multiple occurrences)

For example, suppose that a Postsecondary Transcript on a response file had two years of information, with 2 terms per year and 5 courses per term. The records on the response file would then appear as follows:

P00     Header for the student's transcript
  G99   Generic Record (these can appear anywhere)
P01     Fixed Segment
P04     Remarks record (Term/Tag Designator 0000000)
P07     Degree record (Term/Tag Designator 0000000)
P02     First Term record (Year 1)
    P04 Remarks record for Year 1, Term 1
    P03 First Course record for Year 1, Term 1
    P04 Remarks record
    P03 Second Course record
    P03 Third Course record
    P03 Fourth Course record
    P03 Fifth Course record
    P07 Degree record for Year 1, Term 1
  G99   Generic Record (these can appear anywhere)
P02     Second Term record (Year 1)
  G99   Generic Record (these can appear anywhere)
    P03  
    .  
    . 5 Course records
    .  
    P03  
P02     First Term record (Year 2)
    P03  
    .  
    . 5 Course records
    .  
    P03  
P02     Second Term record (Year 2)
    P03  
    .  
    . 5 Course records
    .  
    P03  
    P04 Remarks record for Year 2, Term 2
    P07 Degree record for Year 2, Term 2
P04     Remarks record (Term/Tag Designator 9999990)
P04     Remarks record (Term/Tag Designator 9999990)
P07     Degree record (Term/Tag Designator 9999990)
P07     Degree record (Term/Tag Designator 9999990)
P05     First Transfer record
.      
.      
.      
P05     Last Transfer record
P06     First Test record
.      
.      
.      
P06     Last Test record
P08     Single Immunization record

When responding to a request for a Financial Aid Enrollment Record, the records on the response file would appear as follows, with each P03 format representing one course:

P00     Header for the student's transcript
P01     Fixed Segment
P02     First Term record (Year 1)
    P03 First Course record for Year 1, Term 1
    P03 Second Course record for Year 1, Term 1

When responding to a request for a Financial Aid Cost of Attendance Record, the records on the response file would appear as follows:

P00     Header for the student's transcript
P20     One Cost of Attendance record per term as requested in the Term Designator field on the P00 Request Header

J. Teacher Certification, Dual Enrollment, and Postsecondary Feedback

The formats for the Postsecondary Transcript can be found in Appendix J. These formats are used to send information to the DOE Teacher Certification Office. To send a student transcript for this purpose, the Addressed Institution number must be 0000089 with all zeroes for the School/Campus number.

The postsecondary format may also be used to send Dual Enrollment and Postsecondary Feedback information between postsecondary and secondary institutions. There is no sign-off procedure for this operation; it is done on an institution by institution basis by agreement between the parties concerned.

K. The "G99" Generic Record Format

The Generic Record Format (see Appendix H) is so called because its purpose is to allow the transmission of information that is not part of the standard FASTER formats. Usage of the format is valid with responses only. Three G99 records have been designed for the System, G99HS, G99IMM, and G99HC, as defined in Appendix H. When sent, these records are edited according to the edits defined for them in Appendix R. Otherwise, the only edited field on the record is the Record Type (the first three bytes) and the only valid value is G99. The last nine bytes of the record are reserved filler but are not edited. The remaining space on the record can be used to transmit any information in any format, to be decided by previous arrangement between the sending and receiving institutions. This means that the unedited data will "pass through" the System, i.e., it will be transmitted without editing restrictions. The record format is allowed to appear anywhere following a valid response header record, and there is no limit as to the number of G99 records that can be sent in a single response.

Obviously, the use of this record format will permit a great deal of flexibility in the sending of response records; however, it is not to be considered a standard part of the established FASTER formats. It should not be used unless the sending and receiving institutions have reached an agreement to do so, and have previously decided what the format of the contents of the record will be. Currently, it is being considered for use in the piloting of data transfer using the System between several school districts and the Florida Institute of Education.

L. Technical Center Transcripts

After the Technical Center Transcript Header Record (Record Type T00) come 7 additional types of records in the following order:

T01 Student (1 per student)
T02 Student Immunization (1 per student)
T03 Student School Year (1 for each school year; order ascending by School Year)
T04 Student Course (multiple records following the Student School Year record to which they apply)
T05 Student Voc/LEP/Dropout (1 per student)
T07 Student Comment (up to 5 per student)
T08 Student Test (up to 5 per student)

These record types are very similar to the corresponding record types on the Interdistrict Records formats. Appendix I discusses the differences (which, mainly, are that certain data fields will not appear on one or the other record type).

As an example, suppose that a Technical Center Transcript on a response file had four years of information, with 12 courses taken each year. The records on the response file would then appear as follows:

T00     Header for the student's transcript
T01      
T02      
  T03   First Student School Year record
    T04  
    . 12 Student Course records
    .  
    T04  
  T03   Second Student School Year record
    T04  
    .  
    . 12 Student Course records
    .  
    T04  
  T03   Third Student School Year record
    T04  
    .  
    . 12 Student Course records
    .  
    T04  
  T03   Fourth Student School Year record
    T04  
    .  
    . 12 Student Course records
    .  
    T04  
T05      
T07      
T08     Student's First Test record
T08     Student's Second Test record

It is occasionally necessary to request records from a school that no longer exists. The System permits inactive schools to receive requests and send transcripts; however, inactive schools cannot make requests.

The actual formats for the Technical Center records can be found in Appendix I.

M. Electronic Transfer to Non-FASTER Institutions

To let Florida public school districts, state colleges, and universities exchange electronic transcripts with institutions in other states, an interface has been developed to the emerging national (and international) electronic transcript system. The elementary/secondary portion of this system is called ExPRESS (Exchange of Permanent Records Electronically for Students and Schools), while the postsecondary part is called SPEEDE (Standardization of Postsecondary Education Electronic Data Exchange). The SPEEDE/ExPRESS formats have been under development since 1989 and the FASTER-SPEEDE/ExPRESS Interface has been available since the 1994-95 release of FASTER.

SPEEDE/ExPRESS is a set of record formats recognized and approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The formats have been developed by members of the educational community representing the United States and Canada. Currently, SPEEDE/ExPRESS committee members are also looking to develop standard formats to be approved by the International Standards Organization (ISO) so that educational records can be exchanged world-wide.

The formats themselves, like FASTER, consist of multiple record types (segments in ANSI parlance) with fields (data elements) and code values. Unlike FASTER, the fields are not a fixed length, but rather delimited by special characters (delimiters) and thus the segments themselves are variable length. Segments are demarcated by a segment delimiter and both data element and segment delimiters are specified in the first segment of each transcript. Transmissions are typically sent as 80-character records (sometimes 256-character records) with spaces and insignificant zeroes removed. Needless to say, the data elements and the code values that go with them are not exact duplicates of the FASTER fields and must be translated.

The Interface lets FASTER institutions exchange transcripts with non-FASTER institutions in much the same way transcripts are exchanged between FASTER institutions. The difference is a 15-character SPEEDE/ExPRESS Institution ID located on the I00, S00, or P00 Header Record and additional fields scattered throughout the FASTER formats. Refer to Appendices H, I, J, and R for details on the additional fields. A separate FASTER-SPEEDE/ExPRESS Interface Guide is available which details segment, data element and code value conversion specifics.

To participate in the SPEEDE/ExPRESS portion of the FASTER system each institution must first contact the FASTER office at FSTR@fldoe.org to set up authorizations and a self-test transmission. For the self-test, you will be required to send yourself a set of FASTER records through the SPEEDE/ExPRESS interface addressed to your institution. Since the record is going through a double conversion, you will want to verify that the data received is essentially the same as the data sent. Once you are satisfied that your system can send and receive these special transmissions and that your data are being correctly translated you can begin sending and receiving records through the interface to other institutions.

To send a transcript to an out-of-state institution, find its SPEEDE/ExPRESS Institution ID using the System's participation status facilities in Chapter III, Section F. Also check its status, to make sure it is ready to receive your transmission. Some institutions will be ready to receive transcripts from postsecondary schools but be unable to receive them from elementary/secondary schools, and vice versa.

If your addressee's status indicates they can receive your transmission, prepare the transcript just as though you were sending it to a FASTER institution, filling in the Addressed Institution field on the Header Record as follows:

Next, put the out-of-state institution's SPEEDE/ExPRESS Institution ID into the field provided on the Header Record (item 16b). Note that fields have been added to FASTER on other record types besides the Header Record to accommodate special features of the SPEEDE/ExPRESS formats. Again, refer to Appendices H, I, J, and R for more information. Once complete, submit the transcript to the System in the same way you would submit any other transcript.

You will receive transcripts from SPEEDE/ExPRESS institutions in the same way you receive transcripts from FASTER participants. You will know a transcript has come from a SPEEDE/ExPRESS institution if you find either of the following values in the Sending Institution field on the transcript's Header Record:

When you receive a transcript with either of these codes you can get the sending institution's name (and contact information) by matching the code in the SPEEDE/ExPRESS Institution ID field with the numbers in the System's Participant Status file (see Appendix K for the file format).

SPEEDE/ExPRESS, like FASTER, also has been designed to permit institutions to request records from other institutions electronically. You will receive requests from SPEEDE/ExPRESS institutions in the same way you receive requests from FASTER participants. You will know a transcript has come from a SPEEDE/ExPRESS institution if you find either 0000099 or 0010002 in the Sending Institution field on the request's Header Record. The sending institution's SPEEDE/ExPRESS identification number will be in the SPEEDE/ExPRESS Institution ID field and that can be matched to a code in the participant status file. When responding to a request, the Sending Institution becomes the Addressed Institution (0000099 or 0010002) and the SPEEDE/ExPRESS Institution ID remains the same. As with a FASTER response, all data received in Part A of the Header record should be moved to Part B as is.

Within the SPEEDE/ExPRESS system, security is managed through the use of "acknowledgements." These are sent electronically after one institution receives a transmission from another. This lets an institution verify that a transmission really came from the institution that purportedly sent it. FASTER will handle this acknowledgement process automatically, sending acknowledgement records when a FASTER institution picks up a SPEEDE/ExPRESS transmission from the institution's mailbox.

FASTER will also compare the acknowledgments received with our log of transmissions sent (the System will automatically generate unique identifiers for each transcript sent out and store them in the second new field on the Header Record, SPEEDE/ExPRESS Transaction Control ID, before the System sends the record to SPEEDE/ExPRESS). In the event a non-matching acknowledgment is encountered, OADS staff will:

This procedure will ensure that no one will be able to successfully masquerade as a FASTER institution.

N. Private Schools and Bright Futures

Until recently, private schools were unable to send batch transcripts to Bright Futures with the FASTER system. The only method of sending the information was to key it on the Bright Futures Web Site. Now, however, there is an alternative to this tedious process.

The alternative, for schools with a minimum of 200 transcripts per grade level, is to download your student data to spreadsheets and send to OADS (via a secure envelope). Once the spreadsheets are received, they must pass a series of edit programs. First, they are checked for complete, valid information. Once they pass that level, they are uploaded to a mainframe computer, and the data is converted to a FASTER file which conforms to the FASTER formats. Once the data is in the appropriate format, it must pass a program of FASTER edits, then a program of Bright Futures edits. When the data passes all data edits, it is sent to the Bright Futures mailbox and picked up for Bright Futures evaluation that night.

Contact FASTER for a secure envelope, spreadsheet templates, and a description of valid data values. If you have any questions about the private school process, please contact the FASTER office at FSTR@fldoe.org.