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Common course numbering:
Transition to new system begins next school year

South Dakota will be implementing a common course numbering system. The state will use the National Center for Educational Statistics’ SCED codes, or School Codes for the Exchange of Data. A group of teachers and administrators from a variety of districts met March 17 to initiate the process.

“Our content standards are the same from one district to the next. It makes sense that our course titles and numbering would also be similar,” said Becky Nelson with the department’s Office of Curriculum, Career and Technical Education.

The new system will provide two key things: a common understanding of the content of courses and consistency in student transcripts across the state.

“We live in a very mobile society, and having this consistency will facilitate the transfer of students, admission to postsecondary schools, and even the determination of eligibility for scholarships,” Nelson said.

Within the SCED, course titles are deliberately general. For example, the SCED might call a course “Literature of a Theme,” while a district's course catalog would probably have a more explicit title such as “Books That Shaped the 20th Century." As long as the course content aligns with the SCED descriptions, districts will have the flexibility to keep local course titles and descriptions. The state will provide specific information and training on how to implement SCED codes at the local level.

SCED codes will be used in both the Personnel Record Form and Infinite Campus, the state's student information management system.

The codes represent courses as a whole, but within Infinite Campus, districts will be able to keep their unique identifier to distinguish different semesters, trimesters or sections. The department is working with Infinite Campus to add a feature that would allow the state and local code to be printed on a student transcript if the district desires.

For more information, contact Becky Nelson at (605) 773-4681 or becky.nelson@state.sd.us