This booklet has been prepared by the staff of the awarding bodies and approved by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) to enable data to be transferred between awarding bodies and centres. During the course of its preparation, consultations have taken place with suppliers of software and communication systems on the file structures to be used. This booklet is effective for all electronic data transfers from 1 September 2011.

Introduction

The file name should take the form:

dcccccbb.Xnn

d = data type

ccccc = centre number in the case of files being sent by a centre

or

an indication of the series and year in the case of broadcast or multiple files being sent by an awarding body

bb = AB identifier

X = literal ‘X’ identifies file as a common format file from an awarding body

nn = last two digits of the sequence number (see Note 7 page 9)

The sequence number specifies the order in which files have been produced so that awarding bodies receiving a number of files will know the order in which to process them. The last two digits of this number are included in the file name to enable multiple versions of a particular file type to be stored in one directory area. For example, a centre may produce more than one amendments file for a particular awarding body.

The file name is designed so that it contains the information needed at both ends of its journey from centre to awarding body or vice-versa. It is not necessary, therefore, for EDI suppliers to rename files in transit and it is important that they do not do so. An exception to this general rule is the case where an awarding body supplies a single file containing data for a number of centres which an EDI supplier has previously agreed to split and to send the relevant parts to individual centres. Note that filenames are not case sensitive.

The following data types are defined in this document.

    A Amendments

    C Components file

    D Disallowed combinations file

    E Entries

    F Forecast or estimated grades

    L Link file

    M Coursework Marks

    O Options file

    R Results

    S Syllabus file

    U Certification/Unit Link file

    X General communication

    Z Zipped executable basedata file

 

Examples

E1234570.X01 would be entries file 01 from centre 12345 for AB 70, i.e. AQA

A1234501.X05 would be amendments file 05 from centre 12345 for AB 01, i.e. OCR

Basedata files

Basedata files will follow a similar naming convention, but instead of a centre number in bytes 2 – 6 of the file name they will contain the examination series code in bytes 2 – 3, followed by the year of the examination to which they refer in bytes 4 – 5 and either an underscore character or a character indicating the language of the basedata in byte 6. This letter may be ‘C’ (Welsh) or ‘B’ (Bi-lingual). If an underscore is used the language is understood to be English.

A set of basedata files (Syllabus, Option, Component and Link files together with a disallowed combinations file) may be zipped as an executable file. Such files will be named according to the convention Zssyy_bb.EXE, where Z indicates a zipped set of files, ss is the examination series, yy is the year, _ is a literal underscore character (or is replaced by a letter to indicate the language) and bb is the AB identifier code.

It is also permissible for an additional text file to be included within a set of basedata. This file may be used to include any additional information. There are no naming requirements. However, the file will only contain unformatted text and must be given a .txt suffix.

Examples

S6A12_11.X01 – would be a syllabus file from Edexcel, AB Identifier 11 for series 6 (June GCE) in year 2012.

OBG11_61.X02 – would be an options file from CCEA, AB Identifier 61 for series B (November) in year 2011. X02 indicates that this is the second release of this basedata file. (See note on the re-release of basedata below).

C6G12C40.X01 – would be a component file in Welsh from WJEC, AB Identifier 40 for series 6 (June GCSE) in year 2012.

Z3A12_70.zip – would be a set of zipped basedata files from AQA, AB Identifier 70 for series 3 (March) in year 2012.

ADNOTES.TXT – could contain any additional information as required.

Re-release of Basedata
If it is necessary to release another version of the basedata files it is required that the suffix of all files (excluding the .txt files) within a zipped or executable file is changed to indicate the release number (e.g. from .X01 to .X02 if the files are released for a second time and from .X02 to .X03 if another release is necessary).

General Communication File (Type X)

Some EDI systems provide no method of automatically responding to EDI messages. For example, an awarding body, having received a centre’s entries by EDI, may wish to send a confirmation of how many entries the centre has made for each subject. Currently, this requires the use of electronic mail and is a labour-intensive operation. In order to automate the process a general communication file type has been defined. The file name would be

Xcccccbb.Xnn

The data inside the file should be free-format text, intelligible to the recipients when read, not intended to be loaded into a computer.

The type X file is for awarding body to centre communications only; it is not intended for use by a centre to send an unstructured message to an awarding body.

General layout of common format files

Each file will normally be made up of the following record types.

Record Type  Record Description  
1File Header
3*Centre Header
5*Detail
7*Centre Trailer
9File Trailer

*Sequence repeats for each centre in the file

Generally files will start with a file header record followed by a centre header record, a number of detail records, a centre trailer record and then a file trailer record. This will be the case where the file contains data to or from one centre.

There may be some cases where an awarding body produces a composite file containing data for a number of centres. If more than one centre is included in the file, the centre header record, detail records and centre trailer record would be repeated the requisite number of times. In all cases the first record will be the file header and the last record will be the file trailer.

File Header Record

Position Description  Size Comments  
1Data Type1ASame as first letter of file name
2Record Type1N‘1’ for file header
3-7Centre Number5N(See Note 1, page 8)
8-9AB2NAB identifier
10-11Examination Series2A(See Note 2, page 8)
12-13Year2N‘00, ‘01’ etc.
14Distribution Type1A‘S’, ‘B’, or ‘M’ (See Note 3, page 8)
15-21Software Package7A(See Note 4, page 9)
22-24Software Package Version3A(See Note 4, page 9)
25-26Formats Version2N(See Note 5, page 9)
27Pad with spacesRecord length will depend on data type
endEnd of Line Marker2AASCII 13,
ASCII 10 (See Note 6, page 9)

Centre Header Record (Note: there is only one Centre Header Record for all file types)

Position Description  Size Comments  
1Data Type1ASame as first letter of file name
2Record Type1N'3' for centre header
3-7Centre Number5N(See Note 1, page 8)
8-9AB2NAB identifier
10-11Examination Series2A(See Note 2, page 8)
12-13Year2N'09', '10' etc.
14-16Sequence Number3NRight justified with leading zeros (See Note 7, page 9)
17-24Centre Postcode8ALeft justified
25-Pad with spacesRecord length will depend on data type
-endEnd of Line Marker2AASCII 13,
ASCII 10 (See Note 6, page 9)

Detail Record

Position Description  Size Comments  
1Data Type1ASame as first letter of file name
2Record Type1N‘5’ for detail record
3Record detailsRecord length will depend on data type
-endEnd of Line Marker2AASCII 13,
ASCII 10 (See Note 6, page 9)

Centre Trailer Record

PositionDescriptionSizeComments
1Data Type1ASame as first letter of file name
2Record Type1N‘7’ for centre trailer
3-7Centre Number5N(See Note 1, page 8)
8-14Number of Records7NRight justified with leading zeros (See Note 8, page 9)
15-20Date file produced6NIn form ddmmyy
21-Pad with spacesRecord length will depend on data type
-endEnd of Line Marker2AASCII 13,
ASCII 10 (See Note 6, page 9)

File Trailer Record

PositionDescriptionSizeComments
1Data Type1ASame as first letter of file name
2Record Type1N‘9’ for file trailer
3-7Centre Number5N(See Note 1, page 8)
8-14Number of Records7NRight justified with leading zeros (See Note 8, page 9)
15-21Number of Centres7NRight justified with leading zeros
22-Pad with spacesRecord length will depend on data type
-endEnd of Line Marker2AASCII 13,
ASCII 10 (See Note 6, page 9)

Notes:

1. Centre Number

Bytes 3 – 7 of file header, centre header, centre trailer and file trailer records.
This field should contain either:

  • the national centre number of the centre involved in the data transfer when the file contains data to or from a centre, or;
  • the examination series code and year (in the form YY) followed by an underscore ‘_’ or letter to indicate the language when the file contains non-centre specific examination data, e.g.basedata. Also see Note 3.

 
2. Examination Series

Bytes 10 – 11 of file and centre header records.

A two character examination series is to be used.

    First Character

    ‘1’ to ‘C’ will refer to the main month in which the examination is taken.

      1 January
      2 February
      3 March
      4 April
      5 May
      6 June
      7 July
      8 August
      9 September
      A October
      B November
      C December

    Second Character

    The second character is a letter (A-Z), defined to represent a set of qualifications to be processed together for the examination series. The second character is decided by the awarding body concerned without reference to the values used by other awarding bodies.

    Any subjects which awarding bodies include in a particular set of basedata files are intended to be collected in a single entry file. For example, when combined with the year, 1A02 would simply indicate a set of basedata related to examinations scheduled to be taken in January 2002. It would have no necessary correlation with the same awarding body’s 1A01 or 1A03, nor with another awarding body’s 1A02.

 
3. Distribution Type

Byte 14 of file header record.

    May contain one of three values.

    ‘S’ indicates that the file contains data to or from a centre.

    In ‘S’ type files there should be one file header, one centre header, one centre trailer and one file trailer each of which should contain the same national centre number in bytes 3 – 7. All files from centres should be of type ‘S’.

    ‘B’ indicates that the file contains data from one awarding body, all of which are to be broadcast to the centres.

    In ‘B’ type files there should be one file header, one centre header, one centre trailer and one filetrailer each of which should contain the examination series code in bytes 3 – 4, the year (in the formYY) in bytes 5 – 6, and ‘_’ or letter to indicate the language in byte 7.

    ‘M’ indicates EDI carriers/file splitters

    In cases where an awarding body issues one file containing data for a number of centres and the file needs to be split by the EDI carrier so that each part is sent to the relevant centre, byte 14 will contain the value ‘M’.

    In ‘M’ type files the file header and trailer records should contain the examination series code in bytes 3 – 4, the year (in the form YY) in bytes 5 – 6, and ‘_’ or letter to indicate the language in byte 7. The body of the file will then contain a repeating sequence of centre header, detail records and centre trailer. Each centre header/trailer pair should contain the national centre number of the centre concerned in bytes 3 – 7.

    The resultant file that the carrier/splitter outputs to each of the constituent centres will be of type ‘S’ (as described above).

 
4. Software Package Name and Version Number
Bytes 15 – 21 and 22 – 24 of file header.
These fields should contain the name and version number of the software package being used to produce the file. It is up to the software suppliers to invent suitable labels for their products. It is suggested that a centre using software that has been prepared in-house indicates this fact by placing its national centre number in bytes 15 – 19.
 
5. Formats Version

Bytes 25 – 26 of File Header Record

Used to indicate the version of the Formats booklet used in the file. e.g. ‘14’ would indicate that the 14th version of the Formats booklet was being followed.
 
6. End of Line Marker

The records take the form of fixed length lines of text, the exact length of which will depend on the data type in question. The end of line marker in all record types is ASCII code 13 followed by ASCIIcode 10.
 
7. Sequence Number

Bytes 14 – 16 of centre header. (Right justified with leading zeros)

The sequence number is intended to indicate the order in which files were produced and hence the order in which they should be processed. The sequence number of files received by an awardingbody, however, need not be contiguous. The last two digits of the sequence number form part of the file name (see page 5). It is important, however, to look in the centre header to ascertain the fullsequence number.
 
8. Number of Records

The number of records in the centre trailer record should be a count of all the records including thecentre header, centre trailer and all the detail records between the two. The number of records in thefile trailer should be a count of all the records in the file including the file header and trailer records.

E.g. an entries file containing the entries for one centre will contain one file header, one centreheader, a number of detail records, one centre trailer and one file trailer. The record total in thecentre trailer in this case should be the number of detail records plus two. The record total in the filetrailer should be the number of detail records plus four.

Entries and Amendments File Formats

The file should be created according to the rules for common format data files outlined earlier, using the data type ‘E’ for entries or ‘A’ for amendments as the first character of the file name and of all the data records. The record length is 194 bytes including the end of line marker.

Entries and Amendments Detail Record

PositionDescriptionSizeComments
1Data Type1A‘E’ for Entries
‘A’ for Amendments
2Record Type1N5’ for Details record
3Candidate Status1A‘C’ or ‘P’ (See Note 1, page 10)
4-8Centre Number5N
9-12Candidate Number4NRight justified with leading zeros
13-52Candidate Name40A(See Note 2, page 11)
53Sex1A‘M’ or ‘F’
54-59Date of Birth6NIn format DDMMYY
(‘000000’ if not known)
60-72Candidate Identifier13AUnique Candidate Identifier (UCI) (See Note 3)
73-85Pupil Number13AUnique Pupil Number (UPN) (See Note 4)
86-95Unique Learner Number10NUnique Learner Number (ULN) (See Note 5)
96Qualifier Flag1A‘G’, ‘P’, or ‘ ’ (See Note 6)
97-101Optional Centre Number5N (See Note 6)
102-105Optional Candidate Number4N (See Note 6)
106-108Documentation Group3AFor centre use
109-114
115
etc
186-191
192
1st Option Entry Code
1st Option Entry Flag

12th Option Entry Code
12th Option Entry Flag
6A
1A
by
12
(See Notes 7 and 8)
193-194End of Line Marker2AASCII 13
ASCII 10

Notes:

1. Candidate Status (Byte 3)

May take the value ‘C’ for a centre candidate (normal internal candidate) or ‘P’ for a private candidate.Some awarding bodies will not accept private candidates as part of a centre’s entry file and will treatall candidates received in this way as centre candidates, irrespective of the value contained here.
 
2. Candidate Name (Bytes 13 – 52)

Must be in the format SURNAME:FORENAMES e.g. JONES:FREDERICK WILLIAM T

A colon separates the surname and forenames. If no colon is present the candidate has no forenames and all the names will be assumed to be part of the surname.

Acceptable characters are:

  • A-Z, a-z, hyphen, apostrophe, space, round brackets (open and close) and full stop.

All the acceptable characters are ASCII characters in the range 32 to 126.

Awarding bodies may convert names to upper case when they transfer on to their own computer systems. They may also remove or replace any characters which are not acceptable.
 
3. Candidate Identifier (Bytes 60 – 72)

This is the 13 character Unique Candidate Identifier (UCI) as required by all awarding bodies. The UCI is mandatory.
 
4. Pupil Number (Bytes 73 – 85)
This is the 13 character Unique Pupil Number (UPN) used by the DfES. The UPN is not mandatory but should be included in this field whenever possible. It is recognised that Independent schools and some FE colleges may not be able to supply UPNs.
 
5. Unique Learner Number (ULN) (Bytes 86 – 95)
The ULN is mandatory for all entries of learners undertaking Diploma programmes from September 2008 and is advisable for a qualification accredited on the QCF (Qualifications and Credit Framework).
 
6. Qualifier Flag, Optional Centre and Candidate Numbers (Bytes 96, 97 – 101 and 102 – 105)
If the qualifier flag contains ‘G’ then the candidate is a guest from another centre. The optional centre and candidate number fields specify the centre which holds the main entry and the number of the candidate at that centre.

If the qualifier flag contains ‘P’ then the candidate’s previous centre and candidate number are supplied for the purpose of carrying forward marks. The fields for optional centre and candidate numbers should not be left blank if the qualifier flag contains ‘P’.

Any other value in the qualifier flag byte renders the optional centre and candidate number undefined. Some awarding bodies do not require this information.
 
7. Number of Option Entry Codes
The maximum number of entry codes which can be accommodated in one record is 12. If a candidate is entering for more than 12 subjects, the additional information should be provided in a second record which should follow immediately, the first 108 bytes of which should be identical to the first record.
 
8. Option Entry Codes
The byte after each option entry code is a spare flag, any use of which will be indicated by an individual awarding body. It should be blank if not required.

Use of Entries and Amendments Files

A centre should submit only one entries file for a given examination series to each awarding body for which it has entries, and this file should contain the majority if not all of the centre’s entries. Subjects which are to be collected in any single file are defined by their presence in the corresponding basedata files for that awarding body, year and series.

Any change to the entries or additional entries are amendments and should be submitted in an amendments file (if the awarding body is willing to accept amendments in this way) or on the awarding body’s amendments form otherwise.

An amendments file should include complete replacement records for all candidates whose entries and/or personal details have changed since the entries file or last amendments file was submitted. The awarding body will determine the differences between the amended record submitted by the centre and the data held on the awarding body’s database.

A candidate record with no subject entries will be interpreted as an instruction to withdraw the candidate from all subjects. Individual awarding bodies, however, may follow their own procedures on candidate withdrawal.

Results File Format

The file should be created according to the rules for common format data outlined earlier, using the data type ‘R’ as the first character of the file name. The record length is 64 bytes including the end of line marker.

Results Detail Record

PositionDescriptionSizeComments
1Data Type1A‘R’ for Results
2Record Type1N‘5’ for Details record
3-7Centre Number5N
8-11Candidate Number4NRight justified with leading zeros
12-24Unique Candidate Identifier13AUCI
25 - 34Unique Learner Number10NULN
35 – 40Entry Code6ACode for which entry was made or blank (See Note 1)
41 – 46Results Code6ACode for which result is being awarded (See Note 1)
47Result Type1A(See Note 2)
48-62As defined below15A(See Note 2)
63-64End of Line Marker2AASCII 13
ASCII 10

Notes

1. Subject Entry Code and Subject Results Code (Bytes 35 – 40 and 41 – 46)

The subject entry code is the code for which the candidate is entered on an awarding body’s database on the day that results are published, and will only be included, at the discretion of the awarding body supplying the data, if the candidate is being awarded a grade in a subject area that differs from that of the recorded entry. In most cases this field will contain spaces. The subject results code is the code for which the grade is being awarded. It should be 4, 5 or 6 characters in length, left justified with trailing spaces if necessary.
 
2. Result type and grades (Bytes 47, 48– 62)

Byte 47 should contain a flag which is to be used to interpret the grades or results contained in bytes 48 to 62.

To allow for GCSE grades to incorporate A* and possible future arrangements, three numeric values have been defined for byte 47 as follows.

  • 1 Grades left justified to allow A*
  • 2 Levels (numeric) right justified
  • 3 Points score (numeric) right justified with leading zero

If byte 47 contains one of these numeric values, then the grade or result field will contain space for four grades or results each of which may be 1 or 2 characters in length as shown below and the corresponding partial absence symbol (#) if appropriate.

  
48-49First Grade or Result
50-51Second Grade or Result
52-53Endorsement to first grade or result
54-55Endorsement to second grade or result
56-57Undefined
58First grade partial absence
59Second grade partial absence
60Endorsement to first grade partial absence
61Endorsement to second grade partial absence
62Undefined

In many cases some or most of these fields will be blank. For example, a subject with just a single grade will use the first field only. Dual award subjects will normally have results in both the first and second result fields even if both grades are the same. The partial absence symbol will appear only if a candidate has been absent for one or more components of the examination and has been awarded a grade.

If byte 47, however, contains any alphabetic character, such as ‘U’ or ‘M’ below, (rather than a number) then bytes 48 – 62 cannot be assumed to contain ten fields. The interpretation to be placed on particular values in this position will be defined as necessary.

If byte 47 contains ‘U’ (Uniform Mark Scale) or ‘M’ (Mark) then bytes 48 – 50 will contain a numeric score, bytes 51 – 52 may contain a grade and bytes 53 – 62 will be blank, as shown below.

  
48-50Numeric score
51-52Grade (Optional)
53-62Pad with spaces

If byte 47 contains ‘B’ or ‘C’ then bytes 48 – 51 will contain a numeric score, bytes 52 – 53 contain one grade as defined by the gradeset, bytes 54 – 57 will be blank, byte 58 will contain the partial absence symbol and bytes 59-62 will be blank as shown below. The partial absence symbol will appear only if a candidate has been absent for one or more units of the qualification and has been awarded a grade.

  
48-51Numeric score
52-53Grade (Optional)
54-57Pad with spaces
58First grade partial absence
59-62Undefined

3. Where a grade/result or notional grade/result is issued, an ‘X’ or ‘x’ indicates no result and a ‘Q’ or ‘q’ indicates pending result.

Forecast Grades File Format

The file should be created according to the rules for common format data outlined earlier, using the data type ‘F’ as the first character of the file name. The record length is 28 bytes including the end of line marker.

It is envisaged that each file will be from a single centre to a single awarding body and should therefore not contain more than one centre header record and one centre trailer record.

Forecast Grades Detail Record

PositionDescriptionSizeComments
1Data Type1A‘F’ for Forecast Grades
2Record Type1N‘5’ for Details record
3-7Centre Number5N
8-11Candidate Number4NRight justified with leading zeros
12-17Entry Code6ACode for which entry was made
18-19First Grade2ASee Notes 1 and 2
20-21Second Grade2ASee Notes 1 and 2
22-26Pad with spaces5A
27-28End of Line Marker2AASCII 13
ASCII 10

Notes:

First and Second Grades (Bytes 18-21)

1. These fields are two bytes in length to allow for the inclusion of A* grades. In the absence of a second character the forecast grade should be left aligned with a space to fill the second byte. Split grades to indicate borderlines are not permitted.

2. Where an awarding body requires a code to indicate that no forecast grade will be supplied for the entry code concerned, e.g. Z, O, this should be in byte 18. In the interests of harmonisation, all awarding bodies will accept ‘Z’ in EDI files irrespective of any code used on paper forms.

Coursework Marks File Format

The file should be created according to the rules for common format data outlined previously, using the data type ‘M’ as the first character of the file name. The record length is 44 bytes including the end of line marker.

Coursework Mark Detail Record

PositionDescriptionSizeComments
1Data Type1A‘M’ for Marks
2Record Type1N‘5’ for Details record
3-7Centre Number5N
8-11Candidate Number4NRight justified with leading zeros
12 - 23Component Code12AKey to Component file (see Note 1 below)
24-274AUndefined
28Mark/Grade Status1ASee Note 2 below
29-31Mark/Grade3ARight justified with leading zeros if mark.
Left justified if grade (see Note 2 below)
32-36Previous Centre Number5NSee Note 3 below
37-40Previous Candidate Number4NSee Note 3 below
41-42Previous Series2ASee Note 3 below
43-44End of Line Marker2AASCII 13
ASCII 10

Notes:

1. Component Code (Bytes 12 – 23)
This field will determine to which component the mark or grade belongs.

2. Mark/Grade Status (Byte 28)
Allowed values are:

  • ‘V’ Valid mark recorded
  • ‘Z’ Zero mark recorded
  • ‘G’ Grade recorded
  • ‘A’ Absent for this component
  • ‘M’ Missing mark or grade
  • ‘F’ Mark is being carried forward
  • ‘N’ No work available at present
  • ‘E’ Educated Elsewhere or Parent Assessed

The mark field (bytes 29 – 31) will only contain a numerical mark greater than 0 if the mark status is ‘V’ or ‘E’. If the mark is zero then the mark status must be ‘Z’. It is not acceptable to have status ‘V’ or ‘E’ with the mark ‘000’.

If the mark status is ‘G’ then bytes 29 – 31 should contain a grade. If the grade consists of a single character then this should be in position 29.

If the mark status is ‘F’ this indicates that a mark has been carried forward, and so no mark follows.

If the mark status is ‘E’ then bytes 29 – 31 should contain a mark or grade if ‘Parent Assessed’, otherwise leave blank for ‘Educated Elsewhere’.

3. Previous Centre Number, Candidate Number and Series (Bytes 32 – 36, 37 – 40 and 41 – 42)

These fields are to be completed when a candidate is carrying forward marks to show the centre and candidate number under which they were originally sent and to indicate the series from which they are to be carried forward.

Basedata File Types

Basedata refer to information required by centres and others to enable them to be made aware of the
various syllabuses, options and components that an awarding body offers. It includes information such as
syllabus and option definitions, entry codes, the dates and times of examination papers and details of the
internally assessed components for which centres need to supply marks.

Four basedata file types are defined in Part IV of this document. A fifth file may be included containing
details of disallowed combinations of subjects.

  • S Syllabus Definitions
  • O Option Definitions
  • C Component Definitions
  • L Option/Component Link File

    A syllabus may have any number of options but each option is an option for one syllabus. Each option may
    include a number of components and each component may be used by a number of syllabuses; the link file
    is used to specify the components which need to be included for each option.

    A further basedata file, Disallowed Combinations Definition, provides information about which syllabuses or
    options are forbidden with other syllabuses or options. It should be noted that only forbidden or prohibited
    combinations are shown; in some instances it may be possible for candidates to offer certain combinations
    although it may not be in their best interests to do so if a higher education course is their ultimate goal.

Syllabus Definition File

The file should be created according to the rules for common format data outlined previously, using the data type ‘S’ as the first byte of the file name. The record length is 47 bytes including the end of line marker.

Syllabus Definition Detail Record

PositionDescriptionSizeComments
1Data Type1A‘S’ for Syllabus
2Record Type1N‘5’ for Details record
3-8Syllabus Code6A
91AUndefined
10-45Syllabus Title36A
46-47End of Line Marker2AASCII 13
ASCII 10

Option Definition File

The file should be created according to the rules for common format data outlined previously, using the data type ‘O’ as the first byte of the file name. The record length is 117 bytes including the end of line marker.

Option Definition Detail Record

PositionDescriptionSizeComments
1Data Type1A‘O’ for Option
2Record Type1N‘5’ for Details record
3-8Option Entry Code6A
9-14Syllabus Code6A
15-18Exam Type: Qualification (certification)4ASee Note 1
19-21Exam Type: Level (certification)3ASee Note 2
22Exam Type Item1ASee Note 3
23-26Exam Type: Qualification (unit)4ASee Note 1
27-29Exam Type: Level (unit)3ASee Note 2
30Exam Type: Process1ASee Note 4
31-34QCA Classification Code4A
35-42QCA Accreditation Number8A
43-78Option Title36ASee Note 5
79Fee Defined1A‘Y’ or ‘N’ (if ‘N’ then next field is not defined)
80-84Examination Fee5NIn pence right justified with leading zeros
85-88First Forecast Grade Gradeset4ALeft justified with trailing spaces. See Note 6
89-92Second Forecast Grade Gradeset4ALeft justified with trailing spaces. See Note 6
93Result Type1ASee Note 7
94-97First Grade or Result Gradeset4ALeft justified with trailing spaces. See Note 8
98-101Second Grade or Result Gradeset4ALeft justified with trailing spaces. See Note 8
102-105Endorsement to first Grade or Result Gradeset4ASee Note 8
106-109Endorsement to second Grade or Result Gradeset4ASee Note 8
110-113Maximum Mark or UMS4NSee Note 9
114-115Number of Components2NThe number of components associated with this option via the link file (a safeguard)
116-117End of Line Marker2AASCII 13, ASCII 10

Notes:

1. Exam Type: Qualification (certification) (Bytes 15 – 18) will be populated where the option entry code (bytes 3 -8) is certification.

Exam Type: Qualification (unit) (Bytes 23 – 26) will be populated where the option entry code (bytes 3 -8) is a unit or module.

Exam Type: Qualification (certification) (Bytes 15 – 18) and Exam Type: Qualification (unit) (Bytes 23 – 26) will be populated where the option entry code (bytes 3 -8) is both certification and a unit or module.

2. Exam Type: Level (certification) (Bytes 19 – 21) will be populated where the option entry code (bytes 3 -8) is certification.

Exam Type: Level (unit) (Bytes 27 – 29) will be populated where the option entry code (bytes 3 -8) is a unit or module.

Exam Type: Level (certification) (Bytes 19– 21) and Exam Type: Level (unit) (Bytes 27 – 29) will be populated where the option entry code (bytes 3 -8) is both certification and a unit or module.

Lists of all Exam Type: Qualification and Level codes are available on the JCQ website, www.www.jcq.org.uk, and awarding body websites.

3. Item (Byte 22)

  • ‘U’ Unit or module
  • ‘C’ Certification
  • ‘B’ Certification and unit or module

4. Process (Byte 30)

  • ‘E’ Entry
  • ‘R’ Registration

    5. Option Title (Bytes 43 – 78)

    The option title should completely identify the option without needing to refer to the linked syllabus record to complete the title. For example, if there was a syllabus called French which had options A, B and C, the option title should be ‘French Option A’ rather than just ‘Option A’.

    6. Forecast Grade (Bytes 85 – 88 and 89 – 92)

    If a forecast grade is required for the Option entry code, these fields reference the valid set of grades available for submission. See also pages 14 and 25.

    7. Result Type (Byte 93)

    May take the following values

      Size
    '1-3'Grades, levels or points score1A
    'B'A grade and Numeric value, normally Uniform Mark or points1N
    'C'Combination - a grade and Numeric value, normally Uniform Mark or points6A
    'D'Two numeric scores to 1 decimal place‘Results Gradeset’ invalid and ‘Maximum
    Mark’ invalid
    'F'Two numeric valuesResults Gradeset’ invalid and ‘Maximum
    Mark’ invalid
    ‘M’Mark‘Results Gradeset’ invalid and ‘Maximum
    Mark’ valid
    'U'Numeric value, normally Uniform Mark or points‘Results Gradeset’
    valid (if provided)
    and ‘Maximum Mark’ valid
    ' 'BlankNo result will be issued

    8. Result Gradesets (Bytes 94 – 97, 98 – 101, 102 – 105 and 106 – 109)
    If the Result Type in byte 93 is 1, 2 or 3 then these four fields reference the valid set of grades which may be presented in the corresponding fields of the Results file (bytes 48 – 55).

    9. Maximum Mark or UMS (Bytes 110 – 113)
    If the Result Type in byte 93 is ‘B’, ‘C’, ‘M’ or ‘U’ then 110 – 113 will contain a numeric score.

Component Definition File

The file should be created according to the rules for common format data files outlined previously, using the data type ‘C’ as the first byte of the file name. The record length is 77 bytes including the end of line marker.

Component Definition Detail Record

PositionDescriptionSizeComments
1Data Type1A'C' for Component
2Record Type1N‘5’ for Details record
3-14Component Code12A
15-50Component Title36ASee Note 1
51Teacher Marks1A‘Y’, ‘N’, ‘G’ or ‘E’ (See Note 2)
52-54Maximum Mark3N
55-58Component Gradeset4ALeft justified with trailing spaces. See Note 3.
59-64Due Date6NDDMMYY
65Timetabled1A‘T’, ‘C’ or ‘N’ (See Note 4)
66-71Timetable Date6NDDMMYY
72Timetable Session1A‘A’, ‘P’, ‘E’, ‘D’ or ‘X’ (See Note 5)
73-75Time Allowed (minutes)3NSee Note 6
76-77End of Line Marker2AASCII 13
ASCII 10

Notes:

1. Component Title (Bytes 15 – 50)

It would be desirable for the component titles to match those published elsewhere, for example on the printed timetables. However, it is possible that some awarding bodies may not be able to achieve this objective fully in the short term.

2. Teacher Marks (Byte 51)
May take the following values

Copy of Component Definition Detail Record

   
'Y'Teacher marks are required.‘Maximum Mark’ and ‘Due Date’ both valid.
'N'Teacher marks not required.Maximum Mark’ and ‘Due Date’ inapplicable.
'G'Teacher submits grade.‘Maximum Mark’ is inapplicable. ‘Due Date’ is valid.
'E'Teacher submits coursework‘Maximum Mark’ is inapplicable. ‘Due Date’ is valid.

3. Component Gradeset (Bytes 55 – 58)
If Teacher Marks (byte 51) has the value ‘G’, this field references the valid set of grades available for submission, held within the Gradesets File.

4. Timetabled (Byte 65)
May take the following values

Copy of Copy of Component Definition Detail Record

  
‘T’Timetabled component. Awarding body supplies timetable information in the ‘Timetable Date’, ‘Timetable Session’ and ‘Time Allowed’ fields.
‘C’Centre-specified timetable. It is not possible for the awarding body to specify a particular date and time applicable to all centres. The ‘Timetable Date’ and ‘Timetable Session’ fields contain no information but can be edited by centres if required
‘N’Not timetabled. It is not meaningful to specify a date and time for this component. The ‘Timetable Date’, ‘Timetable Session’ and ‘Time Allowed’ fields contain no information and should be ignored.

5. Timetable Session (Byte 72)

Allowed values are

  • ‘A’ for a.m.
  • ‘P’ for p.m.
  • ‘D’ for all day
  • ‘E’ for evening
  • ‘X’ not defined

    6. Time Allowed (Bytes 73 – 75)

    This field may contain

    • ‘000’ The information is not available
    • ‘999’ There is no time limit

    Otherwise it contains the time allowed in minutes.

    Otherwise it contains the time allowed in minutes.

The file should be created according to the rules for common format data files outlined previously, using the data type ‘L’ as the first byte of the file name. The record length is 28 bytes including the end of line marker.

Option / Component Link Detail Record

PositionDescriptionSizeComments
1Data Type1A‘L’ for Link
2Record Type1N‘5’ for Details record
3-8Option Entry Code6AKey to Option File (See Note below)
9 – 20Component Code12AKey to Component File (See Note below)
21 - 26Pad with spaces6A
27-28End of Line Marker2AASCII 13, ASCII 10

Note:

The option/component link records provide the means by which the components used by each option can be recorded. The field ‘Option Entry Code’ (bytes 3 – 8) provides a link to the detail record within the option file with the same value in the field ‘Option Entry Code’. Similarly, the field ‘Component Code’ provides a link to the component file.

Disallowed Combinations Definition File

The file should be created according to the rules for common format data outlined previously, using the data type ‘D’ as the first byte of the file name. The record length is 28 bytes including the end of line marker.

The Disallowed Combinations Definition file may be included with a set of basedata files to which it will relate.

Disallowed Combinations Definition Detail Record

PositionDescriptionSizeComments
1Data Type1A'D' for Disallowed combination
2Record Type1N'5' for Details record
3-8First Option Code6AKey to Option file.
May include wildcards (see Note 1)
9-14Second Option Code6AKey to Option file.
May include wildcards (see Note 2)
15 - 20Exception Option Code6ASee Note 3 May include wildcards
21 - 26Pad with spaces6A
27 - 28End of Line Marker2AASCII 13, ASCII 10

Notes:

1. Wildcards

Options identified in the fields ‘First Option Code’, ‘Second Option Code’ and ‘Exception Option Code’ may include DOS style wildcards ‘*’ and ‘?’. For example, 1234* will include all option codes which begin 1234, 1234?0 will include all option codes which begin 1234 and have 0 in the sixth position, and 1* will include all option codes beginning with a 1.

2. Second Option Code (Bytes 9 – 14)

Combinations of codes identified by the First and Second Option Code fields are disallowed (but see Note 3 below). Codes may be identified in either order; the absence of a code from the First Option Code field does not necessarily mean that there are no disallowed combinations which include this code.

3. Exception Option Code (Bytes 15 – 20)

If an option is identified in the Exception Option Code field, then that option may be entered with any option identified in the First Option Code field. For example if the First and Second Option Code fields contain 1234* and the exception Option Code field contains 1234ZZ, then all combinations of options beginning 1234 are disallowed unless one of the options entered is 1234ZZ. If the First Option Code field contains 1234*, the Second Option Code field contains 9999* and the Exception Option Code field contains 9999A then the interpretation is that a candidate may not be entered for any option beginning 1234 with any option beginning 9999 unless that option is 9999A.

Gradesets File

The Option Definition File and Component Definition File contain fields to hold Gradeset codes. For each of these codes, the Gradesets File contains details of the valid grades available for each qualification. The valid gradesets include ‘U’ (unclassified) but do not include status codes, i.e. the Gradesets do not include ‘X’ or ‘x’ (no result), ‘Q’ or ’q’ (pending) or ‘Z’, ‘O’ or ‘X’ (no Forecast grade will be supplied). ‘X’ or ‘x’ and ‘Q’ or ‘q’ are valid within results files. The file is ordered by qualification Gradeset Type Code, by
Grade Short Code and corresponding Grade Full Title.

The Gradesets File will be posted on the Joint Council for Qualifications’ website (www.www.jcq.org.uk) with each of the awarding bodies’ websites having a link to it (see contact points on page 2). It will also be on awarding body websites. It will not be included in basedata or sent to centres. The Gradesets File will not follow the standard file naming convention but will take the form.

GRADESET.Xnn

  • X = literal ‘X’ identifies file as a common format file from an awarding body
  • nn = last two digits of the sequence number indicating the order in which the file was produced.
    PositionDescriptionSizeComments
    1 - 4Gradeset Code4ALeft justified with trailing spaces. See Note 1
    5 - 6Grade Short Code2ASee Note 2
    7 - 21Grade Full Title15ASee Note 3
    22 - 23Sequence number2NSee Note 4
    24 - 25End of Line Marker2AASCII 13
    ASCII 10

    Notes:

    1. Gradeset code (Bytes 1 – 4)

    A list of all gradesets is available on the JCQ website, www.www.jcq.org.uk, and awarding body websites.

    2. Grade Short Code (Bytes 5 – 6)

    The Grade Short Code is the short form of the grade as used in EDI files.

    3. Grade Full Title (Bytes 7 – 21)

    The Grade Full Title is the comprehensive title of the Grade Short Code, e.g. Grade Full Title ‘Pass’ for Grade Short Code ‘P’.

    4. Sequence number (Bytes 22 – 23)

    The Sequence Number gives the grades in descending order of merit.

The Link File is issued to provide details of which Units may be used towards an overall certification award. The file does not give sufficient information to calculate the exact units required since the rules of dependency and combination governing the relationship between the number of units required and when they are sat are varied and complex.

The Link File will be issued before the start of each academic year in September on each of the awarding bodies’ websites. The file may be issued with the basedata at the discretion of the awarding body and emailed to centres. The Link File will not follow the standard file naming convention but will take the form

ULINKSbb.Xyy

  • bb = AB code
  • X = Literal ‘X’ identifies file as a common format file from an awarding body
  • yy = Last two digits of the start of the academic year to which the file relates, e.g. 09 for academic year 2009-2010
PositionDescriptionSizeComments
1-6Parent Option Entry Code6ASee Note 1 below
7-12Child Option Entry Code6ASee Note 1 below
13-14End of Line Marker2AASCII 13, ASCII 10

Note:

Parent Option Entry Code (Bytes 1-6) and Child Option Entry Code (Bytes 7-12)

In general, Parent Option Entry Codes will be certification codes with the corresponding Child Option Entry Codes being Unit codes. However, there will be instances where some units contribute to other units and in these cases both the Parent and Child Entry Option Codes will relate to units.