APS Ltd.: Alan Paull Services


About us

Information management

Process re-design

Communicate and Explore




Classification Systems

Subject classification

Subject classification in education has a number of uses, from mandatory HESA returns, to how students might find courses they are interested in and internal decisions about which courses are run and where they sit. But what counts as a subject term rather than a course title? What structure (if any) should a coding system have and how many terms should be in it? For internal classification systems this may be broken down into school, faculty or department, but for systems that are used across organisations this is not so straightforward. Once a subject classification system is in place (and often even when it has been there for some time) it can still be very difficult to determine where a course fits, and without accurate classification, it is very difficult to make judgements using the data.

Our expertise

Early in his career, Alan assisted in the development of the forerunners of the current JACS Higher Education subject classification system. When he worked for ECCTIS 2000, Alan was part of the team that designed and built the Superclass system that later on became LDCS, the official UK education and training subject classification system. APS produced part of the major update of LDCS that was published in 2006. We also assisted various organisations with the development of the Sector Subject Area coding system, used extensively in UK education and training reporting, and its mapping to other systems such as LDCS and JACS. Most recently we are involved, in conjunction with Cetis, in the creation of the new subject coding system which will replace JACS3. The team carried out extensive consultation across Higher Education users of JACS3 and subject experts to create accurate, relevant and easily understandable terms for its users. We have used open data technologies and engineering principles to enable the creation of a stable, responsive and high quality coding system that is expected to fulfill the exacting requirements of HE providers, sector bodies and other interested parties.

We've worked on major projects with: