Recommended Practices: Thin Common Cartridge District Template

Recommended Practices: Planning for, Acquiring and Verifying Thin Common Cartridge (Thin CC)

District Template 


The content below was last updated in 2018. For the most recent information regarding Common Cartridge, please see the specification's activity page.

Thin CC image Introduction to this Guide

Districts can maximize the value of purchased course materials and learning resources by taking steps to ensure that all content delivered by the publisher can be used efficiently and effectively in the school’s digital learning ecosystem. As part of the Thin Common Cartridge® (Thin CC) acquisition, explicit requirements should be considered and documented regarding
  • How the content aligns with applicable standards, 
  • How it should be organized, and 
  • How it should be searched and located by the content end-users, teachers and students.  
On receipt of the Thin CC, testing and verifying that the publisher adhered to the documented requirements is a good way to ensure end-users will be provided a productive and high-quality digital learning environment. This process can be done in three simple steps: Planning, Requirements, and Verification.  

Thin CC imagePlanning for Thin Common Cartridge Use

I.  Purpose

Use this section to describe at a high level the district’s digital ecosystem. Describe the products in use (learning platform, learning object repository, etc). 

II.  Project Information

Use this section to describe the goal of implementing Thin CCs as a part of the district’s digital learning ecosystem. An example is provided below.
The goal of implementing the solution is to:
  • Facilitate transformational, digital-age instruction that will prepare students to succeed in the 21st century
  • Facilitate teachers creating more effective, engaging instruction that can be tailored to the needs and interests of students
  • Provide students with anytime-anywhere learning
  • Provide students with the skills that complement technology
  • Facilitate the development and implementation of rigorous, aligned standards-based curriculum

A. Scope

Use this section to describe the scope of use of the Thin CC. An example is provided below.

The district requires existing and future digital educational applications to be integrated with the learning platform and be 1EdTech conformance certified.  

B. Stakeholders

Use this section to list the stakeholders who will be involved in this project. (teachers, students, and administrators)

C. Assumptions and Constraints

Use this section to explain in any important information that may not be clear to a potential vendor. Include specific district requirements such as specific grade ranges to be used, thumbnails, no duplicated links to be provided, align to ___ (fill in) standards. An example is below.

Assumption: To import LTI-enabled content resources into the learning platform, content providers must supply the LTI definitions in a Common Cartridge (CC) v1.2 package. A single package should contain less than 5000 LTI definitions.

Constraint: The learning platform currently has the following technical limitations on metatags for an individual asset. These limitations are: description, keyword, and field

  • The character limit for keywords is 200 characters*
  • The character limit for URLs is 2,000 characters*
  • Use of State Standards Academic Benchmarks GUIDS
  • *Character limits are not cumulative

D. Delivery Dates

The Vendor should provide the approximate delivery date and then update with a target date/revised target date as needed. May need several delivery dates for evaluation, piloting/testing, and final delivery for production use.

Approximate Delivery Date:

It is recommended the cartridge should be delivered at least a month before the pilot OR start of school year to allow time for any issues that may arise during testing of the cartridge.   

Thin CC imageAcquiring Thin Common Cartridges

III. Requirements Information

Use this section to define specific requirements within the Thin CC. An example is provided below.
The School District and Learning Platform Provider require all publishers to tag assets in a specific format with the asset’s source, information, type, use, content keywords, and the state standards.  
At this time, the school district does not require publishers to tag to other standard sets (such as Webb’s Depth of Knowledge, English Proficiency Standards or College and Career Readiness Standards); however, publishers may include these tags if they are able to do so.
The district may request Thin CC for a grade level to be accessed by the students in the next and prior grade levels for extension/enrichment and remediation. When doing so, the vendor needs to specify the process of modifying the learning objects. Districts may have work to do in reviewing the objects that have changed. This could impact teachers, causing them to review lessons/assignments that link to those objects.


A. High-Level Business Requirements 

Use this section to describe specific requirements in the design and delivery of the thin common cartridge. See examples below.




The publisher has to provide Asset Title that includes the source text name and a brief description of the asset.

sample image
Mandatory Requirement
Grade Level
The publisher has to provide the Grade Level for all non-high school courses and/or provide course name for all high school courses.
PHYSICS (High school  course search result )
Mandatory Requirement
Asset Type
The following Types of Assets are recommended to be available in the library search. 
  1. Quiz
  2. Lab manual  
  3. Lab
  4. Student practice
  5. Worksheet
  6. Study Guide
  7. eGame
  8. Animation
  9. Interactive
  10. Concept map
  11. Test 
  12. Webquest
  13. Video


example image

Mandatory Requirement
Intended Audience
The publisher has to tag the resource by explicitly mentioning whether the intended user is Teacher, Student or All.
sample inage
Mandatory Requirement
Keywords associated with the asset should result in a relevant and sufficient list of materials in a search. It is appropriate to use keywords from the learning standards.
Mandatory Requirement
State Standards
State standards should be correlated to the asset.
It is best practice to require the most recent adoption of state standards.
Mandatory Requirement
Lexile Level
The Lexile® Framework for Reading is a scientific approach to reading and text measurement. The Lexile text measure represents a text’s difficulty level on the Lexile scale. This would measure the reading level for a student for a particular grade level. The school district recommends having a drop-down box with the below measures to retrieve the search result for each Lexile scale. It is advised to discuss with the school district and learning platform provider to come up with a standard entry format for this before this functionality is implemented.
sample image
Optional Requirement
Fountas and Pinnell Level
This is a teaching approach designed to help teachers for guided learning to support learners at each level from A to Z+. It is advised to discuss with the school district and learning platform provider to come up with a standard entry format for this before this functionality is implemented. 
Optional Requirement
Reading Recovery level
Reading Recovery is a highly effective short-term intervention of one-to-one tutoring for low-achieving first graders. The intervention is most effective when it is available to all students who need it and is used as a supplement to good classroom teaching.
Optional Requirement
DRA Level
The Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA) is an individually administered assessment of a child’s reading capabilities. It is a tool to be used by instructors to identify a student's reading level, accuracy, fluency, and comprehension. Once levels are identified, an instructor can use this information for instructional planning purposes. 
Optional Requirement

Thin CC imageVerifying Thin Common Cartridges

IV. Verification Processes

Explain strategies for verifying an integration here. Examples are provided below.
Quick Index Check
Thin CCs which are produced by the same publisher as an adopted textbook should contain approximately the same number of metatags as the keywords and terms found in the index of the textbook. For example, if the textbox has 300 items in the index then there should be 300 discrete tags in the Thin CC.
Print and digital forms are informed by one another but the forms are not necessarily equitable. It’s important to have conversations with your Thin CC provider to understand the number of metatags associated with the cartridge provided.
Part of the verification process should include testing the functionality of links after ingestion. Be sure to test with a variety of user roles (teacher, student, etc). 
Validation of Thin CC on the 1EdTech Consortium site.
Example of 3rd Party Content Integration Flowchart:


V. Glossary

Define any unusual terms here. See 1EdTech Glossary of Terms for terms commonly used throughout 1EdTech.
A sample is provided below.
Common Cartridge®
Common Cartridge (CC) is a standard developed by 1EdTech Consortium. Common Cartridge provides a way to package and exchange learning content and assessments. Common Cartridges can contain the actual content, or links to the content via Learning Tool Interoperability links, all with metadata, and curriculum standards metadata that describes the content. Cartridges can be developed once and loaded into multiple different learning environments. Thin Common Cartridge is a subset of the full Common Cartridge that contains only links and metadata about the content. Today’s digital content comes from a variety of resources making it difficult to integrate. Common Cartridge solves this problem by providing a standard way to package learning content so that it can be exported from one system and imported into another, providing educators and students with greater choice and flexibility to share and reuse content to personalize learning.
Learning Tools Interoperability® (LTI®)
Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) is a standard developed by 1EdTech Consortium. LTI establishes a standard way of integrating rich learning applications (often remotely hosted and provided through third-party services) with platforms like learning management systems, portals, or other educational environments. LTI enables districts to securely connect their learning platforms and tools while reducing the time and significant costs associated with developing separate product integrations. LTI has several additional services and messages that can be used to extend it, including Assignment and Grade Services, Deep Linking and Class Provisioning. With LTI, institutions can maximize the effectiveness and capabilities of the teaching and learning ecosystem while saving time and money through a scalable and seamless approach to securely integrate multiple sources of digital content, learning tools, and assessment products into the digital learning environment. 
Thin Common Cartridge® (Thin CC) Thin Common Cartridge (Thin CC) is a standard developed by 1EdTech Consortium. Thin CC is a standardized way to package and exchange Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) Links, Web Links, and metadata. It is a subset of Common Cartridge. The content within a Thin CC is remotely hosted so that all that is transmitted in the Thin CC is metadata and information about how to access the content that is remotely hosted.
Single Sign-On
Provides automatic access to the content, so teachers and students don’t have to sign to multiple platforms and remember different IDs and passwords.
Links provide a URL (Uniform Resource Locator) which identifies specific page(s) on the internet where a resource can be found.