Make the PEIMS process easier by using the XML Validation Tool

Make the PEIMS process easier by using the XML Validation Tool

May 9 | PEIMS & Data Management

Have you ever waited for hours to process your PEIMS file through TSDS only to find that you have errors you need to research and work through? Then, to make matters worse, you have to do the same long process again just to see if you corrected the error? If so, The XML Validation Tool is going to make your PEIMS submission process much easier by removing the wait time in order to see the status of your Interchange files. The XML Validation Tool is the perfect way to quickly see some of the errors you will receive in TSDS without having to wait and press the refresh button over and over again!

What is the XML Validation Tool?

The TSDS Client-side Validation Tool allows you to validate your PEIMS XML interchange files quickly and will alert you regarding any data issues that need to be resolved. The XML Validation tool is a free tool that can be downloaded directly to your desktop, which means that there is no need to login to TSDS to start verifying your PEIMS data. You can start running your interchanges through this tool, for any submission, at any point in the year to get a jump start on identify errors earlier in preparation for your PEIMS submissions. As soon as your Student Information Software allows you to pull your PEIMS interchanges, the Validation tool will allow you to process them. You can find more information regarding the XML Validation Tool here.

Where can I find the XML Validation Tool?

The XML Validation tool can be downloaded from the TSDS website. You will need to login to your TSDS portal and go to the Utilities Tab to access the Download Validation Tool link.  If you do not have system administrator access ability to download on your work computer, you will need to contact your ITS department for assistance. There is an additional link titled “Download Validation Tool Instructions” that is an illustrated step by step guide through the download process, or you can follow the steps below.

  1. Click on Download Validation Tool
  2. Click Run when the download dialog box opens
  3. Once the Setup Wizard appears, click Next
  4. If you do not want the tool to download where the Setup Wizard indicates, click Browse and select a different location. Click Next
  5. If you would like a start menu folder, leave as is. If you do not wish to have a start menu folder, clear the box for Create a Start Menu. Click Next
  6. If you would like a desktop icon, leave as is. If you do not wish to have a desktop icon, clear the box Create a desktop icon. Click Next
  7. When the download process is complete- Click Finish

The XML Validator Tool will automatically check for updates whenever it is launched, and it will inform you if a new version is available. You always want to ensure you are using the newest version to catch any new edits or validations that TEA will be running on your PEIMS data.

How do I use the XML Validation Tool?

  1. Download the XML Validation Tool to your desktop.
  2. Create your PEIMS interchange files from your Student Information System (and/or business system if you are using different vendors).
  3. Open your Conversion and Validation Tool
  4. Go to File-Validation Tool
  5. Select the correct School Year and Collection from the dropdown menus
  6. Click Browse and upload your interchanges
  7. Click the Process Files button

Once the files have been processed the status on each interchange will change to either Passed or Failed. If the file Passed, no additional attention is needed. If the file Failed, you will need to investigate the issue and make the necessary updates to your data.

How do I know what errors need to be resolved?

For any files that failed, you will need to click on the file name and then click the Details button on the bottom to view the errors. You can then hover over the message on the screen to see an individual error, or you can choose to Print or Export all errors by clicking on these options at the bottom of your screen. Any errors listed will need to be fixed before your PEIMS file can be successfully processed in TSDS.

The good news is that the XML Validation Tool gives you a line item number so that you can look at your Interchange to determine what code may be missing, or what student this error may be referring to.

If you have ever tried to just open one of your XML Interchanges, you will know that they are very difficult to read. It is recommended that you download an XML editor to view these interchanges in a friendlier manner. You can then open your original interchange that failed in the XML validation process with your XML editor, go to the line containing the issue and see what data elements need to be updated.

It is not recommended that you manipulate the XML yourself! You will need to go back to your Student Information System and make the necessary changes. If you would like recommendations on XML editors or need help deciphering an error message you are receiving, please reach out to CSS PEIMS Director, Laura Jandle,  for additional support.

What types of errors is the XML Validation Tool looking for and where should I fix them?

Errors identified by the XML Validation Tool must be updated in your Student Information System (or Business system). Once you have updated the data, you will need to build new interchanges and run those through the XML Validation Tool once again to ensure the issue no longer exists. The XML Validation Tool is looking for data quality errors. This process will ensure that the structure of your files is correct verifying that you are not missing any necessary data elements and that there are no errors in the field specifications or formatting of your interchanges. This tool will also be checking your data against PEIMS business rules and will be looking for referential integrity. When using this tool, you will ensure that you have eliminated any errors that may have been caused by formatting issues or invalid coding.

Once all of your files pass through the XML Validation Tool, you can feel confident that you have a good set of interchanges that you can process through TSDS.

The XML Validation Tool will not catch all of the fatal errors you may receive, but it will get you much closer to a fatal free submission. Using this tool will ensure that you make it through the file manager stage with no red X’s, it will help catch some of the batch errors you may encounter and will clear up some of your fatals!

Why should you use the XML Validation Tool on your PEIMS data?

The XML Validation Tool is a quick and easy way to see your PEIMS data in its true form. Using this tool allows you to work through any data issues, and it also alerts you ahead of time if your Student Information System needs to update any file structures or naming conventions for their interchange files.  You do not want to waste valuable time running your files through TSDS when you could be creating new processes and procedures for your district to collect the new data elements required for next year submissions. Let the XML Validation tool alert you to any errors in minutes rather than hours. You will not regret incorporating the XML Validation tool into your PEIMS process!

Need some assistance?

Contact Charter School Success PEIMS Director, Laura Jandle.