Preparing and submitting the Single Data Return (SDR) throughout the year can be a tricky business, but it is a critical compliance task required by TEC to manage funding and performance measurement.
When you submit your five SDR files the STEO mechanism validates the data, and where a problem is discovered an “error” or “warning” record is created by the system. An error prevents you submitting your SDR; it has to be fixed. A warning does not prevent you submitting the SDR, and many warnings may be quite irrelevant to you. Some warnings do however require your attention.
Almost inevitably you will have validation errors and warnings when you run your first validation for a given SDR return. Here are a few points to be aware of.
· The STEO validation mechanism can come up with some scary numbers: for example 5,000 errors relating to a particular funding classification. This is seldom as bad as it looks. You can probably fix it by making a change to a single record in your student management system (SMS). So don’t panic!
· The STEO validation mechanism processes each validation test in a specific sequence. You may start with 15 different error types, all of which you fix only then to find that another 5 error types have popped up. That is because the test for those 5 errors can only be performed once one or two of the 15 errors have been resolved. This is frustrating but logical.
· Many errors relate to discrepancies between the data in your SMS and the National Student Index. If you use the NSI Change Notification tool throughout the year, these errors won’t occur. Your SMS may even do this for you.
· Many errors also relate to conflicts between citizenship and residency data, and a number of fields in the course enrolment file: Assistance, Funding, Attendance, etc.
Sadly the information provided by the STEO web site to explain why an error or warning occurs is far from friendly. How about this, for example: “RESIDENCY or AUS_RESIDENCY is Y or CITIZEN is NZL or AUS and ATTEND is 1 or 2 and ASSIST is not 00”.
And this is where I can help you by providing a summary of your errors with a more friendly explanation of the problem and how to fix it.
I can train staff on how to manage the SDR, and I can also step in to help if you have a staff member unavailable for the and SDR round.