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Chapter 1
Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS)

At the heart of Texas' student accountability system is a wealth of information gathered from school districts and stored in a massive database maintained by the Texas Education Agency (TEA). The Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) was created in 1983 and state statute requires PEIMS to provide information on "student demographics, academic performance, personnel and school finances." PEIMS also provides data on districts' organizational structure.

The Policy Committee on Public Education Information (PCPEI) recommended the final version of data collected by PEIMS at its March 18, 1996 meeting, and it was subsequently adopted by TEA. There is, however, no statutory or rule definition of PEIMS.

The closest description of PEIMS in the Education Code requires school districts to use a "uniform accounting system" adopted by the Commissioner of Education for the data required to be reported through the Public Education Information Management System. 1

TEA's Web site states that PEIMS is classified into two broad categories:

  • Data collected through the PEIMS electronic collection method; and
  • Any other collections, calculations and analyses of data used to evaluate, monitor or audit public education. 2

The PEIMS electronic data collection system uses:

  • Data Standards, which are a set of definitions, codes, formats, procedures and dates;
  • standard edit procedures;
  • an established database design;
  • a production system for formatting and loading data into TEA's enterprise database; and
  • written documentation describing the numeric and alphanumeric values stored in the database.

Currently, the major categories of information collected are:

  • organizational data;
  • budget data;
  • financial data;
  • staff data;
  • student demographic, program participation and prior school leaver data or information on students who have left school; and
  • student attendance, course completion and discipline data.

State Board of Education (SBOE) Responsibilities

The Texas Education Code requires the SBOE to adopt rules to evaluate the performance of school districts and assign performance ratings to each district. While the academic excellence indicators must comprise the primary basis of a district's performance rating, the board has the discretion to adopt additional criteria that could include a district's compliance with PEIMS reporting requirements. 3 According to TEA, the SBOE rule-making language in §TEC 39.072 contradicts all other accountability authority granted the Commissioner in the remainder of Chapter 39, and the Commissioner defines all aspects of the accountability system within the limits prescribed by law.

The SBOE is responsible for adopting rules and policies for school districts on technology, budgets and audits of school district fiscal accounts. 4 SBOE does not, however, appear to have any express oversight authority over PEIMS.

Commissioner of Education Responsibilities

The Education Code requires the Commissioner of Education to develop rules for PEIMS. The Commissioner must annually review PEIMS and repeal or amend any rules that require school districts to provide information through PEIMS that is not necessary. 5 However, no substantial regulations exist for PEIMS; PEIMS Data Standards have not been incorporated by reference as a Commissioner rule.

The Commissioner of Education has statutory responsibility for adopting a uniform accounting system for school districts when reporting data for PEIMS. 6 The Commissioner also is required to establish advisory guidelines for school districts' fiscal management and has established such guidelines in TEA's Financial Accountability System Resource Guide. 7

The Commissioner is required to review school district audit reports. The audit reports should include an audit of the accuracy of the fiscal information provided by the district through PEIMS. 8 The Commissioner must notify the school district's Board of Trustees of objections, violations of sound accounting practices or law and regulation requirements, or of recommendations concerning the audit reports. 9

The Commissioner has explicit statutory responsibility for defining accountability system criteria and standards. In both the 1999 and 2000 rating cycles, provisions were made to permit district and campus ratings to be impacted by data reporting errors. In 1999, TEA assigned four districts the Unacceptable: Data Quality rating and some of their campuses a rating of Acceptable: Data Issues. In 2000, there was an allowance for suspended ratings pending data quality investigations, but those ratings did not need to be invoked. Criteria for investigation is published in the agency's annual Accountability Manual, a portion of which is adopted by reference as a commissioner's rule.

The Commissioner must also design an appraisal system for principals based in part on the types of information available through PEIMS. Principals who are high-performing may receive performance incentives for their schools of up to $5,000, as awarded by the commissioner. 10 However, accuracy of data reporting is not a required factor in administrators' appraisals.

Texas Education Agency (TEA) Responsibilities

Under the Texas Education Code, TEA is required to review school district budgets and fiscal reports and prescribe forms for financial reports submitted by school districts to TEA. 11 Under the Education Code, TEA also is required to establish and maintain "an electronic information transfer system." 12 The system must be capable of "transmitting information among school districts, regional education service centers and other education-related entities and state agencies." TEA is also required to provide the State Board of Educator Certification access to data obtained under PEIMS. 13

TEA must collect grade-level retention data from school districts through PEIMS. 14 The Education Code requires TEA to review PEIMS data annually to identify those school districts with excessive administrative costs. If a school district fails to reduce its administrative costs, the Commissioner can reduce the district's financial allotment from the state. 15

Regional Educational Service Center (RESC) Responsibilities

The Education Code requires RESCs to provide "services that enable school districts to operate more efficiently and economically." RESCs are also charged with helping school districts comply with state laws and rules. The assistance can include training, but there is no express requirement for RESCs to assist districts with PEIMS reporting. 16

Pursuant to the PEIMS Data Standards, RESCs are responsible for 1) educating and training districts on data collection and submission requirements; 2) scheduling the districts' data submissions to RESCs so they can meet deadlines for submitting data to TEA; 3) editing the PEIMS data using edit rules supplied by TEA and correcting errors; 4) obtaining superintendent approval of the edits; 5) sending the PEIMS data to TEA in the format specified in the Data Standards, by the specified due dates for each submission; and 6) notifying each district when RESCs accept district data.

School District Responsibilities

The Education Code requires each school district to participate in PEIMS. 17 School district data submission responsibilities have changed recently with the implementation of PEIMS Edit+. Using this new internet-accessible technology, districts can now run edits on their data, correct it locally and check on-line to determine the status of their data.Commissioner rules require each school district to report financial information annually to TEA through PEIMS on how they spend the state compensatory education allotment under the Foundation School Program. SBOE regulations apparently do not contain any other express responsibilities for districts to report PEIMS data accurately. 18

The Education Code requires each school district's Board of Trustees to have the district's fiscal accounts audited annually by an independent certified public accountant. The board must file the audit report with TEA. 19 The audit must meet the minimum requirements and be in the format prescribed by the SBOE. The audit also must include an audit of the accuracy of the fiscal information provided by the district through PEIMS. The audit report is due to TEA no later than 120 days after the close of the fiscal year. 20

PEIMS Data Uses

TEA uses PEIMS data on student attendance and student transfers to help the agency administer the wealth-equalization provisions of Chapter 42 of the Education Code and distribute Foundation School Program funding. 21 TEA staff use PEIMS data to monitor all special program areas including: bilingual education, special education, disciplinary, gifted and talented, career and technology, pregnancy-related services and Title I programs. 22 TEA staff also provide PEIMS data to the Communities in Schools (CIS) State Coordinator to help evaluate the CIS program's impact on reducing or preventing school dropouts. 23 PEIMS data is also used in the creation and distribution of numerous agency systems such as AEIS reports, Snapshot, School Report Card, Dropout Rates, Graduation Rates and the like.

The accountability rating of a school is based on its academic excellence indicators. TEA regulations provide that additional accreditation criteria can include compliance with statutory requirements, SBOE rules and data reported through PEIMS. 24 Under the Foundation School Program, school funding for optional extended year programs is determined from the most recent data from PEIMS. 25 PEIMS data on school district staff is used to determine additional state aid for professional staff salaries under the Foundation School program. 26

Districts report PEIMS data on teachers holding permits at various levels and subject areas. 27 PEIMS data on average daily attendance (ADA) are also used to determine new instructional facility allotment funding under Code §42.158. 28

Districts Required to Participate in PEIMS

The Education Code requires each school district to participate in the Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS). 29 TEA's PEIMS Data Standards handbook also states that all school districts must submit PEIMS data. 30

Home-rule school districts 31, charter school campuses or programs 32 and open enrollment charter schools 33 are all subject to requirements relating to PEIMS and must describe the manner in which the district or program will provide information necessary for the district to participate in PEIMS. 34

School districts must report the number of students enrolled in the district and the students corresponding attendance. These data are part of the calculation used to determine the amount of tuition a district must pay to an open enrollment charter school for students who reside in the district but are attending the open enrollment charter school. 35 TEA also collects data from school districts which facilitates the calculation of grade level retention of students. 36 The cost of using school buses for a purpose other than the transportation of students to or from school must be identified in PEIMS. 37

PEIMS Data Standards

TEA has published on its Web site detailed PEIMS Data Standards, which provide districts instructions on submitting PEIMS data to the Texas Education Agency. 38 TEA's PEIMS Data Standards handbook for 1999-2000 contains the following sections:

Section 1 Data Submission Responsibilities and Specifications
Section 2 Data Submission Requirements
Section 3 Description Of Data Elements
Section 4 Description Of Codes
Section 5 Edits
Appendix A A discussion, by category, of the data to be collected
Appendix B Provides each category of data, along with record types, data elements and code tables, presented in matrix form
Appendix C Includes a listing of the data elements in numerical order.
Source: TEA's PEIMS Data Standards handbook for 1999-2000

TEA responsibilities in PEIMS data collection and management include: 1) explaining the overall data requirements to RESC personnel and helping them understand the data requirements; 2) notifying the RESCs when district data are received; 3) editing the data using specific edit software programs; and 4) providing RESCs, education software vendors and school districts a standard editing system, which also produces the districts' summary report.

To facilitate the accuracy and timely delivery of PEIMS data, the RESC must explain the overall data collection requirement to school district personnel and train them to adequately meet the data submission requirements. The RESC instruction should cover: overall data flow; delivery schedule; data element definitions; data submission formats; editing requirements; correction cycle; approval of the summary report and error listing; and operation of the personal computer version of the edit system.

The RESC also plays a consulting role, provides media conversion and assists school districts to assemble the files for submission. When the district submits its data files on media other than that required, the RESC is responsible for the conversion.

To help school districts prepare their data and to ensure compliance with the schedules, the RESC will designate a contact person and alternate who coordinate RESC assistance by answering questions about the data standards; organizing the data delivery schedule; answering questions about the edit and summary reports; organizing the error correction schedule; and providing copies of the edit program to districts.

Technical support for gathering the PEIMS data from district databases is supplied by one of the 20 RESCs or by private vendors. RESCs and TEA use a software system of standard edits to improve the quality of PEIMS data. 39

Deadlines for PEIMS Data Submission

There are basically four PEIMS data submissions annually to TEA. For example, for the 1999-2000 school year, school districts were responsible for submitting PEIMS data to the RESCs in time for the RESCs to review the data and forward it to TEA to meet the following deadlines:

Submission 1 - Data should represent the state of the district (a "snapshot" of the district) as of the last Friday in October, which was October 29, 1999. Although October 29 may not be a day of instruction, the district still reports all students served and staff employed on October 29. Submission 1 was due to TEA on December 9, 1999. The resubmission deadline was January 20, 2000.

Submission 2 - This is a report of actual financial data for the prior year, which was due to TEA on February 3, 2000. The resubmission deadline was March 2, 2000.

Submission 3 -- This submission is comprised of data on year-long student attendance, high school course completions and disciplinary actions. Submission 3 was due to TEA on June 22, 2000, with a resubmission deadline of July 27, 2000.

Submission 4 -- The final submission is a report of extended services student data for the 1999-2000 school year, which was due to TEA on September 22, 2000. The resubmission deadline for Submission 4 was October 20, 2000.

The district is responsible for delivering the data to TEA on the specified due dates. Delivery to the RESC does not satisfy the submission requirements. RESCs notify school districts when TEA receives their data. In arranging for transfers of the data to the RESCs, districts must recognize that the RESCs require time to process the data. Consequently, districts must follow the RESCs' schedules so the RESCs can submit the data to TEA on time. 40

Districts can request an extension of up to 30 days for unusual circumstances, but the extension must be in writing and submitted to TEA at least 30 days in advance of the due date. Districts can resubmit the data one time by a deadline established by TEA (typically 30-45 days after the original submission date).

Formats for PEIMS Data Submissions

TEA's Data Standards handbook contains the agency's specifications for formatting PEIMS submission tapes and diskettes. Failure to adhere to these standards can delay processing the data or cause the data to be returned. The RESC must check each tape and diskette to make sure it meets these requirements before the data are sent to the agency.

TEA's PEIMS specifications are detailed and complex. Records must be in RECORD-TYPE-CODE order within each district. There are instructions for Reel and Cartridge Magnetic Tapes; 4mm DAT Magnetic Tapes; Personal Computer Diskettes; Data Transmittal Sheets; Partial data resubmissions; and Record Resubmission Sheets.

PEIMS reporting requirements should be thought of as rules for submitting a set of data files, rather than the requirements for filing a report. Data extracted from the school district database, whether automated or not, must be formatted according to specific record layouts, which are the same for paper, tape or diskette data. Every school district uses the same record layout to submit data, regardless of the degree of sophistication of its data processing facility. The school district's data files will be edited at the RESC and, subsequently, at TEA by a standard editing process provided by the agency.

A record layout format is specified for reporting data in each category. These layouts are mandatory both for school districts submitting data to education service centers and for RESCs submitting data to TEA.

Section 2 of TEA's PEIMS Data Standards handbook outlines the data submission requirements. In addition to data file layouts, Section 2 provides a chart to show the relationship of data submission files to record types for each record type, both for school districts' submission of data to the RESCs and the RESCs' submission of data to the agency. The handbook also describes information related to each record type, data input forms that specify the format for each record type and data file examples showing how to code the record layouts for each category of data. Depending on their size and circumstances, districts may not submit each possible record type; they submit the ones appropriate to report their situation for a given year.

There are five "record types" for school districts' organizational data:

  • District - Record Code 010
  • Shared Services Arrangement - Record Code 011
  • Campus - Record Code 020
  • Title I Campus Counts - Record Code 022
  • Gifted / Talented Program - Record Code 024

There are three finance data record types:

  • Budget - Record Code 030
  • Actual - Record Code 032
  • Shared Services Arrangement Actual - Record Code 033

The staff data submission files contain nine record types:

  • Basic Information Input - Record Code 040
  • Demographic - Record Code 043
  • ID Number Change - Record Code 045
  • Employment, Payroll Summary - Record Code 050
  • Contracted Instructional Staff - Record Code 055
  • Employment, Payroll Accounting - Record Code 060
  • Permit Input - Record Code 080
  • Permit Area - Record Code 081
  • Responsibility - Record Code 090

There are 16 record types for student data:

  • Identification - Record Code 100
  • Demographic - Record Code 101
  • ID Number Change - Record Code 105
  • Enrollment - Record Code 110
  • Special Education Program - Record Code 163
  • Career and Technology Program - Record Code 169
  • Career and Technology Course - Record Code 170
  • School Leaver - Record Code 203
  • Basic Attendance - Record Code 400
  • Special Education Attendance - Record Code 405
  • Optional Extended Year Program - Record Code 407
  • Extended Year Services - Record Code 408
  • Vocational Attendance - Record Code 410
  • Course Completion - Record Code 415
  • Disciplinary Action - Record Code 425
  • Title I, Part A Program - Record Code 461

PEIMS Data Edits

When loading the database, TEA performs three categories of edits. The first type of edit is for fatal errors. A fatal error is a data integrity edit that checks to make sure that the right codes are used in the submission, to ensure that mandatory reporting requirements are met, and to check that value ranges are not exceeded. Any fatal errors found will result in returning the file to the RESC for correction. The second type of edit is the special warning error, which checks for possible discrepancies in data that should be carefully scrutinized. In some rare cases, these errors may be correct, therefore they must be carefully reviewed. Warning errors are the third type of edit. A warning simply means that there is a possibility of error and the information should be rechecked.

TEA sends copies of the edit program automatically to the RESCs, and school districts may request copies from the RESCs. Vendors must contact the San Antonio RESC to obtain a copy of the edit program. Specifications for the system, the edit program codes and the edit-rule files are the essential parts of the delivered package.

School districts now access the edit program directly, using the PEIMS Edit+ collection system available to districts through the Internet. Vendors can be authorized to access Edit+ through the Internet as well. Specifications for the system (i.e. PEIMS Data Standards), the edit program codes and the edit-rule files are the essential parts of the delivered package, and are available publicly through the agency's web site.

As mentioned above, school districts must have their fiscal accounts audited annually by certified public accountants. The audit must include an audit of the accuracy of the fiscal information provided by the district through PEIMS. 41 A copy of the annual audit report must be filed with TEA.