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KIS record 2014/15

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KIS record 2014/15

Validation overview and validation kit software

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Version 1.0 Produced 2014-02-14

Validation overview

HESA has developed extensive quality assurance procedures and runs a range of validation checks against all submissions. The nature of some of these checks changes with the move to XML. This document describes the validation checks and the stages at which they take place.

XML files must be encoded with UTF-8 if they contain characters beyond the standard ASCII character set. Providers are advised to specify the encoding used in their XML files (i.e. <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>) and to ensure that their files are actually saved with that encoding. Files with an explicit encoding declaration other than UTF-8 will be rejected. Files with undeclared encoding will be assumed to be UTF-8. If encoding is not specified or does not match the actual file encoding, providers are warned that there is a risk that data contained in the files may be changed on submission to HESA.

The stages of validation are listed below and explained further in the subsequent text;

Validation checkStage
UKPRN validation at INSERTINSERT-stage
Schema level checksINSERT-stage (included in validation kit)
Business rulesINSERT-stage (included in validation kit)
Across collection comparisonsCOMMIT-stage
Aggregation in the Unistats datasetUNISTATS-stage

INSERT-stage validation

Validation kit checks

HESA provide downloadable validation kits to assist providers in the preparation of their data. The validation kits provide some basic structural and 'sense' checks prior to data submission with the aim of reducing the number of errors encountered when submitting data to the live system. With the change in structure for the student data, a new type of the student validation kit is required.

The validation kit will perform two different types of checks:

Schema checks

Checks that the XML is 'well formed' and that it conforms to the rules of the schema definition (the XSD files)


  • Every element in the file must have the correct opening and closing tags
  • Elements must be correctly nested
  • Elements must contain the correct type of data (strings, dates, valid entries etc.)
  • Elements that include characters with special meaning in XML (such as greater than, & ampersand, ' apostrophe and " quotation mark) must be replaced with the appropriate entity reference. Further information is available at:
  • Elements must be submitted in the sequence defined in the XSD.

Business rules

A set of rules to check the business logic of the submission.


  • Consistency between pairs or groups of elements
  • Elements that are compulsory under certain circumstances
  • Range checks.

Business rules can only be carried out when all structural errors (schema checks) have been resolved. The individual business rules are listed in the specification document for each element.

Business rules can be switched off when running data through the validation kit, both locally and at HESA. Schema checks can never be switched off.

COMMIT-stage validation

A further stage of validation will continue to run as a part of the COMMIT transaction in the data collection system. COMMIT validation includes checks that require comparison with data across an entire return.

The Commit-stage validation checks will be listed in a separate document, available in the March release of the coding manual.

UNISTATS-stage validation

Following the submission of a KIS file which has successfully passed INSERT and COMMIT stage validation further checks are applied to confirm the level of aggregation in the UNISTATS dataset.

The UNISTATS-stage validation checks will be listed in a separate document, available in the March release of the coding manual.

Validation kit software

A validation kit incorporating the validation rules 'rolled-on' from KIS 2013/14 is avaialble from the February 2014 release of the coding manual. This kit will be updated to incorporate new or amended rules for KIS 2014/15 and is scheduled for release in March 2014.

The validation kit is available for download as an MSI installation file. To install the software you simply need to run the MSI file on a Windows PC. If you do not have access to a Windows PC, please contact Institutional Liaison ([email protected]) for further instructions.

When the validation program is opened it automatically checks the HESA web server for the latest set of rules and updates the package if appropriate.

A quick start guide is included in the application.

The kit utilises the Microsoft .NET framework. This is likely to already be installed on many computers as it is required by much of Microsoft's own software. You can download the .Net framework from Microsoft's website.

If you have any queries with regard to the validation kit then please contact Institutional Liaison.

Contact Liaison by email or on +44 (0)1242 388 531.