PEN Data Entry Questions and Answers

PEN is a large database containing over 3 million records for Public, Independent, Offshore, Federally Funded Band Schools, StrongStart Centres and Public Post-Secondary Institutions.

PEN is connected to school administration systems such as MyEducation BC.

Bad data quality for students transferring between schools can result in inadvertently assigning two PENs, resulting in exam results being attached to the wrong PEN causing delayed graduation and confusion for the student. Students can be denied access to Post-Secondary Institutions until their names are corrected on their transcripts, as well as, the extra printing costs and postage to correct Dogwoods and transcripts that are produced with incorrect names.

It also makes the 1701 Data Collection more efficient when records don’t need to be reviewed for differences.

The student’s original PEN record begins with the first time the student is registered by any school. This could be by a StrongStart Centre, Elementary School or even a student entering a Public Post-Secondary Institution that never attended a B.C. K-12 school.

The only way a student record can be corrected in the PEN system, is by forwarding acceptable legal documentation to the Ministry PEN Office. Correcting it in the school’s database system (MyEducation BC for example) does not automatically update the ministry record in PEN.

Often a birth date is entered from the date of registration on the birth certificate, not the actual birth date of the student. See illustration below.

Sample Vital Stats

To expedite the process often administrators will register a student in the system from the registration form filled out by the parent. The parent does not always enter the child’s name as it legally appears on the birth certificate, which causes errors that need to be corrected down the road. 75% of the errors the ministry is correcting right now are Kindergarten students.

Only register the student into your school administration system using acceptable legal documentation.

MyEducation BC users; If you are on MyEducation BC do a restricted query to ensure the student is not already in MyEducation BC. Students may be in MyEducation BC from previous years and the record maybe inactive. Do not assume that the student has never been entered into MyEducation BC. Kindergarten students may have attended a StrongStart Centre. Pages 15, 16 and 17 of the MyEducation BC Standards Manual will be of further assistance.

Yes, you can run your 1701 extract through PEN Web any time during the year to see if there are any differences between school and ministry data.

The PEN team is always willing to assist with any questions you may have, please email