Requiring Ed-Fi Certification in State RFPs



The Ed-Fi Alliance strongly recommends that whenever possible state Requests for Proposals (RFPs) require applicable Ed-Fi Certifications for state-purchased or state-subsidized systems. This document provides both guidance on the process for aligning the state and requirements to considering adding to RFPs, including sample RFP language.

Generally student information systems (SIS) are already responsible for state data submissions via their LEA contracts, so this guidance is applicable mostly to states in their work with assessment, HR, finance and other non-SIS providers.

Work Cross-Organizationally on Data Interoperability

The state education agency (SEA) will have multiple business units each with its own programmatic responsibilities, including its own data collection and data reporting responsibilities. State staff from one department will often need to educate and get the buy-in of those in other departments to get requirements into RFP language.

For example, where the SEA IT department is often positioned to work with SIS systems, most state contracts with assessment providers originate in and are owned by the curriculum or school programs business unit. The same is true for special education, human resources systems and the like. Helping these other units understand the importance of vendor requirements will be critical to helping modernize the state's data ecosystem.

Make Access Apply to Both SEA and LEAs When Possible

By putting requirements for Ed-Fi interoperability into RFPs, states can often solve their interoperability challenges and modernize data flows. But states are often positioned to bring these same benefits to their LEAs, and – whenever possible – states should include RFP language that also allows LEAs access to the data.

Below is sample language to illustrate.

The vendor must provide the data for each individual LEA within the state to that LEA via Ed-Fi API. The vendor must ensure that the flow of data via API is properly scoped for each LEA, i.e., that an LEA does not receive data for students not in that LEA, and must work to resolve successfully cases where the same student data may apply to more than one LEA (e.g., cases where a student is enrolled in multiple LEAs who each have a right to see the data).

Ask for a Current Certification

We recommend you call out the latest Ed-Fi Assessment Certification for any vendor awarded the contract.

The selected vendor must either be currently certified in accordance with the ED-FI CERTIFICATION NAME + VERSION Certification found URL HERE or attain certification within 3 months of the RFP being awarded. The selected vendor must also maintain a current Ed-Fi Certification for the duration of the contract.

Ask for Vendor Implementation Details 

We recommend that RFPs gather data on the proposed systems architecture to assist in the evaluation process and to be able to vet that the support required will be delivered during the contract period. The following language may help:

    • Vendors must describe the system architecture degree of "openness" and adherence to industry standard hardware, software, security and communications protocols.
    • Vendors must describe the hosting environment options.
    • Vendors must describe how components of the proposed architecture will remain current and supported to avoid becoming obsolete.
    • Vendors must provide an overview of how major hardware and software components are layered and used within the architecture.
    • Vendors must identify and describe the primary underlying development programming language(s), integrated development environment (IDE), and component server environment used to produce tailored or customized components of the proposed solution.
    • The Vendors’ system must have the ability to integrate or interface with an Ed-Fi REST API. In addition, Contractor should list any integration with other common systems. Contractor must commit to supporting native integration via the State Standard, which are the State’s extensions to the Ed-Fi REST API. Updates to State Specifications will be published for every year. Contractor must commit to continuing to support annual updates to State Specifications.   

Consult the Ed-Fi Alliance with any Questions

The Ed-Fi Alliance staff is here to help answer questions or with additional guidance. Use the contact form at to get in touch.