SDR Certification programme

This page includes information for the SDR Certification Programme including the certification process and the certification information pack.

No SDR certification will be undertaken for the 2021 year.

The purpose of SMS certification programme is to ensure that the Student Management System (SMS) interfaces correctly with the Ministry of Education’s system Single Data Return (SDR) and data passed to the Ministry of Education is an accurate representation of that entered.

This programme certifies:

  • that the SDR files created by the SMS comply with the requirements detailed in the SDR manual.
  • that the data in the SDR files accurately reflect the data that was entered into the SMS.

Refer to SDR page for SDR Manual and Appendices.

Frequency of Certification

Annually when there are changes introduced to the SDR for the next SDR year. It usually takes place in January and February.

Annual Certification Process

For the existing SMS Vendors, the Annual Certification would usually include SDR Certification only. NSI Certification may be needed if there are new changes being implemented to National Student Index (NSI).

SDR Certification programme is a voluntary programme.


Ministry of Education emails the test data specification and invitation for the upcoming year to all existing SMS vendors to participate in the certification programme.


SMS vendors indicate their intentions to participate in the programme.


Participating SMS vendors would supply the following materials to the Ministry of Education:

  1. Completed and signed the Self Certification Form
  2. Evidence of the changes made to the SMS (e.g. screen shots, code lists)
  3. A set of test data according to the specification provided by the Ministry.

Ministry of Education would check if the materials contain evidence of the changes implemented in SMS.

Ministry of Eductaion would also submit the test data to a test environment using the standard SDR submission process.

SMS Vendors will be notified of any errors which failed the certification and these errors are expected to be fixed.

SMS Vendors who have successfully completed the certification, will have their details updated in STEO CMS website under Applications.


STEO (Services for Tertiary Education Organisations) website is updated.

Official certification letters are sent out to the certified SMS vendors either by email.

Self Certification for SDR 2018 InfoPack

If you have any queries regarding the SMS Certification Programme or have any problems downloading the above documents, please contact us at