Division of Research and Program Evaluation

  • Columbus City Schools (CCS) Division of Research and Program Evaluation is committed to serving the CCS community by facilitating access to quality information and building capacity to make data-driven decisions that advance educational equity, opportunity, and achievement for all students. CCS collaborates with internal (CCS employees) and external researchers to review research projects for approval and monitor ongoing research study activities within the District. Research is one way to facilitate our community’s access to quality information. 

    It is the responsibility of our department to ensure that researchers have access to quality data and are able to responsibly interpret the results. As such, the Division of Research and Program Evaluation (DPE) reviews and approves research that works to advance the District’s Strategic Plan: The Power of One and Portrait of a Graduate.

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Introduction to Research

  • The Columbus City School District takes the position that educational research, when carefully planned and conducted, provides a promising approach to the solution of contemporary educational problems.  Consequently, the school system assumes the position of actively encouraging the conduct of meaningful research that is aimed at the advancement of education as a science or the advancement of the behavioral sciences commonly associated with the science of education.  The District also takes the position that the training of educational researchers should include practical experience in the conduct of well-planned, meaningful research in a school setting.  Thus, the District accepts the responsibility for cooperation with institutions of higher education by helping arrange internship and practicum programs for students pursuing advanced studies in education and related areas of behavioral science.

    Who May Conduct Research

    All research activities must be coordinated through Division of Research and Planning. 

    Individuals or organizations (academic, professional) completing a doctoral dissertation may submit a proposal to conduct research in CCS. Each doctoral candidate must submit written evidence that their proposed research has been approved by their University’s IRB and will be supervised by their advisor(s).

    NOTE: Data that is publicly available (such as on the CCS public website) does not need approval from DRP. In these instances, the researcher may use the data presented from these sources as long as the sources are cited and any modifications or analysis done by the researcher are clearly defined.

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Research Review Board

  • The Research Review Board (RRB) reviews, approves, and monitors all research conducted in the Columbus City Schools (CCS). If you are looking to conduct research inside CCS schools or plan on contacting anyone associated with the District (administrators, teachers, parents, students) as part of your research study or evaluation, you must submit a proposal to RRB for review and approval. 

    While it is necessary for all research submissions to have an approved/exempted IRB decision from their own institution, CCS requires that all research proposals be submitted to the RRB for review prior to CCS approval. 

    The RRB research review is not duplicative of the IRB process and aims to ensure the following:

    • The research is aligned with district priorities
    • The research follows federal and local guidelines regarding conducting research with human subjects in school settings (This includes consent forms for all research participants; assurance that student participants receive no incentives of monetary value; and participation is voluntary for all research subjects)
    • The research is not overly burdensome to classrooms and is new research that will advance the aims of the district

    Please be aware that the proposal and approval process can take several months to complete so the RRB strongly encourages researchers to plan accordingly.

    If you have any questions about the RRB or the research proposal submission process, please send an email to researchproposalccs@columbus.k12.oh.us or call (380) 997-6280.

Research Proposal Review and Approval Process

  • To begin the research review process, the researcher must submit a completed online application, the proposal, and other applicable documents to the Division of Research and Planning (DRP). Prior to completing the application, the researcher must determine if the research proposal is a new study or a previously approved study that needs to modified or updated. 

    Application Submission to Conduct Research

    Please click one of the following links to submit an online application:

    Internal (current CCS employee)

    • New Studies: Application to conduct research  
    • Continuing Studies: Application to renew or modify current research 

    External (non-CCS employee - link coming soon)

    • New Studies: Application to conduct research  
    • Continuing Studies: Application to renew or modify current research 

    Upon receipt of the completed online application and required documentation, the DRP will conduct a preliminary review of the proposal documents to determine whether or not it supports the District’s Strategic Plan: The Power of One and Portrait of a Graduate initiatives. Applications that are incomplete, or do not align to the district’s initiatives will be rejected. 

    Once the proposal is approved, the researcher is responsible for submitting a copy of the District’s authorized introduction letter to the appropriate school leaders (e.g. principal) of each school where the study is to be conducted for their approval and signature. Research can only be conducted at a given school after the school leader has affirmatively signed the research introduction letter. Initial approval by the DRP does not ensure that selected schools will be willing or able to participate. 

    The next phase of the process pertains to data collection. If your study requires administrative data (data maintained by the school district - building/school and/or student-level data), the researcher will be required to complete a data sharing agreement and submit a formal data request in the District’s data request system, Columbus City Schools Distributed Application Services (CCSDAS).

    After the study is completed, a copy of the final research report must be emailed to the RRB at researchproposal@columbus.k12.oh.us. 

    If you have additional questions concerning the RRB or the research proposal submission process, send email to researchproposalccs@columbus.k12.oh.us.

    Who May Conduct Research

    All research activities must be coordinated through Division of Research and Planning. 

    Individuals or organizations (academic, professional) completing a doctoral dissertation may submit a proposal to conduct research in CCS. Each doctoral candidate must submit written evidence that their proposed research has been approved by their University’s IRB and will be supervised by their advisor(s).

    NOTE: Data that is publicly available (such as on the CCS public website) does not need approval from DRP. In these instances, the researcher may use the data presented from these sources as long as the sources are cited and any modifications or analysis done by the researcher are clearly defined.

    1 [Application Requirements for a New Research Study]

    Researchers must complete the online application form and attach their proposal including all the required information as a PDF document.  Incomplete applications will be rejected. 

    New Studies: Application to conduct research in Columbus City Schools

    The following sections must be included in the attachment submitted with the online application and must be in the following format and order. 

    Purpose for Research. State why this research is being conducted. The research study/questions should demonstrate a connection to CCS priorities including the District’s Strategic Plan: The Power of One and Portrait of a Graduate initiatives.

    Statement of Problem. Describe both your reasons for choosing this research topic and the particular educational problem being addressed by the study.

    Review of Literature. Discuss the results of previous research which has addressed this problem and how the proposed research will contribute to knowledge in this area.  

    Statement of Hypotheses and Research Question(s). Specifically state the research hypotheses, or indicate (if hypotheses are not appropriate) the research questions and objectives of the project.

    Research Design and Procedures. Identify and define the methodology which will be used to test the hypotheses and should include: 

    • A description and justification of all statistical or other data analysis; 
    • Copies of all data collection instruments (provided in the appendix); and 
    • A detailed description of the procedures and operations to be used for data collection, this includes: 
      • the approximate anticipated amount of time subjects will spend on tasks and when the activities will occur such as during class time or outside of class time; 
      • any student or staff data that will be collected from records kept at the school; any research activities involving remote data collection (e.g., remote - by phone or online - options for questionnaires, surveys, check-ins, etc.); and
      • provisions to ensure that all research activities will involve minimal intrusions upon the administrative and instructional processes.

    Failure to submit data collection instruments and surveys, will result in non-approval.

    2 [Application Requirements for Continuing Research]

    Once the research study has been approved, any modifications to the study protocol, extensions or renewals requires submission of another application following the guidelines below.  Continuing research needs to be renewed annually. Please review the research website for any updates to policy and guidelines, additional considerations should be detailed in your cover page.

    Continuing Studies and Modifications: Application to Renew or Modify Current Research 

    The following materials need to be prepared in advance of submission: 

    • Cover page describing research activities already conducted and proposed changes to the study for the next year
    • Most recent policy brief describing interim findings
    • Updated district sponsor letter template
    • Updated IRB approval for next year of research

    Administrative Data Request

    If the application is approved and your study requires administrative data (data maintained by the school district), you will be asked to submit the District’s data sharing agreement as a formal online data request through the Distributed Application Services (CCSDAS), CCS’ data request system. Please be as specific as possible and list the data elements by line or in a table.  For example, grade 4 Ohio State Test (OST) ELA scaled scores from the Elementary school for SY 2018-2019.

    Examples of Administrative Data Request available in CCSDAS

    • Student characteristics (e.g. race, gender, grade level)
    • Behavior (e.g. days in-school suspension, days out of school suspension)
    • Attendance (e.g. days present, days absent, average daily attendance)
    • Ohio State Test (OST) and i-Ready (e.g. raw score, scaled score, performance level)
    • Course Grades (e.g. course title, final grade, GPA)

    NOTE: The requested data may not be provided if, in the judgement of DRP, the data request is too resource intensive for the district to complete. 

    3 [Protection of Human Rights:]

    Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Regulations (FERPA)

    All CCS research is governed by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Regulations (FERPA). Each researcher is responsible for providing the procedures which will be used to ensure that the rights of research participants to confidentiality and freedom from harm will be protected, including the storage of the information collected. 

    Consent Requirements 

    Consent/Assent forms must be returned from every participant or parent/guardian (if participant is under the age of 18) and kept on file by the researcher.  Consent forms must be collected for each year of primary data collection. The expressed written active consent is required for each research participant (including district staff, teachers, and or the parent/guardian of student participants who are younger than 18 years of age). No person may participate in the study without consent forms. All consent forms should be collected and stored electronically and shared with the research team once data collection has been completed.

    Consent materials need to be translated into the preferred language of all families participating. All consent forms should include the following sections:

    • Study Purpose/Program Description
    • Conditions of Participation (what will students be asked to do?)
    • Risks
    • Benefits
    • Administrative Data: (if applicable, describe the data elements that will be requested from central office records) 
    • Confidentiality/Anonymity Protections (indicate how the researcher will keep this information confidential)
    • Compensation Contact Information
    • Voluntary Participation/Conditions of withdrawal

    4 [Reporting the Results]

    The researcher is required to state the effect/impact and expected benefits of the research to education in general, and CCS, specifically. In particular, the researcher should indicate how this research will benefit the schools and improve teaching and learning. Plans for publication and dissemination of results must also be clearly stated. 

    5 [Appendices]

    All research tools must be submitted at the time of review. These materials include but are not limited to the following: 

    • Survey instruments
    • Observation protocols
    • Interview protocols
    • Focus group protocols
    • Consent forms for all research participants must be included at the time of review
    • Parent/guardian consent forms (with an indication that these materials will be translated into the families preferred language)
    • Student assent (not required, but suggested)
    • Teacher consent
    • District staff member consent (if listed as a participant)
    • References
    • Valid Research Review Board (RRB) approval/exemption notice must be included at time of review
    • For doctoral dissertations, include a letter of approval and commitment to supervision from the faculty advisor(s)