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 (DRPE) reviews and approves research that works to advance the District’s Strategic Plan: The Power of One and Portrait of a Graduate.
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 meaningful research that is aimed at the advancement of education as a science.
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 through practicum programs for students pursuing advanced studies in education and related areas of behavioral science.
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Regulations (FERPA)
All CCS research is governed by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Regulations (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.
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/Assent forms must be returned from every participant or parent/guardian (if the 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. Written 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 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?)
- Administrative Data: (if applicable, describe the data elements that will be requested)
- Confidentiality/Anonymity Protections (indicate how the researcher will keep this information confidential)
- Compensation Contact Information
- Voluntary Participation/Conditions of withdrawal
Who May Conduct Research
All research activities must be coordinated through the Division of Research and Program Evaluation.
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 Institutional Review Board (IRB) and will be supervised by their advisor(s).
NOTE: Data that is publicly available is located on the Columbus City Schools Digital Dashboard – CCSD2(ccsdashboard.eastus.cloudapp.azure.com/viewer/content/dashboard.html) and does not require approval from the District. Therefore, the researcher may use the data presented from these sources.
Research Review Board
The Research Review Board (RRB) reviews, approves, and monitors all research that pertains to 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, CCS requires that all research proposals be submitted to the RRB for review prior to CCS approval.
The RRB 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.
The proposal submission and approval process can take longer than expected to complete and it is recommended by the RRB for researchers to plan accordingly.
If you have any questions about the RRB or the research proposal submission process, please send an email to email@example.com 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 DRPE. Prior to completing/submitting 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
Step 1: Please click the following link to submit an online application:
- New Studies: Application to conduct research
- Continuing Studies: Application to renew or modify current research
Step 2: Upon receipt of the completed online application and required documentation, the DRPE 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.
Step 3: Once the proposal is approved, the researcher will receive two authorized letters; an approval and introduction letter. Initial approval by the DRPE does not ensure that selected schools will be willing or able to participate.
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. NOTE: Research can only be conducted at a given school after the school leader has signed the research introduction letter and returned it to the DRPE.
Step 4: 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).
Step 5: After the study is completed, a copy of the final research report must be emailed to the RRB at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have additional questions concerning the RRB or the research proposal submission process, send email to email@example.com.
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.
Reporting the Results
The researcher is required to 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.
Application Requirements for Continuing Research
After the research study has been approved, any modifications to the study protocol, extensions or renewals requires submission of another application following the guidelines below.