AllentownSchool District

Approval to Conduct Research

General Conditions

The Allentown School District frequently receives requests from outside individuals and agencies to conduct research studies. While it is District policy to cooperate with researchers whose projects might benefit the district, it is incumbent on the District to ensure that such activities do not interfere with instruction, or require excessive pupil or staff time.

Research is defined as a "systematic investigation" is an activity that involves a prospective plan that incorporates data collection, either quantitative or qualitative, and data analysis to answer a question. For this reason, the Office of Accountability and Assessment Research Review Committee screens all requests to conduct research studies in schools, utilizing questionnaires, surveys, interviews, focus groups, and/or requests for student data. Ultimate responsibility for authorization rests with the Director of Accountability and Assessment. The school district will allow anonymous data collection and review with respect to student information. Under no circumstances will the district allow research to be conducted that is for personal or for-profit use.

Any agency or individual wishing to conduct research studies within the District must adhere to the following general conditions:

  1. The Research Review Committee will only approve studies which clearly align with at least one of the strategic goals of the District.
  2. All state and federal laws and District regulations must be observed.
  3. No action may be taken in any school without the approval of the principal.
  4. Explicit parental approval will be required in all studies which require researcher contact with students. This document should include a statement that informs potential participants that their engagement in the study is completely voluntary, and that they may choose to withdraw their participation at any time.
  5. Strict confidentiality must be maintained to protect all participants involved. No identifying characteristics will be provided in any data request, nor can they be included in any report or paper produced as a result of completion of any approved research study.
  6. An electronic copy of all data analyzed and final report must be furnished to the Office of Accountability and Assessment at the conclusion of study.
  7. The principal researcher must notify the District, in writing, about the intent to submit reports or articles for publication or conference presentations. Any reports or articles written based on this research must receive explicit permission to identify Allentown School District as the subject of research.
  8. One hard copy and one electronic copy of the final report must be furnished for the files of the Office of Accountability and Assessment, to the attention of the current Research Review Committee.
  9. Any person involved in any research project which involves admission to any school, and/or contact with any student, must provide the Research Review Committee with a copy of the requisite criminal background check and child abuse history clearance.

After reviewing the request, the Research Review Committee, the Director of Assessment or his/her designee will notify the applicant in writing of the Committee's decision to approve or reject the proposal. If a project is approved, the Director or designee will furnish the applicant with an approval letter that will doubly serve as an introduction to the schools or offices of the District. This approval letter will constitute full authorization for the candidate to conduct the study,but does not obligate a school, division or office to participate. Applicants are then required to obtain authorization directly from these entities. No action can be taken in any school without the approval of the principal.

Please be advised that the Research Review Committee and the Director of Assessment or his/her designee reserve the right to rescind approval if it is determined that the research no longer complies with the District's mission. Should this occur, you will be notified in writing of the Committee's decision to rescind approval.

In all studies requiring contact with students, the Research Review Committee requires that researchers obtain parental consent, informed participant consent, the requisite criminal background check, and a child abuse history clearance.

Strict adherence to procedures guaranteeing the confidentially of all subjects participating in any study is required.