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Research in Schools (K-12)

The Nevada Department of Education provides a rich source of aggregate student data that are available to the public and may be used for research without restriction. Visit nevadareportcard.com for more information.

  • All other research conducted in K-12 schools requires adherence to Department of Education (DoEd) regulations related to FERPA and PPRA. Please refer to our policy for DoEd research.
  • Research involving students in K-12 schools requires additional protections for children. Please refer to our policy for research with children.
  • University policy requires investigators to submit the supplemental forms for DoEd research and for research involving children. Forms are available in the IRBNet library.
  • Individual schools or school districts may have additional requirements. Please check with district administration (details for research in WCSD and CCSD are provided below).
  • Research involving educational records or surveys must comply with FERPA or PPRA regulations, respectively, for obtaining signed permission from parents.

Permission from Schools

  • IRB approval will not be granted until documentation is received from the school districts authorizing the research.
  • Permission for individual schools may NOT be obtained before IRB approval is granted.
  • Investigators are advised to provide school officials with copies of district approvals when seeking permission to conduct the research at individual schools (i.e., site permission).
  • Investigators may wish to create a blanket site permission letter using the institutional support letter template (available from the forms page of this website) and forward it to school officials.

Washoe County School District

Prior to project initiation, University of Nevada, Reno and affiliate researchers wishing to conduct human research at a Washoe County School District (WCSD) site must obtain approval from

  • a University IRB and
  • the WCSD office for Accountability, Research, and Evaluation.

The University Research Integrity Office (RIO) and WCSD allow concurrent review. University and affiliate investigators may submit the University IRB application to the District.

NOTE: Investigators wishing to use WCSD educational records, including teachers who wish to use test scores or classroom assignments from their own students, must read the WCSD Guidelines for the Use of WCSD Student and Teacher Data for External Research Projects.

Steps for concurrent review of research at WCSD sites:

  1. At least six weeks before the target start date for the research, contact Jan Hall, Accountability, Research, and Evaluation at jmhall@washoeschools.net or (775) 325-2081 to discuss the primary features of the research study.
  2. Ms. Hall will assess the proposed research to determine if it is acceptable to the District.
  3. After receiving confirmation that the project is acceptable to the District, complete and submit a University IRB application with supporting documents.
  4. At the same time, send the IRB application and supporting documents to Ms. Hall.
  5. If Ms. Hall has questions or concerns about the research, she will inform the contact person listed in the application and a University IRB Program Manager.
  6. A University IRB will review the protocol and request revisions as needed.
  7. Once the IRB determines the protocol is ready for approval, an IRB Program Manager will notify Ms. Hall of the impending approval.
  8. Ms. Hall will send notice of WCSD approval to the investigator and the IRB Program Manager.
  9. Upon receipt of documentation of WCSD approval, the IRB Program Manager will send the IRB approval letter to the principal investigator and contact person, and will copy Ms. Hall for her records.
  10. Upon receipt of documentation of IRB and WCSD approvals, investigators may contact the targeted schools to obtain site permission (see Research in K-12 Schools Permission from Schools section above).
  11. Investigators must provide the IRB with copies of site permission letters/emails with the following:
    1. Completed and signed performance site change form (available from the forms page of this website)
    2. Updated IRB application listing the individuals schools by name
  12. The IRB will acknowledge the site permission letters/emails and updated application.
  13. Upon receipt of IRB acknowledgment for one or more sites, the research may be initiated at those sites.

Clark County School District

Information about the Clark County School District (CCSD) research review process and the application may be found at ccsd.net/departments/assessment-accountability-research/research-review-process.

Steps for review of research at CCSD sites:

  1. Complete and submit a University IRB application with supporting documents.
  2. A University IRB will review the protocol and request revisions as needed.
  3. The University IRB will review and approve the revisions, and send the principal investigator and contact person a notice of IRB conditional approval (subject to CCSD approval).
  4. Upon receipt of IRB conditional approval, submit the CCSD research application with a copy of the IRB letter.
  5. After receiving approval from CCSD, submit a copy of the CCSD approval letter to the University Research Integrity Office.
  6. The University IRB will send a letter of final IRB approval to the principal investigator and contact person.
  7. Upon receipt of documentation of the University and CCSD IRB approvals, investigators may contact the targeted schools to obtain site permission.
  8. Investigators must provide the IRB with copies of site permission letters/emails with the following:
    1. Completed and signed performance site change form (available from the forms page on this website)
    2. Updated IRB application listing the individuals schools by name
  9. The IRB will acknowledge the site permission letters/emails and updated application.
  10. Upon receipt of IRB acknowledgment for one or more sites, the research may be initiated at those sites.

NOTE: The CCSD research review committee meets on a rolling schedule. Investigators are encouraged to submit the application to the CCSD at least 60 days before the desired start date for the research.

Research in All Other School Districts

Investigators planning to conduct research at public schools (including charter schools) in districts other than Washoe and Clark counties, must complete the following steps:

  1. Contact the district superintendent's office to determine what steps are required to obtain district approval to conduct human research at schools in that district.
  2. Obtain district approval as required.
  3. Submit documentation of district approval with the IRB application.
  4. Upon receipt of documentation of IRB and District approvals, investigators may contact the targeted schools to obtain site permission.
  5. Investigators must provide the IRB with copies of site permission letters/emails with the following:
    1. Completed and signed performance site change form (available from the forms page on this website)
    2. Updated IRB application listing the individuals schools by name.
  6. The IRB will acknowledge the site permission letters/emails and updated application.
  7. Upon receipt of IRB acknowledgment for one or more sites, the research may be initiated at those sites.

Research at Private Schools

Investigators planning to conduct research at a private school must determine if the targeted school is independent of or subject to district oversight.

  • If the private school is subject to district oversight, steps for obtaining district approval apply.
  • If the private school is independent of a school district, researchers may contact the school administration only to assess the feasibility of conducting research at the school.
  • Upon receipt of documentation of IRB approval (and district approval if required), investigators may contact the targeted schools to obtain site permission.
  • Investigators must provide the IRB with copies of site permission letters/emails with the following:
    1. Completed and signed performance site change form (available from the forms page on this website)
    2. Updated IRB application listing the individuals schools by name
  • The IRB will acknowledge the site permission letters/emails and updated application.
  • Upon receipt of IRB acknowledgment for one or more sites, the research may be initiated at those sites.

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