Conducting Research in CMS

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) will allow qualified individuals and organizations to engage in professional research and evaluation projects with potential to improve learning conditions, student outcomes, and staff or program effectiveness in CMS. This provision applies to individuals or agencies not associated with CMS and to CMS employees conducting research outside the scope of their employment with CMS.

All persons interested in conducting research in CMS must obtain approval from the CMS Office of Accountability in addition to IRB approval from a university or private IRB. The university or private IRB approval must be obtained prior to submitting a research application to CMS. Research includes, but is not limited to, surveys, interviews, focus groups, and classroom observations involving CMS students and staff. This generally includes program evaluation. CMS defines program evaluation as an evaluation conducted only for internal use for the purposes of making programmatic decisions. If you are conducting an evaluation that will be published in whole or in part  (including websites, brochures, presentations, etc.) this is considered a research study by CMS and you must complete the CMS research application process.

 
All applications are reviewed according to Federal Regulations governing the protection of human subjects, Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and North Carolina Student Privacy Laws Article 29.
 
If you are interested in using CMS data in your study, please note that some data are available to the public through national and state websites; for a list of these websites, please view the Resource Links page. Please note that all CMS quantitative data not available publicly must be requested through the Office of Accountability; data cannot be provided by school employees.
 
We strongly recommend that researchers review the CMS Research Request Guidelines prior to planning their research study.
 
PLEASE NOTE:
Researchers who would be collecting data during first semester of 2019-20 must submit an application by June 3, 2019.
Researchers who would be collecting data during second semester of 2019-20 must submit an application by November 4, 2019
Researchers who would be collecting data during first semester 2020-21 must submit an application by June 1, 2020

 

 

Procedure for Submitting A Research Application


1. Contact District Level Staff (Executive Director or Director or Specialist) of relevant department to determine interest in research topic. If the relevant district level staff do not support the study as proposed, the study will not be approved. District level staff may collaborate with researcher to develop a study that will be beneficial to the district. Research must align with current and/or future curriculum plans, strategies, or programs. To complete an application, a CMS Executive Director or Director or Specialist from a relevant department must provide documentation of support that that clearly indicates their knowledge and support of the research questions, methods, materials that will be used for the study, and indicates how the study will provide actionable information to benefit the districtPlease see the items below as you plan your study:


•  List of CMS departments and contacts for letter of support 

• Due to federal and local regulations (i.e., FERPA and CMS policies) regarding student confidentiality, we limit the number of demographic variables that we can share without parental consent in order to keep the data de-identified. This is because the combination of seemingly de-identified demographic variables may inadvertently identify a single individual.  This guideline is in place for the protection of human subjects in research studies. Our highest priority when sharing data is protecting the identity of our students. We understand that this may limit a researcher's ability to conduct analyses based on demographic characteristics.  A researcher may decide to obtain informed consent for parents to allow CMS to release more detailed student information.

Please note the following regarding data availability:

Due to changes in all math tests created by NC DPI in the 2108-19 school year, we will not receive any math standardized test data (i.e., Math EOGs, Math I, Math III) until later in the fall that we normally do.
Next year (2019-2020), this will be the case for literacy assessments (i.e., EOGs, English II).

The following are data variables available from CMS :


• Student level variables

• Teacher level variables 
• School level variables
• District level variables 
Publicly avaiable data on our Resource Links Page
2. Read CMS Research Request Guidelines  to ensure that your proposed study meets all requirements to conduct research in CMS 
3. Review template for Memorandum of Understanding which includes the Terms and Conditions to conduct research in CMS. Please be sure the appropriate persons at your university or institution review the MOU and confirm the name of the person that will need to sign the MOU. Any requests to edit the Memorandum of Understanding will likely be denied with the exception of MOUs with state entities which will be modified to align with current state laws

4. Complete the Application to Conduct Research in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. You will complete a registration form (see link below), then receive an email with a unique link to your application from JotForm. This link is unique to your application and will allow you to save and return to your application. Please save the email as it is the only copy of your unique link. Please note that the program will only save pages where all required items have something entered after clicking on the NEXT button. You may use a placeholder for incomplete required questions and complete the required questions when you return to the application.

Complete the Registration Form 

5. Send the $50.00 application fee to the attention of Ms. Susie Freije: Office of Accountability, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, 4421 Stuart Andrew Blvd, Suite 250, Charlotte, NC 28217.  Checks should be made out to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.
Questions about the application? Contact Susie Freije susanw.freije@cms.k12.nc.us

Neither University IRB approval nor district level support guarantees approval by the Research Review Panel. While the University IRB is reviewing the study to ensure human subjects protections, the CMS Research Review Panel is reviewing the study for the following:


• to ensure human subjects protections
• feasibility
• alignment with curriculum and Strategic Plan
• data availability
• protection of instructional time
• minimizing the burden on staff, schools, and students.

The Research Review Panel will review study primarily looking at the following criteria:


High Quality
• Research study follows all the CMS Research Request Guidelines.
• High level of scientific rigor and technical proficiency demonstrated in methodology and data analysis plan
• Alignment between research questions, methodology, and data analysis plan
• Reliable and valid data collection instruments

Applicability
• Directly benefits the district (not just education profession in general)
• Benefits for the district outweigh demands on district and school staff and students as determined by the Research Review Panel.
• Results can be generalized to group larger than study sample.

Researchers may contact Lindsay Messinger, Director of Research, Evaluation, and Analytics lindsay1.messinger@cms.k12.nc.us or Susie Freije, Accountability Coordinator, susanw.freije@cms.k12.nc.us with questions regarding conducting research in CMS.

Application Review Calendar

The Research Review Panel meets once a month to review applications. Please see the calendar below for review dates and deadlines to submit applications and supporting documents:

Research Review Panel Meetings All materials submitted by (close of business)
Wednesday, July 10, 2019 Monday, July 1, 2019
Wednesday, August 14, 2019 Monday, August 5, 2019
Wednesday, September 11, 2019 Tuesday, September 3, 2019
Wednesday, October 14, 2019 Monday, October 7, 2019
Wednesday,  November 13, 2019 Monday, November 4 2019
Wednesday, December 11, 2019 Monday, December 2, 2019
Wednesday, January 15, 2020 Tuesday, January 6, 2020
Wednesday, February 12, 2020 Monday, February 3 2020
Wednesday, March 11, 2020 Monday, March 2, 2020
Wednesday, April 15, 2020 Monday, April 6, 2020
Wednesday, May 13, 2020 Monday, May 4, 2020
Wednesday, June 10, 2020 Monday, June 1, 2020
Wednesday, July 13, 2020 Monday, July 6, 2020
Wednesday, August 12, 2020 Monday, August 3, 2020
 
 
 
CMS will not allow surveys during the following blackout times during 2018-19 school year - please check back for updates for 2019-20 :

Student Surveys
  • February 1-28
 

Staff Surveys

  • November 1-30 (Teachers)
  • April 8- May 3 (Teachers)
  • March 11- March 29 (Principals)
 
CMS will not allow researcher to administer assessments during the following blackout times:
  • September 11-17 (3rd grade students)
  • October 10 (High School Students)
  • December 12-19 (Early College and Middle College High School Students)
  • January 14-18 (High School Students)
  • February 20-28 (High Schools Students)
  • May 6-17 (High School Students)
  • May 13 -17 (Early College and Middle College High School Students)
  • May 24- June 7 (All Students)
 

​If you have any questions, please contact Lindsay Messinger, Director of Research, Evaluation, and Analytics at lindsay1.messinger@cms.k12.nc.us.

Summary of Research Application Process