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Conduct Research or Obtain Confidential Data at DCPS

Thank you for your interest in conducting research in DC Public Schools. As of May 29, 2024, the DCPS research proposal process is closed to external proposals while we update our process and requirements for non-employee researchers.

The review board will continue to consider proposals submitted by employees conducting research for graduate requirements on a monthly basis. External proposals submitted by May 29 will be considered in June. External proposals submitted after May 29 will be considered in mid-October 2024. Review meeting dates are subject to cancellation or change without notice. 

Latest Proposal Submission Employee Proposal Consideration Date External Proposal Consideration Date
May 29, 2024 June 3, 2024 June 10, 2024
June 26, 2024 July 1, 2024 October 14, 2024
July 31, 2024 August 5, 2024 October 14, 2024
September 4, 2024 September 9, 2024 October 14, 2024
October 2, 2024 October 7, 2024 October 14, 2024

About Research at DCPS

We want to make DCPS the best urban school district in the country. To this end, we welcome high-quality research in DCPS. We strive to create favorable conditions for research while respecting instructional time and individual privacy.

For existing publicly available data sets, visit

  • DCPS believes in the power of research to improve the body of knowledge related to learning and development. We welcome partnerships with the research community whose findings and results will benefit our students and/or staff or contribute to the wider improvement of public education.
  • DCPS exclusively approves proposals that meet professional standards for research design and ethical practices and have merit and relevance for the school system.
  • DCPS requires that research supports our values of equity and anti-racism. Equity at DCPS means creating an environment in which we eliminate opportunity gaps, interrupt institutional bias, and remove barriers to academic and social success, particularly for students of color. Read more from the DCPS Equity Strategy and Programming Team.
  • DCPS does not approve proposals that include randomized control trials in which students are denied services or there is deceit of students in their application to a program. Please see Appendix II of the DCPS Process and Requirements to Conduct Research or Obtain Confidential Data for additional information.
  • “Research” refers to any activity aiming to increase the existing body of knowledge. It encompasses all investigation, measurement, and evaluation activities, including design, pilots, data collection and analysis, interpretation of results, and conclusions and recommendations. Research may include primary data collection, secondary data usage, or both. “Data collection” includes, but is not limited to, interviews, focus groups, surveys, tests, observations, analysis of written documents, and experimental designs.

DCPS Research Priorities

  • Promote Equity: Define, understand, and promote equity so that we eliminate opportunity gaps and systematically interrupt institutional bias.
  • Empower Our People: Recruit, develop, and retain a talented, caring, and diverse team
  • Ensure Excellent Schools: Increase the number of excellent schools throughout the city
  • Educate the Whole Child: Provide rigorous, joyful, and inclusive academic and social emotional learning experiences to ensure all students are college and career ready.
  • Engage Families: Ensure communication and deepen partnerships with families and the community.

Submitting a Research Proposal

For a guide to submitting a research proposal in DCPS, download the DCPS Process and Requirements to Conduct Research or Obtain Confidential Data. This document governs requests to conduct research in DCPS or obtain data that: 

  • Exist, must be constructed based on existing data, or do not exist and must be collected; and 

  • Are disaggregate (including student- and other individual-level data) or aggregate where identification is possible explicitly or implicitly (e.g., school-level data on subgroups smaller than 10 individuals). 

Please use this cover sheet for your proposal.

We accept the following types of proposal for review: 

  • Responses to DCPS requests for proposals for external audits and research. 

  • Unsolicited research proposals from (a) individuals (non-students), (b) organizations independent of DCPS, or (c) DCPS employees fulfilling graduate requirements. Please note that in general, DCPS does NOT accept research proposals from graduate students who are not current DCPS employees. However, where there is strong advocacy for the project within DCPS, DCPS may consider research proposals from graduate students who are former DCPS employees with a good service record or who have a prior or pre-existing working relationship with DCPS. 

DCPS reserves the right to deny or refuse to consider a proposal for any reason. 

Updates to Procedure (May 2023):  

  1. Starting May 15, 2023, please use the Microsoft Form linked in the DCPS Process and Requirements to Conduct Research or Obtain Confidential Data to submit proposals. Direct all other inquiries to [email protected]

  1. Starting May 15, 2023, your letter of support from your DCPS advocate must be included with your proposal at the time of upload. We are no longer accepting separately emailed letters of support. See the DCPS Process and Requirements to Conduct Research or Obtain Confidential Data for more details. 

Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA)

Full DCPS policies related to PPRA can be found in the DCPS Process and Requirements to Conduct Research or Obtain Confidential Data.