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Research in APS

Research in APS

Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) has a Research Review Board (RRB) that reviews both external and internal research conducted in the district.

Proposed research is reviewed by the RRB on the first Thursday of every month and must be submitted a full week prior to the scheduled review date or it will not be reviewed until the following month. Final decisions are generally relayed to applicant(s) within a week of the meeting. We ask that researchers refrain from any contact with, or recruitment of, APS personnel and/or sites prior to receiving approval from the RRB.

Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, and the unusual educational circumstance it has created:

The APS Research Review Board will ONLY approve studies that either:

  1. Have a clear, direct benefit to APS (its students, personnel, systems, or processes); OR
  2. Focus on the impact of the pandemic (educational outcomes, pedagogical processes, etc.).

Additionally, for the foreseeable future, the following will NOT be allowed:

  1. Instructional observation (over video or in-person);
  2. Data collection at school sites (except by APS employees at their assigned work sites); and
  3. Collection of interview and/or focus group data, unless safe procedures are clearly described, in detail, in the APS RRB application.

black and white x The APS RRB does not:

  • Approve research without external review by an Institutional Review Board (IRB) for Human Subjects Research. An IRB approval or exemption letter must be submitted to the APS RRB before final approval will be granted.
  • Approve studies designed primarily for the purposes of product development or for use in the marketing of an educational product or tool.
  • Allow recruitment for research that is unrelated to education (e.g., medical research) at APS sites
  • Approve research that asks about sexual activity, drug use or illegal activities. A single exception is made to participate in the state-wide Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey (YRRS).
  • Approve research being conducted for undergraduate level classes or projects
  • Ever require or encourage APS personnel or students to participate in outside research/evaluation, even if the study is approved
  • Provide letters of support for inclusion with grant applications

The APS RRB does:

  • Ensure that all research done in the district is well-designed and has the potential to further our understanding of teaching and learning
  • Expect all researchers to demonstrate: high ethical standards, no conflict of interest, and a low probability of negative impact on APS participants
  • Support employees enrolled in degree programs that require completion of a research component whenever possible
  • Review all doctoral dissertation studies*

Research Approval

Approval from APS's Research Review Board is not required, and an application for exemption can be completed, when all three of the following conditions are met:

  1. The researchers are APS employees who, within the bounds of their job responsibilities, have direct access to all data and/or participants needed for the study (e.g., a teacher studying his/her students' writing improvement);
  2. The employees' immediate supervisor, principal, and/or appropriate department head, has reviewed the study details and given the employee researchers explicit permission to conduct the study; and
  3. Study findings will not be submitted for publication* and will only be presented to a university class and/or at the school where the research took place unless additional permissions are obtained.

If you are unsure of whether your study meets all three conditions for exemption, please email your specific question(s)/concerns to  and an RRB member will get back to you as quickly as possible.

Application Forms

The online application cannot be saved and therefore must be completed in a single session. Given this limitation, we strongly recommend downloading and completing the Off-Line Application Worksheet prior to beginning the online application process. This will allow you to more easily edit the lengthier, more detailed sections of the application and then simply copy and paste your text into the appropriate fields.

* Note: Because doctoral dissertations are published by default, they must be reviewed by the RRB.