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Submissions :: Protocol review process :: Expedited/Exempt Review :: Exemption :: Normal Educational Practice :: Normal Practice

Normal Practice

What educational practice is “normal”?  The Board recognizes that there are a variety of activities that normally occur in the classroom.  Also, a researcher might propose classroom activities that may not be part of what could normally occur in a particular class room, but that may be considered “best practice” for a classroom.  The addition of these practices in a classroom may benefit the students.  In these instances, the Board may determine that implementation of a “best practice” qualifies for exemption under normal educational practice.  The Board considers educational time a valuable commodity and requests that you carefully develop your intervention so that at the minimum it will not waste a student’s educational time and may even benefit their educational experience.  They encourage you to introduce “best practice” activities into the classroom where possible.  Listed below are types of studies that may qualify for exemption as normal educational practice:

  • Test development 
  • Experimentation with instructional methods
  • Evaluation of classroom or school activities which may include pre and post testing, surveys, interviews or observations.  For example, if you are studying a new writing technique and you want to ask the students what they think about the writing technique, this could qualify for exemption.  However, if you want to ask the students questions that are beyond the technique, the Board may approve these questions but they may not qualify as normal educational practice or exemption. Observations, interviews, and surveys beyond the scope of normal educational practice do not qualify for exemption and require parental consent (for more information, please see Exemption: Educational Tests). Please justify the necessity for using these methods for collecting data and specify what will be collected (via testing or survey instruments, interview questions, and/or observation protocols).  
  • Collecting affective data, specifically attitudes toward learning.  The Board recognizes that it is normal for a teacher to assess his or her students’ attitudes regarding learning. Again, if you are using surveys and/or interviews, please see the bolded text above.
  • Data collection using videotape, audiotape, photography, and/or student samples. Please justify the necessity for using these methods for collecting data and specify what will be collected.  If the information collected can identify an individual student, it may be necessary to document consent using a consent form.  If the materials will be used in a presentation or publication, it may be necessary to use a Materials Release form.  For more information about using recording devices, please see Media Guide.

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