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Saint Paul Public Schools, District 625
360 Colborne Street
Saint Paul


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Data Collection and Limitations

Data Collection and Limitations


Student data is protected by law and access to it is restricted. Student participation in research surveys and evaluations is also regulated. If a project creates records on, of, or about students, that information is protected in the same fashion as the student record.

Any project involving student data or participation in surveys should involve the Research, Evaluation and Assessment (REA) team. A grant manager, staff, or consultants must not collect data on staff or students without the involvement of REA.

Some school and district data is available through the SPPS Data Center. This includes district-wide data for enrollment, demographics, achievement, graduation, and discipline.

Most of the data needed in grant reporting does not come from the student records.

REA can assist with:

  • Needs assessment
  • Setting and revising goals, benchmarks, and outcomes
  • Vetting and securing external evaluators
  • Writing the evaluation plan section of grant application including the data collection plan

All contracts with vendors must include this clause:

MINNESOTA GOVERNMENT DATA PRACTICES ACT COMPLIANCE. All data created, collected, received, stored, used, maintained, or disseminated by <CONSULTANT> is subject to the requirements of Minnesota Statutes Chapter 13 and <CONSULTANT> shall comply with those requirements as if it were a government entity.


REA must be involved if any of the following apply:

  • The project involves the use or collection of data on students or staff
  • A required report is under development
  • A paper is being written for publication
  • A presentation is being prepared for a conference
  • Data requires analysis
  • Evaluation of a program needs to be done
  • The project includes surveys of students or staff

Steps - Grant or Project

  1. Construct or start constructing a data collection plan
    1. This should be part of the project work plan, REA can help
      • Who will collect the data?
      • What data or whose data is needed?
      • When will the data will be collected, and when it is needed?
      • Where will this data come from?
      • Why the data is needed or how it is related to the project?
      • Identify project objectives and the measure for each objective
  2. Meet with the REA director to discuss the project’s needs
  3. An REA staff person will be assigned to the project
  4. The process to contract an external evaluator will be started if needed
  5. Data analysis must be done by REA or a qualified contractor

Steps - Paper, Presentation, or Report

Start 60 days before the paper, presentation, or report is due.

  1. See Grant Reporting

Steps – Research

All research involving SPPS students, staff or facilities must be approved by REA.

  • For research beginning in September or October, submit proposal by June 15, expect a decision by mid-August
  • For research beginning in November through January, submit proposal by August 15, expect a decision by mid-October
  • For research beginning in February or March, submit proposal by November 15, expect a decision by mid-January

Steps - Surveys for Staff and Students

  1. Work with the project’s designated REA staff to schedule and plan surveys
  2. Follow REA guidance on survey construction and timing

Documentation Required

Why This Is Important

  • It’s the law (see 34 CFR 98.3-4, 34 CFR 99.1-99.39, Minn. Statutes 13)
  • Prevent duplication of efforts
  • Ensure compliance with legal requirements and guidelines
  • Ensure use of appropriate and effective questions in surveys
  • Ensure best timing for surveys

Related Topics

Contracts and Contractors


Grant Management Standard Work

Hiring Independent Contractors

Grant Reporting

Student Record Access Quick Guide