How to Use the Freedom of Information Act - Sample Letter

DATE
Mr/Ms.
Title
Department
Agency
Address
City, State, Zip

Mr/Ms. _____,

I would like to request copies of the following information under the Freedom of Information Act and as a request as an Ohio Citizen. Could you and the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) please provide me with copies of any and all documents that discuss, evaluate or state the appropriate and validated uses or the inappropriate and invalidated uses of the data resulting from all of the Ohio
Proficiency Tests (fourth grade, sixth grade & ninth grade). Examples of this type of information could be discussions and evaluations of using the 4th grade test to determine grade promotion or the appropriate use of the data to compare academic quality between school districts. I would also like to request copies of any documents stating or referring to test takers rights.

It is likely that some of the types of documents that may include this information are (but are not limited to):

1 )The initial request for bid/proposal documents that were submitted to test writers/contractors stating what the tests are to measure. In other terms, the scope of work and objectives for developing the tests.

2) Contractual documents where the test contractor put in disclaimers or other statements related to the appropriate and validated (inappropriate and invalidated) use of the test results and test takers rights.

3) Technical manuals written both externally and internally detailing the appropriate and valid (inappropriate and invalid) use of the test results and test takers rights.

4) Technical evaluation documents discussing and evaluating resultant data in terms of overall appropriate use of the data and validated uses of the data. These may be internal or external (outside contractor) documents.

5) Internal memos within the ODE or other State Offices discussing these subjects or letters to legislators or other politically important people discussing these subjects.

Pursuant to [you own local FOIA law], we request a waiver of any and all fees for searching for and copying materials that respond to this request. Disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest, will greatly benefit the general public and is not in the commercial interests of the undersigned or any other person.

It would be helpful if a time estimate could be given for submission of these documents to me. They are needed as soon as possible.

Please feel free to contact me anytime with questions. A hard copy of this request will follow this facsimile in the mail.