ERIC Number: ED478983
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2003
The Institute of Education Sciences: New Wine, New Bottles.
Whitehurst, Grover J.
This paper explains the mission of the Institute of Education Sciences and outlines the activities the Institute is undertaking. It also shares the reflections of the Director of the Institute of Education Sciences on the fit, and sometimes misfit, between the current activities of the education research community and the needs of practitioners and policy makers. The statutory mission of the Institute of Education Sciences is to provide decision makers and the general public with information on: (1) the condition and progress of education in the United States; (2) practices that improve academic achievement and access to education opportunities; and (3) the effectiveness of Federal and other education programs. These three functions are the responsibility of the organizational units of the Institute of Education Sciences: the National Center for Education Statistics, the National Center for Education Research, and the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance. Both the statutory mission of the Institute and its conceptual model point it toward applied research. Consequently, the primary focus of the Institute of Education Sciences is on work that has a high consideration of usepractical, applied work that is relevant to practitioners and policy makers. The preponderance of issues identified as high priority areas that the Institute is addressing relate to questions of effectiveness. Such questions are addressed most rigorously with randomized field trials, considered the only sure method for determining the effectiveness of education programs and practices. Although randomized trials are the gold standard for determining what works, they are not appropriate for all questions, and can be enhanced with results from other methods. A look at recent education research has indicated that randomized trials represent only about 6% of the research reported in American Association of Educational Research journals, although they predominate in the "Journal of Educational Psychology." These findings show a mismatch between what education decision makers want from research and what the education research community is providing. The Institute of Education Sciences is working to correct this mismatch through its focus on what works in education. (SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Institute of Education Sciences (ED), Washington, DC.
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Chicago, IL, April 21-25, 2003).