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ERIC Number: ED504225
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Nov
Pages: 129
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
National Board for Education Sciences 5-Year Report, 2003 through 2008. NBES 2009-6011
National Board for Education Sciences
Transformation of education into an evidence-based field is a task that will require involvement of federal and state policymakers, local education leaders, administrators, teachers, and parents. Over the past 6 years, a new direction has been set for education research. This report presents the National Board for Education Sciences' evaluation of the Institute of Education Sciences. The Board examined the ways in which and the extent to which the Institute has been successful in advancing the rigor and improving the relevance of education research, and facilitating evidence-based decision-making. Established to provide rigorous evidence on which to ground education practice and policy, the Institute has made progress in improving the rigor of education research and evaluation. By design, the goal of improved rigor has driven the majority of staff activity to date, under the assumption that the threshold condition for making education an evidence-based field is producing findings that can be trusted. Judgment of progress is based on: (1) high standards reflected in the peer review system; (2) strong external ratings of the quality of the funded research grants; and (3) high quality of the research designs of the evaluations contracted through the Institute's National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance (NCEE). To build national capacity to conduct rigorous education research, the Institute has launched predoctoral and postdoctoral research training programs. Based on the GRE scores of the predoctoral fellows and the research productivity of the predoctoral and postdoctoral fellows, as evidenced by the numbers of research publications to date, the Institute has made substantial progress in developing a new generation of education scientists who are well-equipped to conduct high-quality research. The Board also examined the Institute's funding announcements and diversity of the research grant portfolio with respect to research questions and research methods employed, and found that the Institute requests research projects that are diverse in purpose and methodological requirements, and has developed a diverse research portfolio in which roughly one-fourth of the projects are experimental or quasi-experimental evaluations of the impact of interventions on education outcomes. The Institute has made substantial progress in improving the relevance and usefulness of education research, evaluation, and statistics, based on: (1) satisfactory ratings of the relevance of funded research projects by education leaders and administrators; (2) establishment of long-term focused programs of research that address fundamental education issues; (3) the work of the National Research and Development Centers in key policy areas; (4) significant improvements in the timeliness of the release of data from the Institute's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES); (5) high ratings of the relevance of NCES reports; and (6) increased efforts to improve the timeliness of the release of NCEE evaluation reports. The Board advocates that this work be continued. In addition to generating rigorous and relevant research, the Institute must share the knowledge it produces in ways that enable education policymakers and practitioners to use that information. Based upon the quality and use of the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC), College Navigator, and revamped Education Resources Information Center (ERIC) to disseminate information to education leaders, practitioners, parents, and students, the Board recognizes substantial progress in information dissemination, a finding further supported by examination of programs the Institute has established to help education leaders and decision-makers obtain better data and become better consumers of education research, such as the Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems, the National Forum on Education Statistics, and the NCES Summer Data Conference. The report concludes that the Institute has been instrumental in improving the rigor, relevance, and accessibility of federally funded educational research, and should maintain the direction articulated by Congress and that Institute leadership and staff have well-executed to date. Six appendixes are included: (1) Types of Projects Funded by the Institute of Education Sciences; (2) National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance Impact Evaluations; (3) List of Regional Educational Laboratories Randomized Controlled Trials Projects Under Current Contracts, 2006-11; (4) Institutions Receiving Awards to Establish Predoctoral and Postdoctoral Research Training Programs; (5) Predoctoral and Postdoctoral Research Training Programs; and (6) Annotated Version of the Education Sciences Reform Act with Recommendations for Changes From the National Board for Education Sciences. (Contains 28 footnotes, 1 figure, and 20 tables.)
National Board for Education Sciences. Institute of Education Sciences, 555 New Jersey Ave NW Room 627H, Washington, DC 20208-5500. Tel: 202-219-2195; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Board for Education Sciences (ED)
IES Funded: Yes