Our mission is to provide rigorous and relevant evidence on which to ground education practice and policy and share this information broadly. By identifying what works, what doesn't, and why, we aim to improve educational outcomes for all students, particularly those at risk of failure. We are the research arm of the U.S. Department of Education, and by law our activities must be free of partisan political influence.
The Institute is led by John Q. Easton, who began his six-year term as director on June 1, 2009. The work of the Institute is carried out through our four Centers: the National Center for Education Research, the National Center for Education Statistics, the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, and the National Center for Special Education Research. Established under the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002, IES operates with the counsel and oversight of the National Board for Education Sciences.
With a budget of over $200 million and a staff of nearly 200 people, IES has helped raise the bar for all education research and evaluation by conducting peer-reviewed scientific studies, demanding high standards, and supporting and training researchers across the country. We fund top educational researchers nationwide to conduct studies that seek answers on what works for students from preschools to postsecondary, including interventions for special education students. We collect and analyze statistics on the condition of education, conduct long-term longitudinal studies and surveys, support international assessments, and carry out the National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as the Nation's Report Card. We conduct evaluations of large-scale educational projects and federal education programs –which soon will include examining reforms driven by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. We help states work toward data-driven school improvement by providing grants for the development and use of longitudinal data systems. Finally, we inform the public and reach out to practitioners with a variety of dissemination strategies and technical assistance programs, including: the What Works Clearinghouse; the ERIC education database; ten Regional Educational Laboratories; national Research and Development Centers; and through conferences, publications and products.
Moving forward, IES' rigorous research agenda will be informed by the voices and interests of practitioners and policy makers, who will be involved in shaping the questions most relevant to their practice. We will seek to build the capacity of states and school districts to conduct research, evaluate their programs and make sense of the data they are collecting. We will strive to develop a greater understanding of schools as learning organizations and study how development, research, and innovation can be better linked to create sustainable school reforms.
IES Mission, Functions, and Organization
Refer to the legislation that guides IES: the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002
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IES Research Priorities and Spending
See the Director's Biennial Report to Congress for a complete description of IES activities for each fiscal year, including a summary of all grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements funded in excess of $100,000.
Rigor and Relevance Redux
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Toward a Learning Society
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Biennial Report to Congress
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IES Performance Compared to Other Federal Programs
The U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) gave IES an effective rating, the highest a program can receive. OMB concluded: "IES has transformed the quality and rigor of education research within the Department of Education and increased the demand for scientifically based evidence of effectiveness in the education field as a whole."