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Institute of Education Sciences

IES Centers
About IES: Connecting Research, Policy and Practice

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.

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.

2011–2012 Biennial Report
Under the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002, the Director of IES is required to report biennially to the President, the Secretary of Education, Congress and the public on the activities of the IES Centers. The following documents include summaries of all grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements in excess of $100,000 funded through the IES centers and awarded in fiscal years 2011 and 2012 and will accompany the biennial report for this period.
PDF File Download, view, and print the 2011-2012 Biennial Report as a PDF (541 KB)
PDF File Download, view, and print the NCER awards as a PDF (956 KB)
PDF File Download, view, and print the NCES awards as a PDF (499 KB)
PDF File Download, view, and print the NCEE awards as a PDF (385 KB)
PDF File Download, view, and print the NCSER awards as a PDF (428 KB)

Common Guidelines for Education Research and Development
This report from the Department of Education and the National Science Foundation explains how the two agencies hope to realize the full potential of their education research and development investments—including obtaining meaningful findings and actionable results—through a more systematic development of knowledge. The report describes six types of research studies that can generate evidence about how to increase student learning. Research types include those that generate the most fundamental understandings related to education and learning; examinations of associations between variables; iterative design and testing of strategies or interventions; and assessments of the impact of a fully-developed intervention on an education outcome. For each research type, the report describes the purpose and the expected empirical and/or theoretical justifications, types of project outcomes, and quality of evidence.
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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.

Building Partnerships That Produce Relevant, Useful Research
December 2011
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Rigor and Relevance Redux
November 2008
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Toward a Learning Society
May 2007
Website Browse to the report highlights and download report

Biennial Report to Congress
March 2005
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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."

Learn more about IES ratings.