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Institute of Education Sciences

IES Centers
About IES: Connecting Research, Policy and Practice

The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) is the statistics, research, and evaluation arm of the U.S. Department of Education. We are independent and non-partisan. Our mission is to provide scientific evidence on which to ground education practice and policy and to share this information in formats that are useful and accessible to educators, parents, policymakers, researchers, and the public.

IES conducts six broad types of work that addresses school readiness and education from infancy through adulthood and includes special populations such as English Learners and students with disabilities.

  • We provide data that describe how well the United States is educating its students. We collect and analyze official statistics on the condition of education, including adult education and literacy; support international assessments; and carry out the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
  • We conduct surveys and sponsor research projects to understand where education needs improvement and how these improvements might be made. Our longitudinal surveys provide nationally representative data on how students are progressing through school and into the workforce. Our cross-sectional surveys provide a snapshot of how students and the education system are doing at specific points in time. We fund research that uses these and other data to gain a deeper understanding of the nature and context of needed education improvements.
  • We fund development and rigorous testing of new approaches for improving education outcomes for all students. We support development of practical solutions for education from the earliest design stages through pilot studies and rigorous testing at scale. With IES support, researchers are learning what works for improving instruction, student behavior, teacher learning, and school and system organization.
  • We conduct large-scale evaluations of federal education programs and policies. Our evaluations address complex issues of national importance, such as the impact of alternative pathways to teacher preparation, teacher and leader evaluation systems, school improvement initiatives, and school choice programs.
  • We provide resources to increase use of data and research in education decision making. Through the What Works Clearinghouse, we conduct independent reviews of research on what works in education. The Regional Educational Laboratories offer opportunities to learn what works as well as coaching, training, and other support for research use. Our Statewide Longitudinal Data System grants enable states to more efficiently track education outcomes and provide useful, timely information to decision makers.
  • We support advancement of statistics and research through specialized training and development of methods and measures. We fund pre-doctoral and post-doctoral training programs, as well as database training and short courses on cutting-edge topics for working statisticians and researchers. Our empirical work on new methods and measures ensures continued advances in the accuracy, usefulness, and cost-effectiveness of education data collections and research.

Explore our website to learn more about how IES serves the nation by providing education data and research. Here you’ll find education data sets, data tools, reports, educator’s practice guides, summaries of completed and in-progress research and evaluation projects, videos, infographics, and more.

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
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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.