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Improving the Relevance of Education Research

No matter how technically sound research activities might be, if they do not address the issues and questions that are of concern to education policymakers and practitioners, the research will not be used to inform education policy and practice. The Institute has made substantial progress in improving the relevance and usefulness of education research, evaluation, and statistics. This is an area that has drawn increased attention from staff as the rigor of the work improved, and the Board agrees with this strategic shift. It should be continued in the future. Our judgment of substantial progress is based on the following: (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 in our nation (e.g., improving reading, writing, mathematics, and science achievement); (3) the work of the National Research and Development Centers in key policy areas; (4) dramatic 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.