Dr. Rebecca McGill-Wilkinson
Telephone: (202) 208-0638
Under the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002, the Institute supports national research and development centers (R&D Centers) that are intended to contribute significantly to the solution of education problems in the United States by engaging in research, development, evaluation, and national leadership activities aimed at improving the education system, and ultimately, student achievement. Each of the R&D Centers conducts a focused program of education research in its topic area. In addition, each Center conducts supplemental research within its broad topic area and provides national leadership in advancing evidence-based practice and policy within its topic area. For information on existing Institute centers, please see http://ies.ed.gov/ncer/RandD/.
For FY 2014, the Institute is competing two new R&D Centers:
National Center on Developmental Education Assessment and Instruction
Large numbers of students who begin postsecondary education in community colleges and other open-access institutions are placed into developmental (or remedial) reading, writing, and mathematics courses before they can begin earning credits that will count toward a college degree. Research suggests that the standardized tests that most institutions use to assess students' skill levels do not always determine which students will benefit from developmental education. Moreover, longitudinal studies show that many students who are placed into developmental education do not complete the courses or earn college degrees. A variety of new approaches to developmental education assessment and instruction have been proposed or implemented, but most are small pilots, and relatively few have been rigorously evaluated. The Institute of Education Sciences seeks to create a National Center on Developmental Education Assessment and Instruction to fulfill five major goals: (1) describe current developmental education assessment and instructional practices used by community colleges and other open-access institutions; (2) convene policymakers, practitioners, and researchers interested in developmental education reform; (3) identify promising reforms and support further innovation; (4) conduct rigorous evaluation on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of models that are already serving large numbers of students or that have the potential to be expanded; and (5) bolster efforts by states, colleges and universities to bring effective models to scale.
Research and Development Center on Knowledge Utilization
Education researchers have made enormous strides in studying the effectiveness of education policies and interventions designed to improve outcomes for students. Despite this accumulation of knowledge, there is widespread concern that many of the research and evaluation projects funded to date have not resulted in widespread adoption of evidence-based practices or improvements in educational outcomes for large numbers of students. The Institute of Education Sciences is launching a Research and Development (R&D) Center on Knowledge Utilization to explore questions of how education researchers can make their work more relevant and useful to practitioners located in state and local education agencies and in individual schools. The Center will have three main objectives: (1) To develop better tools for observing and measuring research use in schools; (2) To understand the conditions in which research is used and factors that promote or inhibit research use in schools; and (3) To identify strategies that researchers can adopt to make their work more meaningful to and impactful on education practice. The Center will provide national leadership by developing papers, hosting meetings, and engaging in dialogue with researchers, practitioners, and other stakeholders focused on improving school performance and student outcomes.