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National Board for Education Sciences 2006 Annual Report

In 1999 the National Research Council (NRC) published a report concluding that, "the complex world of education-unlike defense, health care, or industrial production-does not rest on a strong research base." Three years later, as the nation turned its attention to reforming federal education policy, the legislative branch and the executive branch agreed that the research base described in the NRC report was still woefully inadequate and needed more rigor and relevance.

Congress, to its credit, responded by passing the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002 (ESRA), establishing the Institute of Education Sciences (the Institute) and its advisory board, the National Board for Education Sciences (NBES). The Senate confirmed the members of the National Board for Education Sciences at the close of the 108th Congress, and the Board held its first meeting in February 2005. ESRA mandates that the Board shall submit an annual report "that assesses the effectiveness of the Institute in carrying out its priorities and mission, especially as they relate to carrying out scientifically valid research, conducting unbiased evaluations, and collecting and reporting accurate education statistics."

For this report, the Board assessed the Institute's progress in three areas: 1) the establishment of research priorities to guide its investments into the next decade; 2) the creation of a rigorous peer review process for grants applications and reports; and 3) the Institute's efforts to ensure its work is useful to practitioners and policymakers.

Here are the main findings in this report:

  • Research Priorities
    The Institute has developed clear research priorities that provide a strong, long-term guide for its work.
  • Plan for Addressing the Priorities
    The Institute has made great progress in funding projects that will fill important gaps in information.
  • Standards and Policies for Peer Review
    The Institute has implemented standards and procedures for reviewing and approving grants and IES reports that are of the highest merit and are comparable to those of the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.
  • Actions Taken to Assure the Relevance of Its Work
    The Institute has initiated a number of activities to assure the relevance of its work for policy and practice.

NBES believes that the vision Congress had when it created the Institute of Education Sciences is being realized, and the Board is privileged to serve during this important period of transformation.