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August 2007

Around the Centers

Improving Teacher Quality

Improving Teacher Quality. "We know teachers matter, and they matter a lot," Russ Whitehurst commented last spring in a talk to the American Educational Research Association. But, he said, there are many things we don't know, or that we're just beginning to understand — or that we understand but haven't translated from theory to practice. What are the characteristics of effective teachers? How do we develop better predictors of effective teaching? How can we help less effective teachers emulate more successful ones? Will incentives like pay bonuses lead to better teaching? To answer these and other key questions, IES undertakes a variety of activities across the Institute, all with the ultimate goal of improving teaching and student outcomes.

Biennial Report to Congress

Director Russ Whitehurst issued the Director's Biennial Report to Congress in May, covering activities and accomplishments of the Institute in 2005 and 2006. Since IES's first Biennial Report two years ago, said Whitehurst, "IES has been transformed from an organization under construction to one that is fully formed and operational."

Second Annual Research Conference

More than 700 people attended the second annual IES research conference in Washington this past June. Researchers turned out from more than 100 colleges and universities and nearly 80 companies and research organizations. In addition to a variety of panel presentations by IES staff and others, there were 275 poster presentations. In his welcoming remarks, IES Director Russ Whitehurst described the "symbiotic relationship" between IES and the research community, noting that each helped the other to succeed. Russ also noted that since his arrival at IES in 2002, the number of research grant applications has tripled.