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January 2010


From the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance (NCEE)

IES to Launch Comprehensive ARRA Evaluation

IES is currently designing a series of evaluations of the education reforms carried out under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). This will involve studying and reporting on the implementation, outcomes, and impacts of ARRA education reform efforts. Contracts to carry out the initiatives over five years will be awarded by September 2010. A panel of distinguished scholars is helping to guide the overall effort, and met on November 16, 2009 to discuss the focus and methods of the planned evaluations.

The different studies will address how states and districts are using the stimulus money, policies formulated and programs implemented under ARRA, coordination across funding streams, and the impact of specific strategies on student outcomes.

They will include national surveys, experimental or quasi-experimental evaluations of specific models or strategies, analyses of NAEP and other existing outcome data, and case studies on school turn around and improvement. A variety of study reports will be produced. The goals include providing frequent feedback to states, offering timely data internally within the Department of Education that allows for mid-course corrections, and producing policy-relevant information for the public on how ARRA was carried out and its effects.

"With this project, we are really putting our money where our mouth is, because this is going to be a test for us," said IES Director John Easton. "We want IES to be a key player in learning more about school improvement and communicating our findings in a compelling fashion to those who need to hear from us the most."

For information on key issues to be addressed, evaluation components, and key reporting features, visit http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/pdf/ARRA.pdf.

Reaching Out to Regional Educational Laboratory Customers

In preparation for the next regional educational laboratory program competition, Director John Easton invited comments from education stakeholders all over the nation to help determine what is working, what needs to be improved, and what resources and services educators needed most from the regional educational laboratory program. Letters were mailed to all districts and educational organizations inviting comments. The Institute received over 500 suggestions from more than 90 people, representing more than 30 states, with at least 50 percent of them working at the district and school level. Follow up and further outreach efforts included inviting some 30 key customers of the 10 regional educational laboratories to IES on December 16, 2009 to share their perspectives on the current laboratory program with the Director.

To learn more about the REL program, go to http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/edlabs.

What Works Clearinghouse Launches Registry of Randomized Controlled Trials

As a way to help advance the quality of educational research, the WWC Registry of Randomized Controlled Trials has assembled a substantial list of randomized controlled trials in education (RCTs) that are currently under way or have been completed. This online database offers researchers, evaluators, and others in the field one-stop access to search for these studies. Visitors may browse by title of the study, sponsor organization, study status, and target population. There is also detailed information about each study, including principal investigators, related publications, characteristics of study participants, and study outcomes.

The initial collection of RCTs populating the database are those funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, but the WWC is anticipating the addition of many more RCTs from education program developers, evaluators, researchers, and policy research organizations that sponsor and/or conduct randomized controlled trials of educational interventions.

If you are interested in submitting your RCTs for this registry, please visit http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/references/registries/Login.aspx to add to the database.