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November 2010

What's New

NBES Elects New Leadership, Approves New Research Priorities

The election of Jon Baron to the chair and Bridget Terry Long to the vice-chair of the National Board for Education Sciences (NBES) headlined a busy November meeting that also saw the final approval of IES's new research priorities.

The Nov. 1 meeting was the final meeting for outgoing Chair Eric Hanushek, who completes his 2-year term as chair and his second board term later this month. At the meeting, IES Director John Easton thanked Hanushek for his service and credited him for helping him with his transition to IES.

Baron is the founder and president of the Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy and he had served as the vice-chair for the past 2 years.

"My hope is that the Board will continue to serve as an effective voice for IES in the policy process, helping to ensure that rigorous research and evaluation play a central role in congressional and executive branch decisions on education policy," Baron said. "The Board can also help support the director in his efforts to increase the relevance of educational research to policymakers and practitioners while maintaining scientific rigor."

Baron, the unanimous choice to succeed Hanushek, will serve a 1-year term to complete the final year of his NBES appointment. He will be replaced in the vice-chair role by Long, who is currently a professor of education and economics at Harvard University's Graduate School of Education. She also will serve a 1-year term.

The elections were the final agenda item of the day-long meeting that opened with unanimous approval of IES's new research priorities and included discussions on the roles of the Regional Educational Laboratories and the National Center for Education Statistics' Privacy Technical Assistance Center, a "one-stop" resource for education stakeholders to learn about data privacy, confidentiality, and security practices related to student-level longitudinal data systems.

The priorities, which were first presented to the Board in April, lay out Easton's vision for IES's research agenda for the remainder of his 6-year term. The research priorities call for developing relevant and useable research, building closer ties with practitioners, expanding the range of educational outcomes studied, and developing evidence standards for a broad range of research designs and methods.

The afternoon session also featured presentations on approaches to research implementation and dissemination efforts by the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance.

New Longitudinal Study on Students with Disabilities Planned

As one part of national efforts to increase the number of college graduates, the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance recently awarded a new 5-year contract to collect information on the services, supports, and outcomes of students with disabilities in their transition from high school to postsecondary education, training, and work. A key goal of the study is to identify potential barriers to successful transitions for students with disabilities compared to those without disabilities.

The study is the third in a series of large-scale longitudinal surveys of students with disabilities that the Department of Education has funded and the first in nearly a decade to track a large number of students over time. It will be conducted by Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. in conjunction with the University of Minnesota's Institute on Community Integration and Decision Information Resources, Inc.

Data collection for the study will begin in the spring of 2012 and 2014. Approximately 15,000 students between the ages of 13 and 21 from 300 school districts across the country will be randomly selected so that the study produces nationally representative information for policymakers and other educators. Students, parents, principals, and teachers will be interviewed and data will be extracted from school records.