The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) is the primary research arm of the Department of Education, and comprises four “National Centers” devoted to supporting and disseminating scientific research related to education, which basically means the use of randomized trials in evaluating educational methods. Randomized trials always involve the comparison of results between an experimental group, which is taught using the new method under study, and a control group, which is taught using traditional methods. The idea behind the IES is to boost this sort of research while reducing political influence on that research. The four national centers fund, evaluate, and disseminate such research, while the National Board for Education Sciences (NBES) advises the IES Director on the agency’s policies, priorities, and procedures. IES works with the Office of Innovation and Improvement and the What Works Clearinghouse, which is designed as a resource for educational decision-makers in selecting programs and practices based on scientific research. IES also evaluates programs and grants for the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB).
The IES was established by the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002 (PDF), which eliminated the Office of Educational Research and Improvement and replaced it with the IES. IES has had the same director since its inception.
Major stakeholders include the many colleges and universities that have won grants (PDF) from IES, the private organizations, both for profit and nonprofit, that have obtained IES grants, the millions of students and their parents who are affected by the policy implications and changes inferred from IES research projects, teachers, educational policymakers and administrators, and taxpayers generally.
(by Diana Jean Schemo, New York Times)
John Q. Easton has Education Secretary Arne Duncan to thank for his new job in Washington as head of the Institute of Education Sciences. A longtime specialist in education research from Chicago, Easton has known Duncan for nearly 20 years as a result of his work both in and for the Windy City’s public schools system.