The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) released a Request for Information (RFI) on the Proposed Priorities for the Institute of Education Sciences and Request for Comment (Document number: 2019-05970). Each IES Director is required to propose priorities to guide the work of IES, and the current Director, Dr. Mark Schneider, proposed the following priorities (click the RFI link or see below) and provided a comment period for members of the public and scientific community to review and offer feedback. You can compare these revised set of priorities to the current version written by Dr. John Easton in 2010. For context and more information you can read two recent Education Week articles on how these priorities came to be as well as a brief summary on the priorities themselves.
If you would like your comments to be considered for APA’s response, please send your feedback via email to Craig Fisher at firstname.lastname@example.org by COB Monday, May 20, 2019. To ensure that your input has maximum effect, IES urges you to identify clearly the portion of the proposed priorities that your comment addresses. If you submit comments directly to IES, please consider sharing your response with APA as well so we can amplify your feedback. Comments to IES can be submitted through the response portal on www.regulations.gov no later than Tuesday, May 28, 2019.
Proposed Priorities for the Institute of Education Sciences
Background: The Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002 (20 U.S.C. 9515) requires the Director of IES to propose to the Board priorities for IES—that is, topics that require long-term research and are focused on understanding and solving education problems and issues. Such topics may include those associated with the goals and requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, as amended, and the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, such as closing the achievement gap; ensuring that all children have the ability to obtain a high-quality education and reach, at a minimum, proficiency on State standards and assessments; and ensuring access to, and opportunities for, postsecondary education.
Before submitting proposed priorities to the Board, the Director must make the priorities available to the public for comment for not less than 60 days and provide each comment submitted to the Board. The Board must approve or disapprove the priorities for IES proposed by the Director, including any necessary revision of the priorities. Once approved, the Board will transmit the priorities to the appropriate congressional committees.
By its authorizing legislation, IES is charged with supporting research, conducting evaluations, and gathering statistics to improve the academic achievement and the access to high-quality education of all learners from early childhood to adulthood. As an applied science agency, IES seeks to translate its work into useful and usable information that can be accessed by a wide range of stakeholders.
- In pursuit of its goals, IES supports research, conducts evaluations, and gathers statistics that conform to rigorous scientific standards.
- To ensure education programs and policies are evidence based, IES disseminates and promotes the use of research in ways that are objective, unbiased, and accessible.
- By furthering the transformation of education into an evidence-based field, IES enables the Nation to educate learners across the lifespan cost effectively.
- To gather educational statistics that provide information on schools, teachers, and learners across the Nation and serve as a foundation for education science research.
- To develop and identify programs, practices, and policies that enhance learner achievement and that can be widely deployed.
- To better measure and understand the variation in the effectiveness of education programs, practices, and policies.
- To help identify the activities that best fit with schools and learners characterized by different economic and social attributes and different learning needs.
- To better measure the cost and cost-effectiveness of education interventions;
- To disseminate the results of scientifically valid research, statistics, and evaluations in ways that are accessible, understandable, and usable in the improvement of educational practice by teachers and other educators, parents and families, learners, administrators, researchers, policymakers, and the public.
Standards for Excellence in Education Research
To increase the quality and usefulness of education research, IES promotes, encourages, and supports the use of the Standards for Excellence in Education Research (SEER), which is available at https://ies.ed.gov/seer.asp. Under SEER, as appropriate for a particular research program, researchers:
- Preregister their studies.
- Make their data and methods openly available.
- Identify the core components of interventions.
- Document implementation.
- Focus on meaningful outcomes.
- Analyze costs and calculate the cost-effectiveness of interventions.
- Have a strategy for scaling up.
In furtherance of these goals, IES has the following specific priorities:
A Focus on Outcomes
- At infancy, toddler, and preschool levels, key measures include:
○ Readiness for schooling; and
○ Developmental outcomes for infants and toddlers with or at risk for disabilities.
- At kindergarten through 12th grade, key measures include:
○ Higher achievement in reading, writing, science, technology, engineering, and math;
○ Improvement in other indicators of achievement besides student performance on assessments, such as annual student attendance and retention rates and, where applicable and available, student academic growth, high school graduation rates, and postsecondary enrollment and persistence rates.
○ Improvement in non-academic outcomes such as, but not limited to, parent satisfaction, school climate, student mental health, and civic engagement.
○ Improved teaching and learning;
○ Improved behaviors and social skills that support learning in school and successful transitions; and
○ Functional outcomes that improve success in school and transitions to employment, independent living, and postsecondary education for students with disabilities.
- At the postsecondary level, key measures include:
○ Enrollment in, and completion of, programs that prepare learners for successful careers and lives;
○ Family sustaining wages post-completion;
○ Improved teaching and learning; and
○ Acquisition of skills by adults.
Increasing Dissemination and Use
- Increase outreach to teachers and other educators, parents and families, learners, administrators, researchers, policymakers, and the public using both traditional and new media.
- Enhance the experience of What Works Clearinghouse users, adding features that make its reviews more useful and usable.
- Increase the number of What Works Clearinghouse Practice Guides and Intervention Reports, ensuring that they are written in an accessible manner and supported by material that increases the use of this information.
- Develop and refine education research methods including new methods that take advantage of large administrative data sets and increased computing power.
- Expand the use of research using longitudinal data sets.
- Invest in postsecondary programs that develop a pipeline of talented education researchers, especially programs that include apprenticeships in education agencies.
- Encourage partnerships between researchers and private companies, both non-profit and for-profit, to put interventions that work into more schools and in the hands of more teachers, parents and families, and learners.