Changes Are Coming to IES Research Competitions

(Excerpted from Message from the IES Director)

For the 2018 proposal cycle, the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) received over 900 applications. IES Director, Mark Schneider, has announced changes he is considering for Fiscal Year 2020 Requests for Applications (RFAs) for the two research centers: National Center for Education Research (NCER) and National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER).

RFAs Will More Closely Align with the New WWC Rating System 

IES is in the process of designing a rating system for work included in the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC). Evidence standards will not be changed; however, a system modeled on the “LEED” green building certification system will be added.

IES intends to award research in the WWC different certification levels based on factors such as registration of research designs, cost-effectiveness analysis, and measurement of long-term outcomes. To achieve the highest rating, studies will have to meet these dimensions.

One purpose of the proposed WWC rating system is to recognize and incentivize more work using what IES views as the most valuable dimensions of education research to support evidence-based decision making as well as to increase high-quality research in the WWC.

Simplification of RFAs

IES plans to simplify the RFAs and is pursuing a “plain language” initiative using strong verbs and short sentences.

IES is also exploring other changes in the lineup of research topics, such as how to encourage apprenticeships between pre-doctoral training programs and education agencies, how to best support new investigators, how to make sure that the research IES supports is used, and how to encourage the exploration of long-term outcomes in the research IES supports.

A coda

IES is requesting suggestions for an acronym to name the new WWC rating system. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Here are a few IES has considered:

  • Leadership in Education Research (LIER—too close to LIAR?).
  • Leadership in Evidence-Based Education Research (LEBER).

Dropping Leadership in favor of Excellence:

  • Excellence in Education Research (EER—too close to “to err is human…”?)
  • Excellence in Evidence-Based Education Research (EEBER).

Suggestions are welcome!

View the complete Message from the IES Director.