Recent Updates from IES

Creating the Standards for Excellence in Education Research (SEER) Principles is one of the most important recent accomplishments of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). IES Director Dr. Mark Schneider discusses his thoughts on SEER Principles in two blogs Changes Are Coming to Research Competitions and An Update on the IES Version of LEED Standards.

Another important topic for IES is replication as Dr. Schneider summarizes in A More Systematic Approach to Replicating Research. Emphasis has been placed on replication because science cannot be built without replication. IES has funded many efficacy trials but almost none are replicated.

The next wave of research will include cost-effectiveness analysis to do replications. IES has underscored the importance of cost analysis and is requiring this analysis in proposals. Dr. Schneider comments on the ability of IES-funded researchers to conduct appropriate economic analysis as part of their studies in his blog A New Tool to Support Cost Analysis in Education Research. To help grantees and education researchers, IES has launched a Cost Analysis: A Starter Kit. The starter kit provides a three-phased approach to the basics of cost analysis.

IES also has placed an emphasis on using common measures to standardize comparisons across interventions. IES will be identifying and encouraging the use of common measures as Dr. Schneider describes in Making Common Measures More Common.

Some additional updates include the following:

  • An upcoming focus will be on digital learning platforms for rapid experimentation and replication. IES will partner with XPrize Foundation and Schmidt Futures Foundation to fund a competition for digital learning platforms for research and the creation of a network of researchers.
  • An RFA will be announced on persistence of student measures over time (e.g., What has happened with research participants over time? What are the most successful pathways for research participants?).
  • There will be greater involvement with SEAs and LEAs as the lead on proposals.
  • Another area of focus includes the core components of what actually goes into an intervention and how researchers can best manipulate these variables.
  • IES leadership also is discussing ways to expand the research landscape to post-secondary populations.