National Academies Release Reports on Education Research and Statistics

Recently, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) have released prepublications of reports evaluating education research and statistics activities within the Department of Education’s Institute for Education Sciences (IES). The first of which, titled The Future of Education Research at IES: Advancing an Equity-Oriented Science, analyzes the National Center for Education Research (NCER) and the National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER) within IES to identify pressing issues facing the centers and developing approaches for future education research programs. The report identifies several areas for future focus, including:

  • Adopting new categories for types of research that reflect the needs, structures, and constraints typically found in educational institutions;
  • Emphasizing research focused on equity in education, including civil rights policy, teacher education, workforce development, and technology;
  • Offering new research awards within NCSER on teaching practices to improve outcomes for students with disabilities, access and inclusion to those practices, and other issues;
  • The need for IES to periodically add and remove research topics from its portfolio when appropriate to reflect the state of the field of education research.

The report also offers recommendations on its methodology, training programs, grant application, and review process. Most notably, the report recommends that Congress re-examine the IES budget, claiming that funding for IES pales in comparison to other scientific funding agencies and that IES currently would not be able to fully implement all the recommendations included in this report.

The second report, titled A Vision and Roadmap for Education Statistics, focuses on the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) within IES and offers recommendations for the future of statistical programs and priorities for NCES and for the Department of Education as a whole. The report presents themed recommendations for NCES including the following:

  • Developing a strong strategic plan for NCES that incentivizes innovation and partnerships within and outside of the federal government;
  • Maintaining NCES’ independence in setting its own priorities and products;
  • Fulfilling the needs of the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act, and supporting the evidence base across the Department of Education;
  • Embedding diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) into the work of NCES;
  • Expanding data acquisition strategies and exploring alternative data sources for NCES products.

A third National Academies report analyzing the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) was released a few weeks prior (see previous COSSA coverage). All three of these reports were commissioned in partnership between the Department of Education and the National Academies.


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