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Seeking Funding from the Institute of Education Sciences. A Guide for WCER Researchers. Russ Whitehurst and the IES Revolution. IES is the research arm of the U.S. Department of Education IES is authorized by congress and operates semi-independently

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Russ Whitehurst and the IES Revolution

  • IES is the research arm of the U.S. Department of Education

  • IES is authorized by congress and operates semi-independently

  • IES has a dramatically different approach to funding than its predecessor, OERI


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Russ Whitehurst and the IES Revolution

  • Many think IES is focused on a particular methodology

  • But the real change is not the advancement of one method over another

  • Rather: a narrowing of the question

    • What works in education?

    • Generally: what works to raise test scores?


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Russ Whitehurst and the IES Revolution

  • If “what works” is the question, it’s a short step to the randomized controlled trial as the optimal methodology

  • This is an important question (though not the only important question)

  • This is the question IES wants to answer


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Russ Whitehurst and the IES Revolution

  • Other designs permitted when RCTs are not feasible

    • Regression discontinuity

      • See lecture by Howard Bloom

      • http://www.wcer.wisc.edu/itp/videoevents.php

    • Quasi-experiments with well-controlled comparison groups

  • RCTs are preferred to answer the “what works” question


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Diverse Methodologies in IES-Funded Research

  • RCTs are NOT a starting point

  • IES recognizes that a lot of work must be done before an intervention is ready for a full-scale effectiveness trial

  • Every IES program area allows 5 goals


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Goals of IES-Funded Research Projects

  • Goal 1: Analysis of large-scale data bases to generate hypotheses

  • Goal 2: Development of interventions

    • Qualitative methods often appropriate

  • Goal 3: Efficacy trials

    • Mixed methods often appropriate

  • Goal 4: Large-scale RCTs

  • Goal 5: Measurement (Instruments)


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IES Program Areas

  • Reading and Writing

  • Mathematics and Science Education

  • Cognition and Student Learning

  • Teacher Quality—Reading and Writing

  • Teacher Quality—Mathematics and Science Education

  • Social and Behavioral Context for Academic Learning

  • Education Leadership

  • Education Policy, Finance, and Systems

  • Early Childhood Programs and Practices

  • Middle and High School Reform

  • Interventions for Struggling Adolescent and Adult Readers and Writers

  • Postsecondary Education

  • Education Technology


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IES Program Areas: Special Education Research

  • Early Intervention and Early Childhood Special Education

  • Reading, Writing, and Language Development

  • Mathematics and Science Education

  • Social and Behavioral Outcomes to Support Learning

  • Transition Outcomes for Special Education Secondary Students

  • Cognition and Student Learning in Special Education

  • Teacher Quality

  • Related Services

  • Systemic Interventions and Policies for Special Education

  • Autism Spectrum Disorders


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IES Program Areas: New or Unique Topics

  • Statistical and Research Methodology

  • Evaluation of State and Local Programs and Policies

  • National Center on Teacher Effectiveness

  • National Center on Rural Education

  • National Center on Turning Around Chronically Low-Performing Schools


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What Goes into an IES Proposal?

  • Depends somewhat on the goal

    • E.g., more emphasis on “theory of change” in goal 2 than in goal 4

    • Goals 3 and 4 requires power analysis

    • All require clear research questions, a well-defined sample (with commitment of participants), a detailed research design, and description of measures


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When are IES Proposals Submitted?

  • Letter of Intent

    • Optional but helpful

  • Proposal deadlines: Generally summer and fall

    • In 2008: June 26 and October 2

    • See: http://ies.ed.gov/ncer/funding/


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Recent Examples of IES Awards

  • EDUCATION POLICY, FINANCE, AND SYSTEMS

    • Creating an Integrated Resource Information System to Assess Student, Teacher, Classroom, and School Effects on Value-Added Student Learning Gains and to Support More Cost-Effective Budgeting (University of Wisconsin, Robert Meyer)


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Recent Examples of IES Awards

  • POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION

    • Improving Postsecondary Preparation in Urban Public High Schools: An Evaluation of AVID in Chicago(University of Chicago, Melissa Roderick)

  • MATHEMATICS AND SCIENCE EDUCATION

    • A Longitudinal Study of Gender and Mathematics Using ECLS-K Data (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Sarah Lubienski)

    • Early Learning in Mathematics: Efficacy in Kindergarten Classrooms (Pacific Institutes for Research, Scott Baker)

  • See http://ies.ed.gov/ncer/projects/08awards.asp


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