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The Government Accountability Office today relesaed its preliminary observations concerning its study of the Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences. The GAO found
The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) supports high-quality research,
according to stakeholders, but lacks certain key procedures needed to
fulfill other aspects of its mission. Since its inception, IES has
substantially improved the quality of education research. However,
stakeholders expressed some concerns about IES’s ability to produce
timely and relevant research that meets their various needs. For example,
IES’s efforts to respond quickly to its stakeholders are slowed, in part,
because the time IES’s products have spent in peer review substantially
increased this past year, and IES does not monitor some aspects of these
timeframes. In addition, IES does not have a structured process for
incorporating stakeholder input into its research agenda, which previous
GAO work has shown to be key to sound federal research programs.
Lastly, IES’s performance measures do not fully reflect its current
programs, which is not consistent with GAO’s leading practices for
performance management. IES officials said, however, that they have
begun to develop new performance measures for all of their programs.
Although the Department of Education’s (Education) research and
technical assistance groups have taken steps to produce and disseminate
relevant research to the field, IES does not always assess these efforts.
Some stakeholders raised concerns about the relevance and
dissemination of research and products from the Regional Educational
Laboratories (REL) and Research and Development Centers (R & D
Center). For example, they told us that these groups do not always adapt
their products for use by both policymaker and practitioner audiences.
Further, IES has not fully assessed REL and R & D Center relevance and
dissemination efforts. As a result, IES does not know if these efforts are
effective in meeting their mandated goal of providing usable research and
information to policymakers and practitioners. GAO’s prior work on
information dissemination suggests that further assessment could help to
inform IES’s oversight of the RELs and R & D Centers to improve these
groups’ dissemination to key audiences.
You can read the summary here. You can review the report here.