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US Department of Education Principal Office Functional Statements
Institute of Education Sciences

Functional Statements > Institute of Education Sciences

B. National Center for Education Research

The National Center for Education Research is one of the three National Education Centers of the Institute. The mission of the National Center for Education Research is to:

  • Sponsor sustained research that will contribute to the solution of education problems and lead to the accumulation of knowledge about education to ensure that all children have access to a high-quality education, improve teaching and learning and student academic achievement, close the achievement gap, and improve access and opportunity for postsecondary education;
  • Support research syntheses and promote the use of scientifically valid research findings to improve education policy and practice;
  • Promote quality through the use of accepted practices of scientific inquiry to gain knowledge about the validity of education theories, practices, or conditions; and
  • Promote scientifically valid research findings that can provide the basis for improving academic instruction and lifelong learning.

The National Center for Education Research is headed by a Commissioner for Education Research, who reports to the Director of the Institute. The duties of the National Center for Education Research are to:

  • Maintain published peer review standards and standards for the conduct and evaluation of research and development carried out under the auspices of the center;
  • Propose to the Director a research plan that is consistent with the priorities and mission of the Institute and the mission of the center and that is updated and modified as appropriate;
  • Carry out specific, long-term research activities that are consistent with the priorities and mission of the Institute and are approved by the Director;
  • Implement the research plan, carrying out scientifically valid research that meets the procedures for peer review and the standards of research established by the Director and that uses objective and measurable indicators, including timelines, to assess the progress and results of such research;
  • Promote the use of scientifically valid education research within the Federal Government and actively participate in interagency research projects;
  • Ensure that research supported by the center is relevant to education policy and practice;
  • Synthesize the findings and results of education research supported by the center and work with the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance to disseminate that information;
  • Carry out research on successful state and local education reform activities, including those that result in increased academic achievement and in closing the achievement gap, as approved by the Director;
  • Carry out research initiatives regarding the impact of technology, including research into how technology affects learning, long-term research into cognition and learning related to uses of technology, research into which approaches to the use of technology are most effective, and field-based research into teachers' use of technology in the classroom;
  • Carry out research to determine which methods of mathematics and science teaching are most effective; and
  • Support research in other topic areas specified in the Education Sciences Reform Act and in other areas approved by the Director and Board.

The National Center for Education Research consists of two divisions, each headed by an Associate Commissioner.

Teaching and Learning

The Teaching and Learning Division is responsible for programs of research related to teaching and learning. The staff is organized in teams responsible for long-term research programs in:

  • Literacy;
  • Mathematics and Science;
  • Readiness, including Early Childhood and English Language Learning; and
  • Socialization.

Team leaders and team members report to the Associate Commissioner. Teams design programs of research, develop requests for applications and requests for proposals, monitor and evaluate the substantive aspects of the performance of research grantees and contractors, design data analysis plans and carry out data analysis activities, conduct literature reviews, develop research syntheses, and carry out other duties to further the mission of the center. Teams may be reconfigured over time as needed to reflect changes in the research agenda of the center.

Policy and Systems

The Policy and Systems Division is responsible for programs of research related to education policy and education systems. The staff is organized in teams responsible for long-term research programs in:

  • Rural and Distance Schooling;
  • School Reform;
  • Assessment and Accountability;
  • Education Workforce; and
  • Adult and Postsecondary.

Team leaders and team members report to the Associate Commissioner. Teams design programs of research, develop Requests for Applications and Requests for Proposals, monitor and evaluate the substantive aspects of the performance of research grantees and contractors, design data analysis plans and carry out data analysis activities, conduct literature reviews, develop research syntheses, and carry out other duties to further the mission of the center. Teams may be reconfigured over time as needed to reflect changes in the research agenda of the center.

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Last Modified: 07/01/2013