Individualized Education Programs -- Special Education Research

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To evaluate the overall success of its education research program, the Institute annually assesses the quality and relevance of newly funded research projects, as well as the quality of research publications that result from its funded research projects. Two indicators address the quality of new projects. First, external panels of qualified scientists review the quality of new research applications, and the percentage of newly funded projects that receive an average panel score of excellent or higher is determined. Second, because much of the Institute's work focuses on questions of effectiveness, newly funded applications are evaluated to identify those that address causal questions and then to determine what percentage of those projects use randomized field trials to answer the causal questions. To evaluate the relevance of newly funded research projects, a panel of experienced education practitioners and administrators reviews descriptions of a randomly selected sample of newly funded projects and rates the degree to which the projects are relevant to educational practice.

Two indicators address the quality of new research publications, both print and web-based, which are the products of funded research projects. First, an external panel of eminent scientists reviews the quality of a randomly selected sample of new publications, and the percentage of new publications that are deemed to be of high quality is determined. Second, publications that address causal questions are identified, and are then reviewed to determine the percentage that employ randomized experimental designs. As funded research projects are completed, the Institute will subject the final reports to similar reviews.

To evaluate impact, the Institute surveys K-16 policymakers and administrators once every three years to determine the percentage who report routinely considering evidence of effectiveness before adopting educational products and approaches.

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Last Modified: 07/12/2005