The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) is the independent, non-partisan statistics, research, and evaluation arm of the U.S. Department of Education. IES' stated mission is to provide scientific evidence on which to ground education practice and policy and to share this information in formats that are useful and accessible to educators, parents, policymakers, researchers, and the public. It was created as part of the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002.
The first director of IES was Dr. Grover J. "Russ" Whitehurst, who was appointed in November 2002 and served for six years. Dr. Ruth Neild is currently delegated the duties of the director.
IES is divided into four major research and statistics centers:
National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance (NCEE)—NCEE conducts large-scale evaluations and provides research-based technical assistance and information about high-quality research to educators and policymakers in a variety of different formats. NCEE’s work includes evaluations of education programs and practices supported by federal funds; the Regional Educational Laboratory Program; the Education Resources Information Center (ERIC); the What Works Clearinghouse; and the National Library of Education. Dr. Joy Lesnick is the acting commissioner of NCEE.
National Center for Education Research (NCER)—NCER supports research to improve student outcomes and education quality in the United States and pursue workable solutions to the challenges faced by educators and the education community. NCER also supports training programs to prepare researchers to conduct high quality, scientific education research. Dr. Thomas W. Brock is the commissioner of NCER.
National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER)—NCSER sponsors and supports comprehensive research that is designed to expand the knowledge and understanding of infants, toddlers, and children with disabilities, or those who are at risk of developing disabilities. NCSER also supports training programs to prepare researchers to conduct high quality, scientific special education research. Dr. Joan E. McLaughlin is the commissioner of NCSER.
The National Board for Education Sciences serves as an advisory board for IES and has 15 voting members, who are appointed by the President of the United States. The Board also includes several ex-officio, non-voting members, including the director of IES, the commissioners of the four centers, and representatives of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the National Science Foundation. The Board advises and consults with the director and the commissioners to identify research and organizational priorities for IES. Dr. David J. Chard, Dean of the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development at Southern Methodist University, is the chair of the Board.