Friday, March 14, 2014

The Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences (IES)

This week, ORDE offered a Know Your Agency Lunch on the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). Dr. Phil Strain, Professor in CU Denver's School of Education and Human Development spoke about his experience with the agency. Below, we offer an overview of IES, some of Dr. Strain's tips for working with IES, as well as some useful resources for those applying to IES for funding.

About IES
The IES agency mission is "to expand fundamental knowledge and understanding of education and to provide education leaders and practitioners, parents and students, researchers and the general public with unbiased, reliable and useful information about the condition and progress of education in the United States." Within this mission, IES prioritizes research topics in the following areas:
  • Early childhood education
  • Social/emotional needs of students in the classroom
  • Postsecondary access/retention
  • New educational intervention development and assessment
  • Student outcomes improvement
  • Best educational approaches and interventions for students with disabilities
Dr. Strain has been funded by IES on multiple occasions and had some suggestions for others applying to them for funding, based on his experience.

Tips for working with IES
  • Find the best known methodologist you can afford and include them in your budget as FTE
  • Structure your application around IES's goals
    • Exploration
    • Development and innovation
    • Efficacy and replication
    • Effectiveness
    • Measurement
  • Make the case that you've considered alternative methods and chosen one that's appropriate
  • In your intervention descriptions, account for preventing/managing contamination
  • Be prepared to "perfect" the research study you submit.  IES will often go back and forth with an awardee to correct any reviewer concerns before you receive your funding
IES is a unique agency and understanding their mission, goals, as well as some of their nuances can give you a basic road map as you navigate their application process.

ORDE Know Your Agency Brief on IES
IES Website

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