Report: Feds Struggle to Produce Timely, Relevant Education Research

Published December 20, 2013

The U.S. Department of Education needs to improve the speed, transparency, and relevance of its research, a federal review has found.

The federal Institute of Education Sciences (IES) does not, for example, publicly report on the performance of its regional laboratories, which consume a large portion of its budget, says the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report. Similarly, its evaluation of federal Race to the Top grants, which disposed of $4.35 billion, is slated to arrive after grant-recipient states have already spent nearly all of that money.

In addition, IES cannot review federal education programs, many of which continue with little or no review—seven of eleven teacher quality programs, for example, have not been examined in more than ten years. 

In 2013, IES’s budget was approximately $600 million. Its mission is to fund and distribute education research.

GAO also dinged IES for taking too long to peer-review education research and not sending research to policymakers who would benefit from the information. IES’s peer review process increased from an average of 117 days in 2011 to 175 days in 2012 and 150 days in 2013.

Image by Thompson Rivers University.