Institute of Education Sciences Board Room
80 F Street NW
Arden L. Bement, Jr., Ex Officio
Elizabeth Ann Bryan
Phoebe Cottingham, Ex Officio
David C. Geary
Robert C. Granger
Eric A. Hanushek
Robert Kominski, Ex Officio
Lynn Okagaki, Ex Officio
Craig T. Ramey
Mark Schneider, Ex Officio
Dixie Sommers, Ex Officio
Joseph K. Torgesen,
Synergy Enterprises, Inc.
*Present via teleconference
Norma Garza, Executive Director
Mary Grace Lucier, Designated Federal Official
Members of the Public:
Call to Order
Action: Approval of October 30-31, 2007 minutes
Chairman Ramey called meeting to order at 8:38 a.m. He noted that several former Board members were not present because their terms had expired, and their replacements were awaiting Senate confirmation. He also noted that his own term would expire prior to the next Board meeting, and the Vice Chair was still awaiting Senate confirmation. Chairman Ramey emphasized the importance of preserving continuity of leadership and reminded the Board that one of the items on the agenda was election of officers. Robert Granger pointed out that selection of the Board Chair had taken place in closed session in the past and asked if it would be possible to close the meeting during that portion of the agenda. Mary Grace Lucier, the Designated Federal Official, stated that a closed session would have to be announced in the Federal Register. Chairman Ramey said he would obtain legal advice regarding the matter.
Mary Grace Lucier read the roll, after which Chairman Ramey invited members of the audience to introduce themselves. He then called for a motion to approve the minutes of the October meeting. The motion was made and seconded, and it carried unanimously.
Remarks of the Executive Director
Ms. Garza has been working with the White House liaison office to expedite the nomination and confirmation of new Board members. In December, she made a presentation to a group of Columbia University graduate students at the request of the Institute for Educational Leadership. Based on input from Board members, the next two Board meetings are scheduled for May 21-22 and September 9-10. Ms. Garza is looking at a three-meeting schedule for next year (2009). She will attend the conference of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) in March and continues to oversee the contract for the evaluation of IES. The IES Research conference will take place in June, and the Board Chair will be asked to make opening remarks. Ms. Garza thanked Mary Grace Lucier and Jerry Lee for providing refreshments and thanked IES staff for their assistance with travel arrangements.
Update on Institute of Education Sciences
Dr. Whitehurst presented the Institute's approved budget for fiscal year 2008. Although the line item budget for Research and Statistics is about $4.2 million lower than for 2007, the final approved budget of $546.1 million represents an increase of about $28.6 million, or 5.5 percent, over 2007.
Funding was doubled for Statewide Data Systems, which provides discretionary grants to enable states to enhance or develop longitudinal data systems at the Kindergarten through Grade 12 (K-12) level. These data systems support reporting under No Child Left Behind (NCLB); they also support state-level administration of schools and provide research data. The program is very popular with Congress, and it is likely that funds will be available in the future to support all states that submit applications. Twenty-three states already have grants, and IES has received expressions of interest from most other states. IES works with the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) to assist states with grant applications and project implementation.
Responding to a question, Dr. Whitehurst stated that some states have relatively advanced data systems and are using grant funds to link systems that were previously not linked (such as educational data and labor data) or to facilitate data sharing. Other states are at an earlier stage of development and are using grant funds to develop the basic capacity for a statewide data system.
Dr. Hanushek commented that statewide database systems could replace some of the traditional surveys conducted by NCES, but the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) limits researcher access to the data. The legislation has a legitimate purpose to protect individually identifiable data, but regulations have been added over time to increasingly restrict the use of data. None of the provisions of FERPA anticipated the development of statewide databases or NCLB. Dr. Whitehurst noted that this is a legislative issue that needs to be resolved by Congress. Mr. Lee expressed an interest in working with Dr. Hanushek on this issue and asked whether any research body could assist in drafting language. Dr. Hanushek suggested that AERA and the new Society for Research in Educational Effectiveness might be interested, and he offered to look into the matter.
After additional discussion of privacy issues and researcher access, Dr. Whitehurst returned to a summary of the IES budget. He noted that funding for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) increased by $10.9 million. Dr. Whitehurst noted that the evaluations conducted by the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, which account for roughly $50 million of the Institute's annual expenditures, do not appear as line items in the IES budget because they are administered by other components of the Department of Education.
Board members and Dr. Whitehurst engaged in a discussion of the types of evaluations that are conducted by IES. Dr. Whitehurst stated that, in general, IES is responsible for impact evaluations, while implementation evaluations are conducted by the Secretary's office.
Dr. Ramey asked whether the budget for IES was commensurate with the tasks assigned to it. Dr. Whitehurst replied that, in relative terms, educational research is underfunded at the Federal level. Research accounts for less than 1% of the discretionary budget of the Department of Education, compared to 42% at the Department of Health and Human Services. Knowledge-intensive industries in the commercial sector typically invest 15-20% of their discretionary budget in research. Dr. Whitehurst also framed the question in terms of aligning capacity with availability of funds. IES has enhanced its capacity steadily over the past five years, but it would not be prepared to manage the quantity of work that would result from a sudden doubling of its budget. If there were a clear plan to double funds every five years and Congress was committed to do that, IES could plan and respond accordingly.
Dr. Ramey suggested that the Board craft a message about the magnitude of research that is warranted in education in order to convey to Congress and the public at large the level of investment that is needed to move the American educational system from where it is now to a global leadership position. This message would be more appropriate and impartial coming from the Board than from IES. Mr. Lee stated that the Board must demonstrate to Congress what IES is doing now, and what it could accomplish with a more significant level of investment.
Dr. Hanushek noted that continuity of funding is as important as the level of funding, because it is difficult to plan long-term research if funding is volatile. Dr. Whitehurst noted that funding for research has increased steadily over the last 15-20 years. Responding to a question from Dr. Geary, Dr. Whitehurst stated that the U.S. invests heavily in educational research compared to other countries. Many countries consider the U.S. to be a leader in this area.
The Board discussed the importance of effective communications regarding the work of IES. Dr. Whitehurst stated that in the past year, IES has shifted from a focus on the promise of educational research to a focus on the value received from investments to date. The biennial report to Congress featured practical applications of IES research, and the IES Practice Guides provide practitioners with information they can use.
Dr. Whitehurst provided an update on the Upward Bound controversy. After summarizing the history and objectives of the program, he noted that a review of a previous evaluation by the Office of Postsecondary Education found that the program was more likely to be effective for higher-risk students and for students who had participated for a longer period of time. As a result, the criteria for the 2006 grant competition stated that at least 30% of the students served by Upward Bound must be high-risk and must begin the program in ninth grade; grantees were also required to agree to participate, if asked, in an evaluation study that would randomly assign students to Upward Bound or other services. IES was charged with implementing the evaluation and hired a contractor to begin the study. In response to strong opposition from the advocacy community, the Manager's directive in the 2008 appropriations bill stipulated that none of the 2008 funds may be used to carry out the Upward Bound evaluation. The Department of Education has sufficient funds to continue the evaluation through this year and is working with IES to determine the best way to proceed. One option would be to shift from a randomized controlled trial to a regression discontinuity design that would allow Upward Bound project directors to create rank-ordered lists of the students they want to serve. This compromise would address the principal concerns of the advocacy community, while allowing the evaluation to go forward. Congress has drafted language in the reauthorization of the Higher Education bill that would prohibit any evaluation and any control groups, with respect to TRIO programs. IES does not want to shut down the ongoing evaluation and is attempting to defuse this situation. The Board and Dr. Whitehurst discussed the difficulty of evaluating established programs with large constituencies, such as Upward Bound or Head Start. Dr. Whitehurst stressed that it is essential to evaluate such programs in order to improve them. He suggested that it might be preferable to evaluate the differential effectiveness of variations in program delivery, which would not be perceived as threatening the existence of the program itself.
Update on IES Center Activity: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance (NCEE)
NCEE released the final report of the National Assessment of Title I on November 15. The two-volume report and the Summary of Key Findings are available on the Internet. Volume I contains key findings on the implementation of the program under No Child Left Behind. Volume II presents a report on follow-up findings from Closing the Reading Gap.
The Regional Education Laboratory program is continuing to issue peer-reviewed "Fast Response" reports on issues that are of importance to educators in the region. Dr. Cottingham circulated a list of reports that were issued since October. Topics for the reports are selected in consultation with chief state school officers, district officials, and other stakeholders in the region. NCEE is responsible for ensuring that the technical quality of the studies meets IES standards for transparency, evidence-based research, and objectivity, and whether the studies use other work produced by IES, such as the What Works Clearinghouse and reports produced by the research centers. The contractor that manages the peer-review process (Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.) is not involved in selecting topics for REL reports.
Mr. Lee suggested that IES consider holding symposia for chief state school officers and other key individuals to demonstrate how IES research is being used. Dr. Cottingham informed the Board that NCEE is holding outreach sessions at seminars held by the National Conference of State Legislatures. NCEE collaborates extensively with Chief State School Officers around the country, and it collaborates with NCES regarding the development of the state longitudinal database systems.
Dr. Cottingham provided an update on the improvements to the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) website. The new website is less visually cluttered and includes new rating icons and a customizable search function that enables users to create their own review charts. The home page includes a rotating banner with topics of interest. A tab along the top banner links to a page with information on the IES Practice Guides. Focus groups conducted during the design process provided important feedback from potential users.
Dr. Cottingham displayed the review results for early reading interventions to demonstrate the rating icons and search function. In response to a question regarding the types of outcomes that are measured, Dr. Cottingham stated that each review is conducted according to a protocol developed by experts in the field that designates which outcomes should be measured and reported on in the WWC. She noted that the review charts do not indicate the policy significance of a finding, and most research does not address the cost of an intervention.
Ms. Bryan noted that comparative descriptive data are often missing in these reports. Dr. Cottingham stated that NCEE is looking for ways to include more information, but it is limited by the information that is provided in the studies it reviews.
Dr. Hanushek suggested that it would be useful to examine the cost effectiveness of interventions. Dr. Ramey stated that this would be especially valuable for interventions that receive a plus or double-plus rating. Dr. Cottingham stated that NCEE is in the process of developing a common framework for measuring cost across projects; one issue is whether cost data are comparable.
Dr. Cottingham noted that review teams are being formed to develop seven new practice guides. The first three will address school turnaround, adolescent literacy, and dropout prevention. Subsequent guides will address response to intervention; teacher recruitment and retention; managing behavior in elementary school classrooms; and improving high poverty students' access to college. Two review teams are completing prior work on early reading, and the website includes a portal inviting the public to nominate issues to be addressed by WWC.
A new WWC product will be quick reviews of recently released studies that are generating interest among educators. The WWC will review a study and post a report on the website within 1-2 weeks. Ms. Bryan stated that policy makers often ask about the quality of studies they have seen, and she asked what happens if WWC determines that a study is not good. Dr. Cottingham replied that WWC is developing a process to address complaints from developers, study authors, and others about any review, which will include an independent audit of the review in question.
Update on IES Center Activity: Research Centers
National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER)
The Center issued three reports since the October 2007 Board meeting: two from the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2, and one on the Evaluation of States Monitoring and Improvement Practices under IDEA. All three reports are available on the NCSER website (http://ies.ed.gov/ncser).
The Center's most productive work in recent months has been on developing a sustainable framework for its research programs. The Center has established research topics that align with the Board-approved research priorities. The topics are broader and include both high-incidence and low-incidence disabilities. The Center will release a Request for Applications for research in early intervention in early education in late February and anticipates strong competition for these grants. Potential topics include both high-incidence and low-incidence disabilities. Dr. Okagaki met recently with the Assistant Secretary for Special Education, who was very supportive of the Center's new direction.
Dr. Hanushek noted that many low-incident disabilities are extremely expensive, so finding solutions would be of great value to society. He asked whether social value criteria were factored into the Center's research program design. Dr. Okagaki replied that it is up to the researcher to provide the rationale for the practical significance of the work, and the peer review panel takes this factor into consideration.
Dr. Torgesen noted that research capacity varies greatly within the field of special education, and he expressed concern that the difficulty of meeting rigorous research criteria could limit the number of applications that are received. Dr. Okagaki replied that methodological criteria provide for flexibility, because they allow for both single-case and cluster group studies, and review panels include experts in both types of research design. In addition, IES will conduct a two-day research institute in April to increase the capacity of researchers to incorporate quantitative data analysis into single-case designs. In June, IES will conduct two three-day training workshops on analyzing data collected through the Pre-Elementary Education Longitudinal Study and the Second National Longitudinal Transition Study.
National Center for Education Research (NCER)
Dr. Okagaki's presentation focused on two key questions: whether the IES research strategy is creating comprehensive programs of research, and whether interventions move from development to small-scale evaluation, or from efficacy studies to large-scale evaluations.
NCER's overall strategy is to translate the Board-approved priorities into research programs that focus on student outcomes as dependent variables (e.g., school readiness; reading, writing, math, and science achievement; behaviors that support learning; enrollment and completion of postsecondary education). The independent variables for IES research are the conditions of education that are under the control of schools (e.g., curriculum, instruction, assessment, teacher quality, systems and policies).
Dr. Okagaki used a spreadsheet of math research funded by IES to demonstrate that this strategy does result in comprehensive programs of research. The spreadsheet included approximately 40 curriculum projects that address math content topics (e.g., whole numbers, fractions, geometry, measurement, and algebra). It demonstrated that the math research portfolio provides substantial coverage of topics across grade levels from pre-kindergarten through high school, but very little research on post-algebra math education. Based on this information, NCER will focus on encouraging research on higher-level math education.
Dr. Okagaki also noted that IES conducts research on systems-level changes that are intended to improve student achievement by improving the overall teaching and learning environment. She described a randomized-controlled trial that is currently underway to determine whether performance incentives can improve teacher performance and, thereby, improve student learning.
To address the question of whether IES-funded interventions move from development to impact at scale, Dr. Okagi noted that five of the 56 small-scale efficacy evaluations that IES is funding originally started as development projects, and IES conducted efficacy studies for two of the ten interventions for which it is now funding large-scale impact studies.
Forthcoming NCER activities include the second IES Research Training Institute On Cluster-Randomized Trials, which will be held at Northwestern University in July; IES Education Research briefings for senior career staff at the Department of Education; and the first IES practitioners' conference, which will be held in Fall 2008.
Dr. Okagaki requested Board input regarding the appropriate audience and topics for the practitioners' conference, which will be an opportunity for all of the IES centers to communicate with education decision-makers and practitioners. Dr. Granger suggested that the conference should target key senior staff for policy-makers; mid-level managers at school districts, such as assistant superintendents for curriculum and instruction and staff development specialists; and key intermediaries that serve practitioners, such as the CCSSO, the National League of Cities, and the Council of Great Cities. He recommended building the program around major topics that would help the audience understand IES work that is in the pipeline. Mr. Lee suggested inviting clusters of states that have common concerns, and he recommended that highly respected individuals be involved in planning the meeting. Ms. Bryan suggested holding two conferences—one for principals, and another for curriculum specialists. She also recommended that IES reach out to national organizations for help in identifying people who are most active in the field. She encouraged IES to reach out to "non-believers" and help them learn how to translate research into practice. Dr. Geary suggested targeting school board members in key districts.
Update on IES Center Activity: National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
International Assessment Studies
NCES released results on the U.S. performance on two large-scale international assessments: the Progress in International Reading Literacy (PIRLS), in late November 2007, and the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), in early December 2007. PIRLS showed that the performance of U.S. fourth graders in reading was unchanged from 2001, but the relative ranking fell because other countries increased their performance. PISA showed that U.S. 15-year-olds scored lower than their peers in industrialized countries in math and science. Data collection for the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2007 on math and science performance of 4th and 8th graders was completed in Spring 2007 and findings will be released in December 2008.
The Board engaged in a discussion of research design and international comparisons. Responding to questions about research design from Dr. Torgesen and Dr. Hanushek, Dr. Schneider stated that the studies used the same framework for each cycle, but different cohorts. They were not longitudinal studies. Dr. Hanushek expressed concern that scale scores are not necessarily comparable over time, and rankings are subject to the fact that the cohort changes over time. In his view, the PISA analyses would not pass IES standards. Dr. Schneider felt that the appropriate use of international comparisons was more relevant to the Board than questions of research design. Data from these assessments can provide lessons for the U.S. regarding curriculum reform. Dr. Ramey suggested that IES could serve as a dissemination vehicle to address the limitations of comparative studies and the appropriate use of the data from such studies. Dr. Bement noted that international studies involving 60-90 countries are broad and suggested that it might be more useful to conduct a study in partnership with a country that is more like the U.S. and develop a trend analysis.
NCES released the first report from the preschool wave of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort (ECLS-B) on children born in 2001. The report describes these children at about age 4 and includes results of language, literacy, mathematics, and fine motor skills assessments and information on the children's non-parental education and care experiences. NCES is trying to find ways to make subsequent longitudinal studies abut and link to cohorts over time. Dr. Geary expressed concern about the exclusive use of IRT methods for the ECLS and related studies. These methods are useful in many ways, but do not allow for longitudinal analyses of change in individual students. Dr. Geary acknowledged that is a concern and they are making adjustment in the High School Longitudinal Study to address this drawback.
Continuing Challenges in Response Rates
The National Household Education Surveys Program (NHES) is the only national random-digit dial (RDD) telephone survey in this field and has been conducted six times since 1991. The response rate has declined steadily, from greater than 80 percent in 1991 and 1993 to 53 percent in 2007. NCES is concerned that continued low response rates could jeopardize the validity of the study and is planning to evaluate new ways of conducting household surveys that have higher response rates than RDD. Dr. Schneider added that it is also difficult to obtain respondents for the PISA study, because schools are reluctant to release students for a four-hour, non-mandatory test. Mr. Lee stated that Arbitron is experiencing a similar problem with response rates. He is on a committee that is investigating this issue and offered to collaborate with IES on this matter.
Dr. Hanushek raised concerns about non-response bias. Dr. Schneider agreed that this is a serious issue, especially in longitudinal studies. He noted that a bias study conducted in 2007 found that even with low response rates, the NHES data did not reveal non-response or coverage biases.
In December, the Secretary approved a plan to put the National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) on a ten-year cycle, alternating with a new international adult literacy assessment being led by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The OECD study will be conducted in 2012, and the next round of the NAAL is scheduled for 2016.
Elementary/Secondary and Longitudinal Studies
High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS:09): This study will attempt to do truly adaptive testing in mathematics for 9th graders in 2009 and move toward real scores for real students. This could potentially serve as a model for the next early childhood study. The challenge is changing the mindset of the contractors, who have done differently in the past.
Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS): NCES is re-designing the SASS data collections, beginning with the 2011-12 cycle. The Teacher Follow-Up Survey will be changed to a more longitudinal design to more accurately reflect the reality of teacher attrition. A longitudinal study of principals will also be established.
National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP): Results of the writing assessment for 4th, 8th, and 12th grade students will be announced in April. The National Assessment Governing Board is committed to addressing issues of inclusion and accommodation of students with disabilities and limited English proficiency, including what kinds of adjustments are necessary and legitimate, and how much agreement there is on the models. The 2005 data mapping provided interesting information and will be repeated for 2007 data.
The 2009 study will be the fifth generation of the HSLS. NCES also conducts a Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study (BPS) study, but the two studies have never communicated. In 2013, 12,000 students that have completed the HSLS:09 will form the core cohort for the next BPS. NCES is examining how to integrate these studies to increase the analytic usefulness of both surveys.
Dr. Ramey thanked Dr. Schneider for his presentation. He noted that legal counsel had determined that the Board could go into executive session to discuss the selection of the next Board Chair.
Evaluation of IES
Mr. Baldwin informed the Board that the evaluation contractor, Synergy Enterprises, had received approval for a three-month no-cost extension due to delays related to the security clearance process and conflict of interest checks for the Advisory Panel Members. The final report is now due on June 30, 2008, with a draft to be submitted to the Board by March 31. The Advisory Panel members are Lorraine McDonald of the University of California, Santa Barbara; Larry Orr, formerly with Abt Associates; Jim Heckman, Nobel Prize-winning economist from Chicago; Gary Walker, president emeritus of Public/Private Ventures in Philadelphia; and Dr. David Olds from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.
Synergy is beginning to interview various stakeholders interested in the translation of research into practice, including American Education Research Association, the Council of Chief State School Officers, the Great City Schools Organization, and others. Synergy has also interviewed a number of IES staff members, and will talk to others in the near future, to gain a better understanding of the peer-review process. The evaluation strategy has been revised due to the availability of electronic data files on research proposals submitted to NCER and NCSER. The evaluation will focus on the extent to which IES is moving toward its stated goals regarding the use of randomized controlled trials. Mr. Baldwin opened the floor for questions and comments from Board members.
Dr. Granger asked if the March 31 draft would be a complete report. Mr. Baldwin stated that some sections may not be finalized, but he assured the Board that the draft would be as complete as possible. Dr. Ramey reminded the Board that several members had agreed to review the draft and produce a summary that would be circulated to the Board for comment, but those members are no longer on the Board. The Board needs to come up with a plan to take the draft evaluation report and create a document that the Board can endorse and forward.
Dr. Granger stated that the evaluation report would provide input that the Board could us in preparing a document that to advise Congress regarding reauthorization of the Educational Sciences Reform Act (ESRA). Since ESRA may not be reauthorized this year, the Board should have sufficient time to prepare a document that would meet the needs of Congress. Dr. Ramey stated that it was most important for the Board to reach consensus regarding the major points of the evaluation that may have a bearing on the future of IES.
Ms. Bryan noted that many constituencies that deal with IES are not familiar with, and in some cases do not support, rigorous scientific research. She asked Mr. Baldwin if the evaluators were vetting respondents regarding this issue. Mr. Baldwin replied that it would be desirable to determine the extent to which interview subjects support the Institute's research priorities in order to have a context for their comments.
Dr. Ramey thanked Mr. Baldwin for his presentation and turned to the discussion of committee reports. He noted that some Board members are not yet on committees and observed that there was no restriction on serving on more than one committee. Carol D'Amico confirmed that she would like to remain on the Communications Committee. Joe Torgesen, David Geary and Eric Hanushek agreed to serve on the Evaluation Committee.
Communication Committee Report
The Committee drafted guidelines for IES Center presentations at NBES Board meetings. The guidelines requested that Center presentations be limited to 30 minutes per Center and focus on issues that seek advice from Board members. Presentations should provide updates on Center activities, including successes and challenges. Presentation materials should include a summary; they may also include Power Point presentations, handouts, publications, weblinks, and other information. The guidelines state that presentation materials be forwarded to the NBES Executive Director 10 days before the scheduled meeting. Presentations to the Board would consist of a 5-minute highlight of the summary, followed by questions and answers and advice sought by Board members.
Board members noted that most Center presentations at this meeting were consistent with these guidelines. The Center directors stated that they were comfortable with the guidelines.
Dr. Granger described the Committee's draft list of NBES Talking Points, which Ms. Garza had requested, and he asked Board members for their comments. Mr. Lee stated that the most powerful way to sell is to tell your story. He recommended that the Board develop as many stories as possible, and select the appropriate one for each audience.
Ms. Bryan suggested that talking points for the Board should focus on the difference between what educational research has been, and where it is going now. Mr. Lee suggested that the talking points reference the FDA's decision to require two randomized trials before approving new drugs and conclude by asking, "What is more important: your health, or the mind of your child?" Dr. Hanushek felt it would be important to include discussion of budget issues.
Dr. Ramey expressed the hope that, as the Board reached a consensus on the talking points, individual Board members would take the message to places where their input is sought and communicate the role and value of IES.
Dr. Granger stated that it would be helpful to have some basic facts on the Board, plus talking points. Ms. Bryan suggested making a collection of op ed pieces and other articles that support the importance of high-quality educational research.
Legislation Committee Report
The presentation of the Committee's draft of proposed changes to the ESRA bill provided the rationale for the suggested revisions. Ms. Bryan urged Board members to review the document in more detail. Key elements of the suggested revisions are as follows:
Sec 102 Definitions: Ms. Bryan noted that Congress has moved toward using this term "Principles of Scientific Research." The revisions in the mark-up incorporate language that Congress already approved in the Head Start Reauthorization Act, with some changes.
Sec 111 (b) Mission: The proposed revision makes the IES mission statement more succinct: "to provide national leadership in expanding reliable evidence on which to ground education practice and policy and to encourage its use by parents, educators, students, researchers, policymakers, and the general public."
Sec 113. Delegation: Dr. Whitehurst pointed out that this is one of two provisions of the bill that give IES a degree of independence within the Department of Education. The draft language is intended to more clearly define what is meant by administrative and support functions. Proposed deletions in this section are intended to remove redundancy. Proposed changes to Section 113(b) give the Director the authority to determine whether to accept assignments for the Institute from the Secretary.
Sec 114. Office of the Director: Proposed changes are intended to ensure continuity of leadership. The language regarding one additional year was inserted from other sections of the bill that had already been approved by Congress. Language regarding "critical pay" was inserted to allow the federal government to offer salaries that would be attractive to highly qualified candidates. This language was also inserted for the Commissioner positions in other sections of the bill. The proposed deletion of language regarding coordination of activities between IES and comprehensive centers acknowledges the reality that there is no coordinating structure within the Department of Education to accomplish that.
Sec 115. Priorities: Language was inserted to establish a timeframe ("not later than 6 years from the date of the previous approval of priorities") for revisiting the priorities of the Institute.
Sec 116. National Board for Education Sciences: The Legislation Committee proposes that Board members be appointed by the Secretary rather than the President, and that Senate confirmation be eliminated. Language was added to include soliciting advice from the Board, the American Educational Research Association, and the Research on Educational Effectiveness. Language was added to specify that Board terms begin on the date of appointment and that members may continue to serve for up to one additional year if a successor has not been appointed. Language was added to create the position of vice-chair and to clarify procedures for appointment of Executive Director. Language was added to permit the Board to accept charitable contributions to further its mission, which is consistent with provisions for other agencies. The proposed revisions also give the Board greater flexibility regarding the creation of subcommittees.
Sec 117. Commissioners of the National Education Center. Language was added regarding eligibility for critical pay. The proposed revision stipulates that all Commissioners are appointed by the Director and removes requirement that the Commissioner for Education Statistics be a Presidential appointee.
Dr. Sommers noted that Presidential appointments are intended to assure the independence and objectivity of national statistical agencies. Bryan: we all agree that this is the intended goal. Whitehurst: Consistency is important. If NCES is an autonomous entity, it should have an independent commissioner. If it operates under the auspices of IES, the Commissioner should be accountable to the IES Director. Ms. Bryan stated that the Committee was concerned about getting the most highly qualified individuals to serve as commissioners.
Sec 133 (d). National Research and Development Centers: Language was deleted to provide maximum flexibility going forward.
Sec 134 (b) Peer Review: The proposed revisions bring the language in line with current practices.
Sec 193 Removal: The proposed revisions strengthen current language by stipulating that the Director, Commissioners, and Board members may only be removed for cause. Dr. Sommers stated that if the IES is to be an independent body, the bill should not include provisions for removal by the President. Dr. Whitehurst stated that the original legislation did not include a removal clause. The Committee felt it was important to correct this omission. Ms. Bryan suggested that it may be a legal question, and that it would be important to determine what language would provide the most protection.
Changes in other sections were intended to simplify language, tighten the peer review process, and align the bill with current practices and legislation.
Board Motion for Consideration
Dr. Ramey noted that the purpose of the draft motion included in the Board packet was to create a provision for the Board to serve an oversight function in the grant awards process. Dr. Whitehurst stated that the central question was where the Board can add value to the grant award process. This would be most useful in circumstances where basing grant awards solely on rank order scores could result in a problematic award. The intention of the motion was to create transparency regarding situations in which an exception is made.
Responding to a question from Ms. Bryan, Dr. Whitehurst stated that this would be done in executive session, and that timing could be an issue. Dr. Ramey stated that this situation had never occurred to date, but Dr. Whitehurst added that there had been times when the Board would have attempted to do it if the mechanism had been available.
Ms. Bryan called the question and the motion carried unanimously.
Motion : Board review and advise IES director on grant awards where the proposed grantee is selected out of rank order of applicant scores that result from peer review for scientific merit.
Selection of Board Chair
Based on advice from counsel, the Board moved into executive session to discuss the Board Chair and Vice Chair positions. Following that discussion, the Board announced the selection of Dr. Granger as Chair and Ms. Bryan as Vice Chair.
The meeting was adjourned at 3:32 p.m.
The National Board for Education Sciences is a Federal advisory committee chartered by Congress, operating under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA); 5 U.S.C., App. 2). The Board provides advice to the Director on the policies of the Institute of Education Sciences. The findings and recommendations of the Board do not represent the views of the Agency, and this document does not represent information approved or disseminated by the Department of Education.