Crafting a National Research Agenda

At a recent meeting convened by the Jefferson Education Exchange, associations determined that more work is needed to make educators aware of the federal Institute of Education Sciences research.

The U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences gathers a massive amount of information through data collection, surveys and funding opportunities on education research on an annual basis. However, a recent survey of educators conducted by the Jefferson Education Exchange found 42 percent of educators don't believe research is easy to find and understand.

To open the lines of communication between educational associations and the Department of Education, JEX and IES convened a day-long meeting on Nov. 27 to reach a consensus among educators how to disseminate research.  One major takeaway from the meeting is that IES needs to do more outreach with educational associations to inform them of their research activities.

The day-long conference split association leaders into five groups that have similar interests to determine how best IES could work with their organizations. 

The first breakout group included associations that deal with psychological issues, learning disabilities and English learners.  They found that associations should provide more resources to train undergraduate students who are educators in training on how understand and vet research.  They also determined that more work is needed to educate their boards of directors and leadership about IES researchers.

The second breakout group included associations focused on STEAM learning. This group wants to look into legislation to determine better ways to disseminate research since many organizations feel like they don't have a say in legislation or research opportunities. They also encouraged associations to share knowledge across organizations by formalizing relationships across organizations and with IES.

The third breakout group contained associations that are focused on school administration and leadership. With all of the work done by IES and associations, they determined that more work needs to be done to figure out ways to disseminate information and members should be surveyed to learn how to facilitate information sharing.

The fourth breakout group included associations that deal with specialty groups such as the military and special education.  They came up with an idea for IES and JEX to create a standing group of associations that meet regularly to discuss the research needs of educators across the field. They also encouraged IES to present or conduct learning sessions and annual conferences to share their resources.

The fifth breakout group included associations focused on research and education.  They determined that associations should co-construct options for associations to provide information back to IES on research priorities.

More information on the breakout groups and conference agenda can be found here.

About the Author

Sara Friedman is a reporter/producer for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe covering education policy and a wide range of other public-sector IT topics.

Friedman is a graduate of Ithaca College, where she studied journalism, politics and international communications.

Friedman can be contacted at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @SaraEFriedman.

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