Federal Policy and Legislation

Institute of Education Sciences

The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) was created in 2002 through the Education Science Reform Act (ESRA, Title I of P.L. 107-279) as an independent research arm of the U.S. Department of Education. IES conducts broad types of research and work that addresses school readiness and education from infancy through adulthood and includes special populations such as English language learners and students with disabilities. The IES director provides a biennial report to Congress on the status of grantees, providing a brief overview and highlights of the projects that IES and each of its research centers is overseeing.

IES is composed of four research centers:

National Center for Education Research (NCER)
NCER supports research activities to improve the quality of education and thereby increase student academic achievement, reduce the achievement gap between high-performing and low-performing students, and increase access to and completion of postsecondary education.

National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
NCES is the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education in the United States and other nations. NCES supports the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems program, and the College Navigator.

National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance (NCEE)
NCEE is responsible for conducting evaluations of federal programs, synthesizing and disseminating information from evaluation and research, and providing technical assistance. NCEE supports the “What Works Clearinghouse,” Regional Educational Laboratories, and the Education Resources Information Center (ERIC).

National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER)
NCSER supports rigorous research on infants, toddlers, children, and youth with and at risk for disabilities through advancing the understanding of and practices for teaching, learning, and organizing education systems.

Regional Educational Laboratories (RELs)

To assist IES in conducting research, 10 Regional Educational Laboratories (RELs) throughout the United States work to bridge the disconnect that sometimes exists between education research and practice:


Each of the RELs assists in conducting research that is differentiated based on regional need and addresses local issues that can also benefit the entire nation. To the extent possible, RELs design their research to address the needs of the local communities based on input from stakeholders.

IES Funding

Funding from IES enables the profession and its stakeholders to learn of best practices, help bring them to scale, and augment and support student achievement in classrooms across the country. Education policies and programs benefit from valid and reliable data obtained through sound research as provided through IES and its research centers.

Funding History (in millions)

FY 2011

FY 2012

FY 2013

FY 2014

FY 2015

FY 2016

FY 2017

$608.79

$593.67

$562.61

$576.93

$573.93

$618.01

$605.27


Last Updated August 2017