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GAO finds weakness in education department’s research arm

Although the Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES) supports high-quality research, it lacks some essential procedures needed to fulfill other aspects of its mission, according to a report by the congressional Government Accountability Office (GAO).

With a fiscal year 2013 budget of just under $600 million, IES is the Department of Education’s primary research and evaluation arm. In its report, posted online on 5 December, GAO cited evidence from those involved in the institute that IES has substantially improved the quality of education research since its inception more than a decade ago. Nevertheless, GAO had concerns about the institute’s ability to produce timely and relevant research.

For example, its report noted that the institute can be slow to respond. This delay is partly because the time the institute’s products spend in peer review has grown substantially in recent years, increasing from an average of 117 days in fiscal year 2011 to 150 days in FY2013.

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