Comment by Oct. 2 on IES Requirements for Efficacy, Replication Studies

By October 2, the Institute for Education Sciences (IES) is seeking input from the field on its requirements related to efficacy, replication, and effectiveness studies.

The impetus of the feedback request follows recommendations provided from a technical working group that was assembled in October 2016. IES seeks to understand whether the current Goals 3 and 4 (out of its full list of five) are meeting the needs of the field or whether modifications would be beneficial to replication and effectiveness studies. Goal 3 addresses efficacy and replication studies, and Goal 4 supports independent evaluation of prior efficacy studies.

IES is seeking feedback on the following questions:

  1. What can IES do to encourage more visible and systematic replication research?
  2. How can IES revise the current requirements for Goal 4 to encourage more effectiveness studies? Specifically:
    • How important is the current requirement for an independent evaluation – that is, an evaluation carried out by individuals who did not and do not participate in the development or distribution of the intervention? Are there other ways that an independent evaluation might be conceptualized?
    • Do we need a different definition of routine conditions? Currently, IES uses the term to refer to conditions under which an intervention is implemented that reflect (a) the everyday practice occurring in classrooms, schools, and districts; (b) the heterogeneity of the target population; and (c) typical or standard implementation support.
  3. Does IES pay sufficient attention to collecting and analyzing data on program implementation under the current research goal structure? If not, how can IES better support this type of research?
  4. Does IES place enough emphasis on examining causal mechanisms and variation in impacts under the current goal structure? If not, what can IES do to better support work in these areas? 

Please download the full IES invitation for further details. Comments are requested via e-mail to by October 2.

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Zachary VanHouten

Manager of Programs and Advocacy, AACTE