SERVE is part of a larger system of governmental agencies that offer resources intended to help schools and districts with the hard work they are called on to do every day. For example, The U.S. Department of Education has a very large website of information about Department Offices as well as the activities that the Department sponsors. The SERVE Center for Continuous Improvement houses only one of the ten Regional Educational Laboratories that serve every part of the United States, and these labs are part of a national network of labs.
There are many other educational organizations that serve a variety of purposes, and these organizations have information that addresses our key questions. On this page we are providing links to organizations that have general information crucial to the work of improving student achievement.
Within each topic area, there will also be links to organization websites that have specific information for that particular topic.
United States Department of Education
The U.S. Department of Education was created in 1980 by combining offices from several federal agencies. Its original directive remains its mission today—to ensure equal access to education and to promote educational excellence throughout the nation. ED's 4,500 employees and $63.3 billion budget are dedicated to:
- Establishing policies on federal financial aid for education, and distributing as well as monitoring those funds.
- Collecting data on America's schools and disseminating research.
- Focusing national attention on key educational issues.
- Prohibiting discrimination and ensuring equal access to education.
To learn more about the missions of ED, priorities, offices, senior staff, and website, please go to About ED at www.ed.gov.
Within the U.S. ED, the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) is the arm of the U.S. Department of Education that collects and analyzes data related to education in the United States and other nations. NCES has data about all public and private schools in each state in the U.S., coordinates the administration and reporting of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), publishes the Condition of Education every year, and has a comprehensive website about data in all aspects of education. For more information about NCES, go to http://nces.ed.gov. For more information about NAEP, go to http://www.nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard.
The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) is the arm of the U.S. Department of Education that provides leadership in expanding fundamental knowledge and understanding of education from early childhood through postsecondary study, in order to provide parents, educators, students, researchers, policymakers, and the general public with reliable information about educational practices that support learning and improve academic achievement and are based on evidence gathered from scientifically-based research. The Institute conducts research, evaluation, and dissemination activities in areas of demonstrated national need, compiles statistics, and develops products, ensuring that these activities conform to high standards of quality, integrity, and accuracy. For more information about IES, go to http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ies/index.html.
A central goal of IES is transforming education into an evidence-based field and using practices that have been demonstrated effective through randomized field trials and other scientifically-based research. As a signature strategy for reaching that goal, IES also sponsors the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC), which gathers studies of the effectiveness of educational interventions (programs, products, practices, and policies), then reviews the studies that have the strongest design. WWC then reports on the strengths and weaknesses of those studies against the WWC Evidence Standards so that you know what the best scientific evidence has to say. For more information about WWC, go to www.whatworks.ed.gov.
Regional Laboratory Network (RELs)
The Regional Educational Laboratory system provides a powerful national educational network. Through cross-laboratory collaboration, the Regional Educational Laboratories (Labs) make the most of their knowledge, experience, and expertise, conducting research and evaluation, developing and delivering products and services that benefit educators, and in turn, students, across the nation. The ten Labs have more than 35 years experience working to improve the nation's schools through research, development, and dissemination. Each laboratory addresses the needs of schools, school districts, and state departments of education in its region, and each provides national leadership on an issue of critical importance to low-performing schools. For more information about the national network of regional educational laboratories, go to http://www.relnetwork.org.
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE)
A new professional organization has been established to help support a growing community of researchers committed to examining cause-and-effect relations important for educational practice.
The mission of the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE) is to advance and disseminate research on the causal effects of education interventions, practices, programs, and policies. As support for researchers who are focused on questions related to educational effectiveness, the Society aims to: 1) increase the capacity to design and conduct investigations that have a strong base for causal inference, 2) bring together people investigating cause-and-effect relations in education, and 3) promote the understanding and use of scientific evidence to improve education decisions and outcomes. For more information about SREE, go to http://www.sree-net.org/index.shtml
Educational Research and Development Centers (R&D Centers)
The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) of the U.S. Department of Education sponsors a network of Research and Development Centers that have the responsibility for conducting applied research in focused educational content areas, then disseminating their findings in a variety of formats. Presently, there are 13 R&D Centers funded at different locations around the country. For more information about these Centers, go to http://www.ed.gov/help/site/expsearch/nrdc.html.
Council of Chief State School Officers
The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is a nonpartisan, nationwide, nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in the states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions. CCSSO provides leadership, advocacy, and technical assistance on major educational issues. The Council seeks member consensus on major educational issues and expresses their views to civic and professional organizations, federal agencies, Congress, and the public. To find out more about the work of CCSSO and the resources it provides, go to http://www.ccsso.org/.
Education Commission of the States
The Education Commission of the States (ECS) is an interstate compact created in 1965 to improve public education by facilitating the exchange of information, ideas, and experiences among state policymakers and education leaders. As a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization involving key leaders from all levels of the education system, ECS creates unique opportunities to build partnerships, share information, and promote the development of policy based on available research and strategies. To find out more about the work of ECS and the resources it provides, go to http://www.ecs.org/.