DRDC engages in a variety of activities, one of which is evaluation research and training. The following are some of the initiatives completed as part of this DRDC program.
- The Center for Education (CFE), a relatively new unit at the National Academies, was established in 1999 as an umbrella organization for standing boards and committees dealing with education within the Academies. One of the provisions of a 2001 National Science Foundation grant that provided five years of core support to the Center was the requirement that CFE evaluate its strategic plans, management and operations, and the impact of its activities and products. This report constitutes an assessment of CFE by a team of researchers at the University of Chicago and at NORC's Data Research and Development Center (DRDC) who conducted an independent, external evaluation of the Center. Authorized users can access source materials for the report here.
- The DRDC was established in 2002 through a cooperative agreement with NSF to support, strengthen, and disseminate high quality research funded under the Interagency Education Research Initiative (IERI). In many ways DRDC was a new model for the agency; its technical assistance and community building activities were designed to assist individual IERI projects while building capacity and leveraging the broader impacts of the program as a whole. Similarly, DRDC's research activities complemented yet transcended the IERI program’s substantive emphasis on the scalability of interventions. A 2004 proposal for a supplementary award included a request for funds to evaluate the impact of DRDC. This Self Study describes the goals, methodology, and results of our evaluation of DRDC, and offers recommendations based on the Center's experiences for the establishment and evaluation of future programmatic support initiatives.
- As part of DRDC’s cooperative agreement with NSF, the Center was asked to conduct a needs assessment to identify the technical assistance requirements of the IERI community. Providing such technical assistance tailored to meet the particular needs of IERI investigators was an integral component of DRDC operations. The Needs Assessment Report contains analyses of the in-depth interviews that provided DRDC with valuable information about the kinds of technical assistance that would be most helpful and the methods of delivery that would be most effective. These findings also directed the Center’s efforts to build capacity, to facilitate communication within the IERI community, and to scale up demonstrably effective educational interventions.