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Research and Analysis Unit (RandA)

On behalf of the IEA, the Research and Analysis Unit (RandA) conducts research, analysis, training, support and consultancy activities in the field of large-scale assessments (LSA) in education. RandA aims at improving the science of large-scale assessments, promoting the proper use of data from IEA studies, and stimulating high quality research related with IEA data. In addition, RandA promotes the link between research, policy and practice by expanding and disseminating knowledge as the source of evidence-based policy in order to improve education.

Research and analysis

RandA interests are related to methodological research encompassing for example single, multilevel and latent modeling, item response theory, measurement invariance testing, sampling procedures, weighting approaches and variance estimation for complex samples. Furthermore, staff members of RandA conduct educational content-related research. Topics of interest involve, amongst others, school and educational effectiveness, teaching and learning at school, social justice and inequality, cross-cultural comparisons, determinants of mathematics, science and reading literacy, civics and citizenship education, computer and information literacy and educational policy research

RandA researchers work in collaboration with a cross-institutional and cross-cultural network of educational researchers worldwide. Research findings are presented at international conferences and disseminated through peer-reviewed journals. RandA also liaises with ETS (Educational Testing Service) via the IEA/ETS Research Institute.

The goals of RandA’s research projects are to:

  1. contribute to the field of educational research
    • by conducting theory driven cross-cultural comparisons with LSA data
    • through dissemination of research findings tailored to various audiences
    • through cross-institutional and cross-cultural research cooperation

  2. inform educational policy makers, stakeholders and practitioners by providing empirical information that helps to
    • identify areas of concern and action
    • develop and improve the capacity of education systems

  3. improve the methods used for analyzing LSA data providing guidelines, solutions and methodological advise as well as developing standards
    • through empirical (simulation) studies testing pioneering methods

by audience-friendly publication style for presenting complex empirical analysis.

Trainings

Based on their experience in a range of different methods of instrument development, data collection and analysis in LSA, staff in the RandA Unit provides comprehensive and competent advice. Trainings covering various topics related to the science of LSA and statistical data analysis are offered at international education conferences, like AERA and CIES, and on-demand on a regular basis.

Support and consultancy

Methodological support and consultancy is offered by RandA staff for researchers and other interested audiences. In order to support and simplify the handling of statistical analysis with complex data, RandA staff developed the IEA’s IDB Analyzer (available for free download) which offers a user-friendly interface for LSA data analysis and gets augmented with new functionalities on a regular basis.

Further consultancy activities offered to stakeholders in education aim to build capacities for country participation in international comparative studies or the development of national assessments to enable or improve educational monitoring.

RandA staff

Unit Head

Sabine Meinck

Deputy Unit Head

Plamen Mirazchyiski

Research Analysts

Eugenio J. Gonzalez

Nathalie Mertes

Research Assistants

Adeoye Oyekan

Publications using IEA data within the academic field

IEA dissemination activities contain the production of international and national study reports in collaboration with involved partners. Through these reports the IEA aims to inform education policy makers and researchers presenting comparative broad scope results in a general and descriptive fashion. These reports can be downloaded from the IEA official website. IEA data sets however comprise tremendous amounts of information beyond these findings and are therefore widely used for secondary analysis within the academic field of educational research. Academic papers are typically more focused, use sophisticated and complex analytical techniques, and address very specific research questions. For policy-makers, education managers, teachers, teacher trainers, curriculum developers, and others with a shared aim for educational improvement, the outcomes of secondary analyses conducted by RandA staff and other scholars within the academic field help to deepen the scientific knowledge on education and to bridge the gap between research, policy, and practice.

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