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​The Research Department’s primary goal is to understand and analyze the policies and programs implemented by ISBE.   In line with ISBE's Strategic Plan, the work of the Research Department examines  data pertaining to student learning, learning conditions, and the educator pipeline. The four key areas of focus are Assessment, Elevating Educators, Resource Allocation, and State Systems of Support. Projects undertaken by the department vary widely but are rooted in supporting ISBE to fulfill its broader mission to “provide each and every child with safe and healthy learning conditions, great educators, and equitable opportunities by practicing data-informed stewardship of resources and police development, all done in partnership with educators, families, and stakeholders."

Our work is steered by the four principles that guide every decision at ISBE: Equity, Quality, Collaboration, and Community. The department uses research tools to support the state's equity goals by evaluating the policies, programs, and practices in place throughout the state. In doing this, we continue to affirm the strengths of all children and to deliver research on the comprehensive support, programs, and educational opportunities they need to thrive and succeed.

We believe in conveying information truthfully with verifiable methods, following accepted research and ethical codes and norms, employing the scientific method, and utilizing qualitative and quantitative data to uncover facts that speak for themselves and are reported precisely. We acknowledge that research relies upon the trust and confidence of the research community and public at large.

The Research Department partners with external agencies and other departments within ISBE to formulate research questions, understand trends, and analyze the work being done across the state. The department works with the other Research and Evaluation Center departments, including Data Strategies and Analytics, Software Solutions, and Assessment, to refine research questions and help to understand the data used across the center. In addition, the department works closely with other program offices when developing research proposals. See the description of each of the four key areas of focus and some of the projects the department is working on.

 Four Key Focus Areas

Assessment: The Research Department is responsible for measuring student learning via assessments and examining factors that foster or impede schools' abilities to positively impact student performance.
  • Annual Report: Study of Illinois Assessment
  • Projects: Kindergarten Individual Development Survey, Special Education Assessment of Student Achievement, COVID-19 Student Learning Study

Elevating Educators: Examining the educator pipeline, licensing requirements, professional development, and various other topics is essential to gaining a deeper understanding of the work and experiences of educators across the state.

  • Annual Report: Elevating Educators: Teacher Shortages, Recruitment, and Retention in Illinois
  • Projects: Bilingual Education, COVID-19 Licensure Exemptions

Resource Allocation: Understanding state funding mechanisms and how resources are spread across the state is critical to the agency's goal of providing the comprehensive supports, programs, and educational opportunities all students need to succeed.

  • Annual Report: Evidence-Based Funding (EBF) Formula and Student Achievement
  • Projects: Fiscal and Academic Solvency, EBF Enrollment Projections

State Systems of Support: The Research Department is working to understand the effectiveness of varied supports offered by the state to underperforming schools and districts, thus maintaining ISBE's focus on ensuring that all students have equal access to a high-quality education.

  • Annual Report: IL-EMPOWER
  • Projects: IL-EMPOWER Logic Model​

 Additional Projects

Short-term Projects: From time to time, the Research Department is asked to work on a short-term research project with various internal or external stakeholders. These projects are ad hoc and generally a one-time occurrence. The research focus for these projects can vary greatly.
  • Recent Projects: Educator Supply and Demand, Black History Curriculum Survey, Early Childhood Inclusion ​​


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