The Institute for Education and Social Policy (IESP) conducts non-partisan scientific research about U.S. education and related social policy issues to help inform educational institutions and policymakers about the effectiveness of instructional programs, the impact of school reform initiatives and the relationships between academic achievement, school finance and socio-economic and demographic factors such as poverty, ethnicity and immigration status. Faculty, research staff and doctoral students at IESP share an interest and commitment to educational improvement. Current research topics include school finance, education of poor, non-white and immigrant students, small schools, after school programs, school accountability, teacher labor markets, school reform, and relationships among schools, neighborhoods and the health, housing and work patterns of communities.

IESP researchers and faculty publish articles on their findings in professional journals and books and write comprehensive evaluation reports to inform policymakers about educational improvements. IESP hosts conferences and seminars that explore current issues in educational research or related areas and that help disseminate research findings with immediate policy relevance.

IESP specializes in quantitative analyses of large administrative and national databases, evaluations of important education innovations and interventions, longitudinal studies of changes over time that combine data from disparate sources, and purposeful use of qualitative methods to promote knowledge of important but difficult to measure attributes such as leadership and context. IESP researchers are trained in econometrics, evaluation methodology, qualitative methods, and survey design; they are skilled communicators to both academic and practitioner audiences.

IESP, a part of the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, was founded in 1995 as a partnership between Steinhardt, the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.