The Institute is organized into four major units, namely, research and publications unit, test and measurement services unit, graduate program unit and administration.

Research and Publications Unit

The Research Unit coordinates the research activities of the Institute. Currently, the Institute conducts thematic research on quality of education structured in five thematic areas, namely Early Childhood Care and Education, Primary Education, Secondary Education, Technical and Vocational Education and Training and Higher Education. IER has research and testing collaborations with national organizations such as the Ministry of Education, Higher Education Quality Assurance Agency, the Ministry of Health, Addis Ababa City Administration Education Bureau, the Ethiopian Science Academy and International consultants such as the Creative Associates International, Washington-based research consultants and Coffey International Development, UK-based research consultants. The Institute is also actively involved in the network of African-Asian Universities Dialogue (AA-Dialogue) involving twenty eight universities from sixteen countries. The Institute has completed one research project as a member of this network and is currently conducting another research project.

The Publication Unit is responsible for the publication and dissemination of The Ethiopian Journal of Education (EJE); The Ethiopian Journal of Higher Education (EJHE); IER Flambeau; IER Newsletter; Workshop proceedings; and Other Issues (book of abstract and fliers).

Test and Measurement Services Unit

The Test and Measurement Services Unit has the following major duties: Preparing the National University Entrance Examination that serves for the placement of students in government higher education institutions, developing tests for the qualification of distance offering institutions; preparing  new local tests for use in research; personnel selection, promotion and training; providing testing services to public and private organizations including the Human Resource Management of Addis Ababa University; conducting periodic review of local tests; serving as an agent of test administration for international testing institutions such as ETS (TOEFL, GRE, SAT) and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).

Graduate Programs Unit

In September 2005, the Institute launched a graduate program in Educational Research and Development. Currently the Institute runs an MA program in the regular, extension and summer programs as well as a PhD program.  In the Graduate Program Unit, the Institute runs MA and PhD programs in Educational Research and Development. In its MA program, it has the capacity to enroll a total of 150 students in the regular, extension and summer programs and a capacity of enrolling ten students in its PhD program.

The Administration Unit

The Administration Unit is headed by an assistant administrator and follows up all the daily activities of the Institute. The Institute’s library is under the Administration Unit and serves the PhD and graduate students of the university and external students, who come from different universities and colleges to do their research. The library has a capacity to serve 30 users at a time and over 8000 users are being served in a year. It has a collection of 4000 books, 100 journals, 2889 MA theses and 3500 documents on education. The library also provides Internet services to IER PhD and MA students of the regular, extension, and summer programs.

The Institute has ten academic staff members, eight of whom have PhDs and two are currently PhD students. Most of the academic staff members have rich experience of university teaching and research ranging from 40 years to seven years.