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What We Fund

We believe that educational approaches that support authentic, challenging, active and relevant learning experiences can only happen via teachers and students. Our design-based research approach centers on teachers’ needs and their involvement as essential partners in a variety of classroom and community settings. We aim to conduct research on programs that may be adapted to meet the needs of the local, national and global context in order to empower student voices and support the wealth of diversity in the classroom as a resource for learning.

By combining qualitative and quantitative research methods in a carefully structured, three-phased research approach, we are committed to giving educators the confidence and guidance for taking innovative instructional practices to scale.

LER’s Grant Types

Development Grants

Development grants are awarded to educational researchers who propose a compelling and innovative approach to teaching and learning (authenticity, disciplinary rigor, active and relevant learning experiences, clearly articulated adult learning theory, etc.). Such proposals require time in the field to implement early prototypes with expert practitioners who assist in the codesign and redesign of the programs and practices based on the field research trials. These evidence based improvements allow for the development of a minimal viable program. It is expected that these awards will require 2-4 years of implementation.

Replications Grants

Replication grants are awarded to educational researchers who have established an evidence base of promising programs and/or practices with a clearly defined minimal viable program that is ready for further study in new contexts. The primary objectives of the replication grant are to evaluate the implementation of the programs and practices with a broad array of students and in various school settings. Such research may result in further refinements to the program and practices, including the professional learning for teachers. In this way, the replication grant is designed to prepare the program for a rigorous large-scale study. In addition, the replication study may attend to system-level enablers of and barriers to the successful implementation of the innovation. It is expected that replication awards will require 1-3 years of field research.

Validation Grants

Validation grants are awarded to educational researchers who have a demonstrated history of conducting large-scale research trials, with cutting-edge technical knowledge related to the most current research methodology and extensive experience with school recruitment, including incentives for active and sustained participation. Such awards are typically granted for three years.

View all Grant Awards (11)

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Research

Motivating Teaching, Sustaining Change in Practice

Miller, E.C., Severance, S., and Krajcik, J. (2021). Motivating Teaching, Sustaining Change in Practice: Design Principles for Teacher Learning in Project-Based Learning Contexts, Journal of Science Teacher Education, 32:7, 757-779 In A Framework for K-12 Science Education, researchers call for teachers to make dramatic shifts in practice – and sustain in these changes in practice […]

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Research

Knowledge in Action Efficacy Study Over Two Years

Saavedra, A.R., Liu Y., Haderlein, S.K., Rapaport, A., Garland, M., Hoepfner, D., Morgan, K.L., & Hu, A. (February 2021). Knowledge in Action Efficacy Study Over Two Years. USC Dornsife Center for Economic and Social Research.  Knowledge in Action is a project-based learning approach to Advanced Placement. Developers designed KIA intervention—comprised of curriculum, instructional materials, and […]

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Research

Project-Based Learning Digital Toolkit

New research demonstrates that students in Project-Based Learning (PBL) classrooms across the United States significantly outperform students in typical classrooms. 

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Research

Rigorous Project-Based Learning is a Powerful Lever for Improving Equity

Lucas Education Research. (2021). Rigorous Project-Based Learning is a Powerful Lever for Improving Equity. Lucas Education Research. Persistent disparities in opportunities to learn between students from different socioeconomic, racial, and ethnic backgrounds serve as stark reminders that our schools, which reflect what is happening in society, are not meeting the needs of all youth equally […]

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Research

The Evidence is Clear: Rigorous Project-Based Learning is an Effective Lever for Student Success

Lucas Education Research. (2021). The Evidence is Clear: Rigorous Project-Based Learning is an Effective Lever for Student Success. Lucas Education Research. Four newly released peer-reviewed research studies show that using rigorous project-based learning in U.S. public schools has strong and positive effects on student outcomes across grades and subjects. Project-based learning (PBL) is an inquiry-based […]

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Research

Enabling Conditions for Scaling Project-Based Learning

Zuckerbrod, N., De Vivo, K., and Udall, D. (2021). Enabling Conditions for Scaling Project-Based Learning. Lucas Education Research. This paper reviews the work of the Enabling Conditions Collaboratory (ECC), a team of researchers that looked across research projects to study the conditions that support the success of project-based learning. The researchers found that student engagement […]

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Research

Project-Based Learning Boosts Student Achievement in AP Courses

This brief examines the findings of a study conducted by researchers at the University of Southern California examining a project-based approach to Advanced Placement courses.

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Research

Five Characteristics of Project-Based Learning

Four newly released, peer-reviewed research studies show that rigorous project-based learning (PBL) has a strong, positive impact on student outcomes. Although the four PBL courses that the researchers studied cover different subjects and grades and vary in their approaches, they do share common characteristics.

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Research

Project-Based Learning Leads to Gains in Science and Other Subjects in Middle School and Benefits All Learners

This research brief highlights the findings of a study looking at the impact of a project-based approach to science instruction in middle school.

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Research Award

Multiple Literacies in Project-Based Learning

Multiple Literacies in Project-Based Learning is a 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade science program developed by the University of Michigan and Michigan State University.

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