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 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.
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 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.
Find Out More
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 […]Learn More
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 […]Learn More
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.Learn More
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 […]Learn More
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 […]Learn More
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 […]Learn More
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.Learn More
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.Learn More
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.Learn More
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.Learn More
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