Research Scientist, Learning Sciences and Computational Thinking

Digital Promise - San Mateo, California - Full time

About Digital Promise GlobalDigital Promise Global is an independent, bipartisan 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization authorized by Congress to spur innovation in education for all levels of learners. Positioned at the intersection of educators, entrepreneurs, and researchers, Digital Promise identifies, develops, and promotes strategies to improve all levels of education and provide Americans with the knowledge and skills needed to compete in the global economy. Digital Promise is a fast-paced, growing, entrepreneurial organization that values and rewards performance, collaboration, and innovation.

About the PositionDigital Promise Global is seeking a researcher for the Learning Sciences Research (LSR) team to work on research and evaluation projects that investigate the use of digital technology. The candidate should have a strong background in the learning sciences and should be able to write about advanced technology use grounded in the learning sciences for wide audiences and especially teacher audiences. ideally, the candidate would have the necessary background to support computational thinking and introductory computer science learning. The schools in which the LSR team works are predominantly within low-income and/ or underserved settings. We are seeking candidates who have an interest in and commitment to equitable access to high-quality STEM learning among children, a key value of Digital Promise. This interest in equitable education ought to be matched with experience that demonstrates empathy and effective communication with a range of communities.

Digital Promise intends to build more research-practice partnerships (RPPs) among educational leaders, practitioners, and the wider LSR research team. An understanding of how schools work and function and how to help RPPs succeed is desirable. In relation to CT, candidates ought to understand competencies that underpin computational thinking as a practice, and how CT can be integrated into other academic disciplines, including science, mathematics, and language arts, among other subjects. More widely, LSR also conducts evaluations for other research projects and educational technology developers. The candidate should be skilled at working on multiple projects simultaneously and in working as a member of diverse teams. As noted in the responsibilities and qualifications listed below, experience conducting project evaluation using qualitative and quantitative methods is required, as is experience using a variety of research designs.

The research scientist will be a member of the Learning Sciences Research group. The group proposes and conducts learning science research projects with partner organizations and networks of schools. The LSR group regularly works with staff from other parts of Digital Promise on projects to advance learning research that promotes ethical, effective, and equitable outcomes at scale. We value working in partnership with educators, taking an improvement orientation, using technology to add meaning and value to learning experiences, emphasizing the potential for deep and lasting impacts from research, and communicating research effectively.


  • Lead research tasks with an understanding of the larger project context, including giving direction to others as needed.
  • Apply knowledge of qualitative and quantitative social science methods to plan data collections, outcome specification and analysis, develop findings and insights, and to recommend improvements to programs and methods.
  • Understand and contribute to progress on diversity, equity and inclusion goals within projects and in the research group
  • Work effectively with K-12 teachers and students, especially in diverse and underserved settings; conduct interviews, observations, and focus groups
  • Contribute in meetings with partners and funders
  • Author well-structured, clear and concise research reports
  • Write sections of proposals that describe how research tasks would be conducted to generate sound and useful knowledge, or other necessary proposal elements
  • Participate in an appropriate professional community, outside of Digital Promise
  • Communicate about research to relevant audiences, in both informal and professional venues


  • Doctorate in learning sciences, curriculum & instruction, learning technologies, educational assessment or a related field with strong research emphasis. Master's Degree with 10+ years of research experience will also be considered.
  • Experience with mixed methods research (qualitative and quantitative)
  • Experience working with teachers leading professional development or learning experiences
  • Experience working with underserved students
  • Understands how to support a range of student learning needs and how schools support students with IEPs
  • Familiarity or experience with Research-Practice Partnerships with school districts desired.
  • Familiarity with improving implementation in a school district setting desired
  • Strong writing skills, evidenced by writing samples
  • Strong oral communication skills
  • Ability to travel as needed to research sites.

At Digital Promise, we also seek candidates with:

  • A demonstrated commitment to improving education for students who have historically been underserved.
  • Experience collaborating and communicating with cross-functional team members to ensure information is shared, projects are completed on time, and goals are reached.
  • Stellar organizational skills and attention to detail.
  • Ability to work independently in a fast-paced environment and manage competing tasks, deadlines, requirements, and decisions.
  • Willingness to take initiative and see tasks through to completion.
  • A passion for education, a team mentality, creativity, and a positive “can-do,” “yes-and” spirit.

CompensationSalary and benefits will be commensurate with experience.

To ApplyPlease apply and submit your resume, cover letter, and salary requirements. Applicants are encouraged to submit their materials as soon as possible. Review will be on a rolling basis until the search is successful.

Digital Promise is an equal opportunity employer and considers all applications without regard to race, color, religion, creed, gender, national origin, age, disability, marital or veteran status, sexual orientation, or any other legally protected status.

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Experience Level

Mid Level

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