Ask a Researcher makes it easy for educators to get trusted, research-based answers to questions about real education challenges.

We collect questions from real educators who are looking for new ways to support students in their classrooms. The answers to those questions, developed in partnership with Usable Knowledge at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, can provide the first steps for using research to improve student learning.

Do digital learning materials improve student achievement?

Not always — but the real potential may lie in enhancing engagement, not necessarily achievement

How can educators help students gain confidence in mathematics and see themselves as “math people”?

Embrace errors as learning, emphasize reasoning, and relate math to student strengths

How can school leaders model acceptance of bilingualism, and understand it as a right for students?

Listen to students and families; recognize that bilingualism can foster academic success and authentic expression

What is the most effective instructional model to maximize middle and high school literacy development?

Clarify your instructional purpose; choose the right strategies to help students KNOW, DO, and UNDERSTAND

What type of academic vocabulary instruction is most effective for ELL students?

Vocabulary instruction — explicit teaching and guided practice — should be consistent across all instructional formats