Research Based Product

New York, NY (March, 7, 2022) Read to Lead, an edtech nonprofit that helps students develop literacy and leadership skills, announced today they have officially earned the Research-Based Design Product Certification from Digital Promise. The Product Certification serves as a rigorous, reliable signal for district and school administrators, educators, and families looking for evidence of research-based edtech products that are based in research about learning. 

Read to Lead submitted evidence to Digital Promise confirming a link between research on how students learn and the product’s design. “We’re looking at quantitative data holistically to understand organizational learning at a higher level,” shared Juliana Hess, Director of Research and Learning Design at Read to Lead. 

Hess described the building process at Read to Lead as a “backwards-facing investigation,” where the end result is determined first and the steps to get there are found in reverse: “What outcomes do we want for students? How are we measuring those outcomes? What tools do we use to make those measurements?” Meaningful answers to these questions would be impossible to find without diving into the existing research on learning. Doing so gives confidence to all stakeholders—developers, educators, and investors alike—that the product is both relevant to student needs and at the forefront of educational innovation.

“Educators and researchers continue to uncover important insights about how people learn,” said Christina Luke Luna, senior director of lifelong learning pathways at Digital Promise. “Digital Promise’s Research-Based Design Product Certification recognizes the edtech products that incorporate research about learning into their design and development. Congratulations to the Read to Lead team for demonstrating that research informs product design!” 

Through Product Certifications, consumers can narrow their options as they select products based on research about learning before trying it out in their classrooms. Digital Promise launched the Research-Based Design Product Certification in February 2020 and has certified over 50 products to date. 

The Research-Based Design Product Certification uses a competency-based learning framework, developed in consultation with Digital Promise’s Learner Variability Project advisory board, expert researchers in the Learning Sciences field, and nearly 50 educators across the United States. Further detail about its development can be found in Digital Promise’s report, “Designing Edtech that Matters for Learning: Research-Based Design Product Certifications. 

All developers, educators, edtech investors, and families are also encouraged to sign the Research-Based Product Promise and demand high-quality, research-driven products that support each unique learner. More information on Digital Promise’s Product Certifications can be found at

About Read to Lead

Read to Lead uses the power of game-based learning to empower middle school students to build literacy, life, and career skills. Teachers can sign up for a free account to get started!