Principal Research Scientist

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Date: Sep 15, 2023

Location: US

Company: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Job Requisition ID: 18714

Additional Locations: 

Principal Research Scientist- Machine Learning


Remote (work may be done from any state in the U.S.)


NWEA® is a division of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt that supports students and educators through research, assessment solutions, policy and advocacy services, professional learning and school improvement services that fight for equity, drive classroom impact and push for systemic change in our educational communities. For nearly 50 years, NWEA has developed innovative pre-K–12 assessments, including their flagship interim assessment, MAP® Growth™ and their reading fluency and comprehension assessment, MAP® Reading Fluency™. For more information, visit to learn more.


HMH’s Learning Science Engineering Team’s mission is to build the best scientific products designed to support educators and student by working at the intersection of learning science, measurement, and machine intelligence. We are seeking a skilled Principal Research Scientist to lead the development of recommendation models that will empower our platform to deliver tailored and effective learning paths. The ideal candidate will combine deep expertise in psychometrics, machine learning, statistics, and MLOps (Machine Learning Operations).


As a Principal Research Scientist, you will play a pivotal role in designing, implementing, and maintaining ML models to enhance the efficacy of our content and platform. You will provide technical leadership for a small team of research scientists and ML engineers to drive innovation amongst one of the largest product portfolios in K12 education. You thrive in an entrepreneurial, collaborative, creative environment that moves fast and are comfortable setting in place workflows, structures, and processes to help the team scale.



  • Lead and own ML projects from conception to delivery.
  • Work with stakeholders to translate business problems into tractable questions and formal hypotheses that can be modelled efficiently.
  • Collaborate closely with cross-functional teams, including software engineers, data engineers, and domain experts, to define requirements and implement solutions that align with business goals.
  • Understand the K12 teaching and learning domain and know how to model it
  • Drive innovation by researching and experimenting with state-of-the-art techniques in knowledge tracing and personalized learning.
  • Develop and maintain scalable and efficient MLOps pipelines for model training, deployment, monitoring, and maintenance.
  • Lead a small team of research scientists and ML engineers, providing technical mentorship, project guidance, and fostering a culture of continuous learning.
  • Evaluate model performance and make evidence based decisions for model improvements.


What You'll Need to be Successfull:

  • A Master’s in statistics, educational measurement, quantitative psychology, computer science, economics, or related field.
  • Proven experience (7+ years) in developing and deploying machine learning models, particularly in the context of knowledge tracing, recommendation systems, or educational technology.
  • Previous experience leading teams and mentoring junior team members.
  • Deep expertise in machine learning frameworks like TensorFlow, PyTorch, or scikit-learn.
  • Hands-on experience with MLOps tools and practices, including continuous integration, continuous deployment
  • A strong understanding of statistics.
  • Ability to explain concepts, write and present results to both technical and non-technical audiences


Nice to Have:

  • A PhD in statistics, educational measurement, quantitative psychology, computer science, economics, or related field.
  • Experience with knowledge graphs, knowledge tracing and/or recommendation systems.
  • Experience with education data or causal inference.


Salary: $150,000 - $160,000 (bonus eligible)


Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is a global learning company dedicated to changing people’s lives by fostering passionate, curious learners. As a leading provider of pre-K–12 education content, services, and cutting-edge technology solutions across a variety of media, HMH enables learning in a changing landscape. HMH is uniquely positioned to create engaging and effective educational content and experiences from early childhood to beyond the classroom.  HMH serves more than 50 million students in over 150 countries worldwide.

For more information, visit  


PLEASE NOTE:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) is fully committed to Equal Employment Opportunity and to attracting, retaining, developing and promoting the most qualified employees without regard to race, gender, color, religion, sexual orientation, family status, marital status, pregnancy, gender identity, ethnic/national origin, ancestry, age, disability, military status, genetic predisposition, citizenship status, status as a disabled veteran, recently separated veteran, Armed Forces service medal veteran, other covered veteran, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local law. We are dedicated to providing a work environment free from discrimination and harassment, and where employees are treated with respect and dignity. We actively participate in E-Verify.




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