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Research Report

Piloting New Curricular Programs

September 7, 2023

Key Insights

Piloting new programs in the K-12 space is a challenging feat. Piloting a new curricular program is the process of introducing the new planned curriculum on a small scale to select schools to evaluate the feasibility of the program before large-scale implementation. At the K-12 level, this may occur due to alterations or additions made to the state curricular standards. Piloting a new program is a multi-step process and requires using the input of teachers and other data sources to measure success. Our research team reviewed the literature regarding best practices for piloting new curricular programs. The goal of this report was to create a consistent, unbiased protocol and evaluation system for piloting new programs using student achievement. The steps provided are intended to apply generally to various curricular pilot rollouts.

Our researchers found that providing consistent offerings of teacher professional development increased the likelihood of a pilot’s success. It was also important that district administrators have clear and concrete metrics of success, so they are then able to measure said goals with the pilot data acquired. It is also salient to note that piloting a program is only the first step in rolling out a larger initiative. In the initial process of developing and planning how the pilot will be implemented, districts should similarly describe their ideal end-state once the pilot is to scale.

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