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PLAN Pilot


To facilitate sustainable changes in school culture, schools participating in the PLAN Pilot will work together in networks to learn and support each other in successfully implementing performance-based learning and assessment practices.


There are several promising school models in which performance-based learning and assessment (PBLA) is a key component that provides authentic measures of student readiness and informs teaching, learning, and school culture in ways that support high-quality instructional practices, advance deeper learning, and strengthen family and community engagement.  In New York State, these promising models correspond to three types of PBLA approaches:

  1. Career & Technical Education and Work-Based Learning: School networks and regional hubs that are implementing high-quality career and technical education and work-based learning in ways that prepare students for success in the workplace;
  2. Inquiry-Based Approaches with Learner Profiles: School networks that use inquiry-based pedagogical approaches and assessments, designed around a learner profile, to measure students' individual performance on specified objectives; and
  3. Project-Based Learning and Performance-Based Assessment Tasks: School networks that use a project-based learning approach and practitioner-developed performance-based assessment tasks to determine student progress.

The PLAN Pilot will study how best to support networks of schools and educators in shifting their instructional practices and improving school culture in a way that better prepares ALL students for college, career, and civic success. All three promising approaches to PBLA ("PBLA Focus Areas") are being studied through the PLAN Pilot. Each Pilot Network will adopt, adapt, and learn from successful models operating in one of the focus areas, and be supported by a PLAN Technical Assistance Center (TAC) that specializes in that focus area. To learn more about the purpose of the PLAN Pilot, and how it fits into the broader PLAN Program, see the FAQs on our Program Description webpage.

For information on how to apply to participate in the pilot, visit our Applying to Become a PLAN Pilot School webpage. Click here to watch a 2-minute trailer on the purpose of this program.

Subscribe to the PLAN Pilot listserv to be notified when the Mentor School applications become available.

Supports and Professional Learning for Pilot Schools

By participating in this project, schools, districts, and BOCES will have the opportunity to:

  • Participate in a Multi-School Network

Each Pilot School will be part of a Pilot Network where they will be supported by and learn together with their peers and other experts in performance-based learning and assessment (PBLA).

  • Engage in High-Quality Professional Learning Experiences

Educators in Pilot Schools will receive both school-based and network-wide training and professional development, as well as participate in a Community of Practice that engages in the Plan-Do-Study-Act Cycle to increase and continuously improve their capacity to develop and use high-quality, performance-based approaches to learning and assessment. The focus of this professional learning will be on helping teachers and school leaders make the shifts in practice necessary to effectively implement PBLA in their schools.

  • Learn from Partners with Expertise in Performance-Based Assessment

Teachers and leaders from Pilot Schools will be able to engage in professional learning experiences and see first-hand the instructional shifts that they will need to make in their own schools and classrooms.

Supports for Pilot Schools

A primary objective of the pilot program is to determine how best to support New York educators in implementing PBLA. Through the PLAN Pilot, NYSED will help pilot schools build capacity at the school, community, and network levels by providing professional learning experiences, mentorship, peer support networks, communities of practice, and a supportive policy environment, as well as working with pilot school educators to explore additional supports needed.

NYSED was awarded nearly $3 million from the US Department of Education's Competitive Grants for State Assessments program to fund the PLAN Program, and the majority of that funding is earmarked to support professional learning for educators over the four-year grant period, in three key areas of capacity-building:

  1. Build a strong, broad, and shared knowledge base on PBLA among teachers, schools, leaders, and other stakeholders;
  2. Provide expert professional learning providers experienced in PBLA to support teachers and leaders during PLAN Pilot implementation; and
  3. Build facilitative leadership within and across the PLAN Pilot Networks that engages entire school communities in transitioning to a performance-driven school culture.

Educators in Pilot Schools will receive direct training, professional development, coaching, and resources so that they can re-orient their instructional cultures and assessment practices in ways that are responsive to diverse learning communities and engaging for educators and students alike. NYSED will also support professional learning providers in assisting Pilot School leaders to develop school transition plans and budgets that will support this work in a sustainable way.

Professional learning providers will work in partnership with NYSED staff to provide technical assistance and professional learning to PLAN Pilot Schools, Mentor Schools, and Networks, through the operation of Technical Assistance Centers (TACs). Pursuant to a Request for Proposals process, NYSED intends to award contracts in Fall 2023 for professional learning providers to operate the TACs.

What Will Be Required of Pilot Schools?

Pilot Schools will be required to re-orient their instructional cultures to incorporate performance-based learning and assessment (PBLA) in ways that are culturally responsive and engaging for educators and students alike. This will include:

  • Adopting, adapting, and implementing an evidence-based performance assessment model, including collaborating within the Pilot Network to design, develop, and implement performance-based assessments and scoring and evaluation rubrics.
  • Forming school-based transition teams that include school leaders, teachers, support staff, and students who will strategize, guide, and support the transition, including designating: (a) a Transition Leader who will serve as a single point of contact for their peer Pilot Schools, Mentor School(s), and Professional Learning Provider(s), and (b) a Research Liaison who will work with the research coordinator and the evaluation team.
  • Instituting ongoing professional learning experiences and training for teachers, support staff, and school leaders on developing performance assessments, interpreting the results, and using them to better support teaching and learning. The focus of professional learning experiences will be on necessary shifts in practice for effective implementation.
    • For teachers, key shifts include:
      • Adopting, adapting, and/or designing rubrics across the curriculum and revising them as needed;
      • Establishing inter-rater reliability;
      • Evaluating both student work and the assigned tasks;
      • Making learning goals transparent to students and families;
      • Collaborating on linked learning activities/assignments; and
      • Other curricular and instructional shifts necessary to implement specific evidence-based PBLA models with efficacy in their classrooms.
    • For school leaders, key shifts include:
      • Fostering facilitative leadership and collaborative teaching practices;
      • Modifying school schedules, budgets, and resource allocations to support PBLA; and
      • Designing professional learning experiences and opportunities that support implementation of PBLA with efficacy for the students attending their school.
  • Developing educator, family/caregiver, and student engagement plans that encompass the following elements:
    • Using accessible and responsive measures to assess stakeholder understanding of and buy-in to PBLA;
    • Implementing strategies to provide personalized feedback and reporting on performance tasks;
    • Providing opportunities for families/caregivers and members of their school communities to view student performances;
    • Providing workshops on interpreting student performance assessment results;
    • Forming local stakeholder committees in the communities where the Pilot Schools are located that will include representation from local educators, policymakers, and community-based organizations of parents and advocates, and be designed to help Pilot Schools shape performance-based assessment processes that are transparent and reflect and extend local community assets, cultures, and commitments.
  • Forming and participating in Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) within their schools as well as Communities of Practice (CoPs) with other schools in their network that are implementing the same PBLA model(s).
Background and Considerations for Pilot School Selection

In May 2023, NYSED project staff released a survey to the field to solicit feedback on the design of the PLAN Pilot school application process. The survey was accompanied by information on pilot participation requirements and additional considerations for pilot school selection, informed by the work of the PLAN School Readiness Workgroup. NYSED received almost 50 responses to the survey, which were analyzed by project staff and used to inform the development of pilot school application questions and guidance. To read the background information, visit the NYSED PLAN Pilot School Application Process Background and Considerations webpage.