Skip to main content

Program Description

The Performance-Based Learning and Assessment Networks (PLAN) Pilot aims to help New York explore the conditions and supports schools need to transition to a research-based comprehensive assessment strategy designed to communicate feedback to students, parents, faculty, and the community, and to improve the quality of education.

In the PLAN Pilot, NYSED will seek to deepen the connection between assessment and quality teaching, learning, curriculum, and instruction. This initiative will look to match promising models for high-quality teaching, learning, and assessment strategies with participating pilot schools interested in multiple ways for students to demonstrate their mastery of learning standards.

Flyer to the Field, 2022


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How does NYSED define "Performance-Based Learning and Assessment", and how does it fit into New York's statewide assessment strategy?

NYSED developed a Fact Sheet to provide information on what performance-based learning and assessment (PBLA) is, and how it fits into New York's statewide assessment strategy.  Check out the fact sheet for information on the following questions:

  1. What are some key attributes of performance-based approaches to teaching, learning, and assessment?
  2. What is performance-based assessment?
  3. How does performance-based assessment fit into an assessment strategy that includes multiple measures?
  4. What are different ways in which performance-based learning opportunities and assessments can be designed and used?
  5. What are some examples of types of performance-based assessment tasks?
What is the purpose of the PLAN Pilot?

This program seeks to explore the potential for our State’s educational assessment system to be reimagined in a way that purposefully fosters high-quality instructional opportunities, provides authentic measures of deeper learning, and better prepares students for college and the workplace. 

Complementing the Graduation Measures initiative, and through a partnership with researchers at the City University of New York, the PLAN Pilot will look at how performance-based assessment approaches can be implemented in a diverse range of schools, and how to support schools in making that transition.   

What is the timeline for the PLAN Pilot?

The PLAN Pilot will be implemented using a phased, multi-year approach, which began with a planning year in 2021-22.   NYSED will engage schools and educators across the state in professional learning experiences and outreach in the early phases of work to build statewide foundational knowledge of performance-based learning and assessment prior to launching an application process for schools interested in participating in the pilot.  The pilot study will culminate with a report and policy recommendations in 2027. 

See timeline graphic at this link: PLAN Pilot Phases of Work

If selected to participate, what would my school or district be asked to do?

While the specifics of the pilot design will be determined with expert guidance during the 2021-22 planning year, participation will entail forming a local stakeholder committee, modifying the instructional program, participating in the professional learning network, granting researchers access, and collecting and sharing quantitative and qualitative data.

The Department plans to support participating schools in creating local stakeholder committees of educators, policymakers, and community-based organizations of parents and advocates in communities where pilot schools are located, who can help shape performance-based assessments and processes that are transparent and reflect and extend local community assets, cultures, and commitments.

My school or district is interested in participating in this pilot. What steps should we take?
  1. Sign up for the PLAN Pilot listserv to stay up to date on pilot activities and next steps.
  2. School and district leaders should begin thinking about their readiness to participate:
    • Will there be local community support for participation, including interest in one or more of the model networks and willingness to commit for the 6-year duration of the pilot?
    • Will the majority of faculty be willing and able to participate in pilot activities?
    • Does the work of the PLAN Pilot align with the school district's mission, vision, and values?
  3. Begin conversations with school administrators, faculty, and parents around the ideas of the pilot.
  4. Watch recordings of the PLAN Pilot Webinar Series to learn about performance-based learning and assessment from national experts and New York State practitioners.
  5. Consider incorporating plenty of funding for professional development into the district's budget for the coming year.
What are the benefits of participating in this pilot?

By participating in this project, schools and districts 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.

  • 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 performance-based learning and assessment 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.

What role will BOCES and other school support networks such as S/CDN, RBERNs, and RPCs fulfill in this pilot?

We envision that BOCES and school support networks such as the Staff/Curriculum Development Network (S/CDN), Regional Bilingual Resource Networks (RBERNs), and Regional Partnership Centers (RPCs) will provide support and technical assistance to schools in their region - both to those that are interested in applying for the pilot and, eventually, to those selected to participate.

In 2023: We encourage representatives from BOCES and other support networks to engage in informational webinars, assist in sharing updates and resources with component districts, and prepare to support interested schools through the application process, including providing technical support assessing school readiness for transitioning to a performance-driven system of instruction and assessment.

In 2024 and beyond: We expect that BOCES, S/CDN, RBERNs, and RPCs will provide ongoing support to schools in their region that have been selected to participate in the pilot by, for example:

  • Participating in local stakeholder committees;
  • Collaborating in designing performance-based assessments reflective of local community needs and assets;
  • Supporting the development of school-based transition plans, as well as long-term district support plans; and
  • Encouraging your professional development specialists to complete training in performance-based assessment to build your capacity for this work, and then lead regional professional learning sessions themselves.
Will BOCES be able to apply to participate in the pilot?

Yes, a BOCES will be able to participate in the PLAN Pilot.

How will the PLAN Pilot support schools and teachers in transitioning to performance-based learning and assessment?

A primary objective of the pilot program is to determine how best to support New York educators in implementing performance-based learning and assessment.  Through the PLAN Pilot, NYSED will help pilot schools build capacity at the school, community, and network levels by providing supports such as 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 support the PLAN Pilot, 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 performance-based learning and assessment among teachers, schools, leaders, and other stakeholders;
  2. Provide expert professional development providers experienced in performance-based learning and assessment to support teachers and leaders during implementation; and
  3. Build facilitative leadership within and across the schools 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 development providers in assisting pilot school leaders to develop school transition plans and budgets that will support this work in a sustainable way.

Besides participating as a pilot school, what are other ways interested schools and educators can engage in this work?

NYSED is engaging schools and educators across the state in professional learning experiences to build statewide foundational knowledge of performance-based learning and assessment (PBLA), including launching a Webinar Series and forming Communities of Practice.

Educators and other stakeholders interested in engaging with peers and colleagues to improve teaching, learning, and student outcomes or learn more about PBLA may:

  • Participate in a PLAN Community of Practice;
  • Establish a PLAN Professional Learning Community in their own school community;
  • Attend PLAN Pilot Webinars and other professional learning events; and/or
  • Visit our website to engage in self-guided learning.

Subscribe to our listserv to receive notice of upcoming events and other opportunities to participate.