Key Action I.4

Review, pilot, and decide

What is the goal?

The goal of this key action is to come to a decision about the best materials to serve your instructional vision and to communicate the decision to all stakeholder groups.

Why this key action is important

Making the final selection decision, informed by robust reviews and live trials if possible, allows you to present the best choice for your system. This is a big commitment and the decision should not be made until the Selection Team is ready. No materials are perfect and all will require implementation considerations. Once ready, communicating the decision effectively shows a sense of direction and builds investment. Moving forward with a decision allows your system to begin to map these considerations and prepare for launch.

Explanation of language

We use the term pilot to refer to any trial of the materials before selection. Pilots can be a single unit or a full year and can include a small number of teachers or entire schools or grades.


guiding questions

notes & resources

  • 1.
    Which materials had the strongest reviews?
  • 2.
    Are there any we can rule out?
  • 3.
    What were the trends in strengths and concerns for the top-rated materials?
  • 4.
    Does our budget match the cost of the top-rated materials?
  • 1.
    What do we want to learn from the pilot?
  • 2.
    How are we going to collect and evaluate the implications of the pilot?
  • Pilots can be conducted with multiple sets of materials to distinguish between them as part of decision-making or after you have a front runner to confirm the decision and inform implementation.
  • A pilot can take as little time as one unit or as much as a year. The resource Guidance on Pilots and Selection provides overviews of pilot purposes and design considerations. Page 27 of Lift Education’s Instructional Materials Implementation Guidebook also outlines some of the benefits of piloting instructional materials.
  • Pilots will bring up plenty of questions. Make sure you have a way of logging all the questions that come up because these will only intensify with full scale implementation.
  • Not all early implementers chose to pilot. The ones who did shared that it was helpful for surfacing strengths and challenges of different materials. This is an optional step, but can be very helpful for better understanding the materials and gaining investment across the system.
  • 3.
    What grade or teachers would be best for our pilot group?
  • 4.
    Which units will we pilot?
  • 5.
    What materials, training, or orientation do pilot teachers need before they launch?
  • 6.
    What did we learn from the pilot to inform selection?
  • 7.
    What did we learn from the pilot to inform needed implementation support?
  • Return to the rubric and non-negotiable criteria to anchor the conversation about what challenges should inform implementation versus selection.
  • 1.
    Which materials are we going to select?
  • 2.
    Why did we select these materials?
  • 3.
    What are we most excited and optimistic about with these materials?
  • 4.
    What do we anticipate will need attention during implementation with these materials?
  • You outlined how you intended to make the decision in Step I.1.B: Determine how the final decision will be made. Now it is time to do so.
  • Remember, this is about supporting and strengthening instruction. This decision is a big one, but materials alone do not guarantee great instruction.
  • 1.
    How will we communicate the final decision?
  • 2.
    Is there a sequence we need to plan for how we roll out the decision? Who will communicate what?
  • 3.
    What are the key talking points that we want to reinforce in all communications?
  • 4.
    What questions will each group of stakeholders have, and what answers can we have ready?
  • The Curriculum Talking Points and FAQ on Selection is a template with talking points and frequently asked questions.
  • You will get questions that you are not going to be able to answer and will need to work through in Phase II. Do not try to answer implementation questions right now – but do make a promise you’ll be able to keep about when you will be able to answer them.

Mini Workbook for This Key Action

Download Workbook I.4