K-12 Systems Change - Digital Promise

K-12 Systems Change

In addition to studying powerful learning in classrooms, our research team examines the systems necessary to scale improvements across many classrooms, schools, and regions.

To enable change, we form partnerships with practitioners to investigate strategies, resources, norms, and routines that support educators to implement innovations effectively. This typically involves considering change at multiple levels (i.e., students, teachers, teacher leaders, and school and district leaders) and documenting the factors and processes that facilitate learning at each level, among adults as well as students.


  • ASSISTments Online Homework Support for Middle School Mathematics Learning – We are advising on a replication of a completed study that showed online math homework is effective (in Maine) to see if online math homework is also effective in a more populous, diverse state (North Carolina). We support WestEd in this Institute of Educational Sciences study.
  • Developing Inclusive K-12 Computing Pathways – Supported by the National Science Foundation, we are partnering with three League districts to design and research K-12 pathways that integrate computing into the core curriculum and give students a more consistent and cumulative learning experience.
  • EF+Math Program Codesign – The EF+Math Program is a new initiative to fund bold approaches through inclusive discovery and development to dramatically increase math outcomes for students in third through eighth grade. We are managing the recruitment, selection, and implementation of the district co-design process around executive function and math. We also advise the EF+Math executive team.
  • Equity in STEM Education through Project-Based Learning – We are collecting and analyzing data on the implementation of a project-based sixth through eighth grade STEM curriculum that will be used to drive continuous improvement efforts.
  • Include Neurodiversity in Foundational & Applied Computational Thinking – INFACT is a Department of Education funded project to support neurodiverse students (third through eighth grade) to learn computational thinking through a series of scaffolded activities that cumulatively develop and reinforce computing competencies.
  • New Visions Science Implementation – We are studying the implementation of an open high school life science curriculum.
  • NSF INCLUDES – The NSF INCLUDES coordination hub strives to broker connections, measure progress and impact, and advance the field among those working to improve equity and inclusion in STEM. Digital Promise is providing research communications and resource development support on this NSF-funded project with many partner institutions.
  • PA Smart Grant: Steam Studio Model for Innovation – This project supports eight Pennsylvania districts to use the STEAM Studio Model to introduce key computer sciences concepts through hands-on, problem-based learning. Our research focuses on gauging students’ and teachers’ conceptual understanding of these key competencies.
  • Science Projects Integrating Computing and Engineering – We are developing and implementing NGSS-aligned curriculum materials for upper elementary students, integrating Earth science, engineering, and computational thinking.
  • Tough as Nails, Nimble Fingers – Rural school districts have received considerably less support on developing K-12 computational thinking pathways than school districts in major cities. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the Tough As Nails, Nimble Fingers project intends to change this pattern and draw more attention to the resilience, promise, and potential of rural communities to develop their own computing pathways.
  • United2Read – An expansion-level grant under the federal Education Innovation and Research (EIR) program, United2Read is scaling Learning Ovations’ A2i Professional Support System, which enables K-3 teachers to personalize literacy instruction. This project is conducted in collaboration with Learning Ovations, UC Irvine, and MDRC.
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