Traverse City Area Public Schools Pilot Tests Academic Return on Investment
Elementary students’ math scores at Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) were below the state average. TCAPS’ initial investigation into the problem suggested that new curriculum could help, but TCAPS could not know for sure. In order to make a more informed decision, TCAPS ran a yearlong pilot test of three research-backed curricula and compared the results to a control group that remained with the old curriculum. The pilot test considered not just the increase in student learning, but also the costs required to implement each curriculum. The school board, central office staff, and school staff all found the pilot test to be a very positive experience. The recommendation coming out of the pilot test was unanimously approved and, at the same meeting, the board approved funding for a new pilot test to select an English curriculum.