Program Quality is a core principle of any PLTW program implementation, whether in its early stages or well established. Program Quality ensures fidelity of implementation, but goes beyond that by building a spirit of continuous improvement where schools and partnership teams identify and employ measures to enhance student outcomes. To put it simply, quality programs create more opportunities and generate increased recognition for students, schools, and communities.
Each high school program (PLTW Engineering, PLTW Biomedical Science, PLTW Computer Science*) is eligible for individual certification. Programs that plan to offer three or more PLTW courses are eligible for certification and may begin the process at the end of the second year of implementation**.
*Certification specifics for CS will be released as additional courses are released to the network
**For state-specific requirements on certification, please contact your state affiliate.
Benefits of a Certified Program:
- Demonstrate to industry and post-secondary partners an investment in students and a commitment to student success beyond the classroom.
- Provide students with the opportunity to receive college-level recognition such as college credit, scholarships, and admissions preference.
- Increase likelihood of a teacher from your school being selected as a Master Teacher. Benefits of being a Master Teacher include compensation for professional development and opportunities to field test new curriculum prior to release.
- Increase potential to receive funding, in some states.
- Grow visibility for the program within the school and community through engaged partnership teams, co-curricular activities, and recognition of programs or schools.
The certification process includes a Self-Assessment, a site visit, and a final certification report.
Steps to Certification:
1. Meet or exceed requirements outlined in the Programs Requirements Guide, which include but are not limited to:
- All PLTW program courses offered are taught by teachers who have successfully completed PLTW Core Training sessions for each course they teach.
- The PLTW classroom equipment and software complies with PLTW specifications as outlined in the Purchasing Manual.
- All students enrolled in PLTW courses are also concurrently enrolled in appropriate grade level mathematics and science courses.
- Students have been rostered and have taken End of Course (EoC) Assessments.
- A Partnership Team supports and interacts with the program and meets on a regular basis with a specific agenda and goals.
- At least one school counselor and one administrator have attended a PLTW Counselor Conference for training.
- An implementation and sustainability plan is in place for the program.
2. Complete the Self-Assessment.
Complete the PLTW Engineering Self-Assessment (Click here for the Microsoft Word version) or the PLTW Biomedical Science Self-Assessment (Click here for the Microsoft Word version) and submit it to [email protected] at least two months prior to the desired site visit date.
3. Schedule your site visit.
Once you submit your Self-Assessment to PLTW, we provide your information to the appropriate state certification team, which then contacts the school to schedule a site visit.
The state certification team reviews the following documents during the site visit. Forms do not need to be completed prior to the site visit.
Sample site visit documents:
- A copy of the completed Self-Assessment*
- Sample Site Visit Schedule
- A map of the school highlighting PLTW classrooms and teacher names*
- Copies of all teacher and counselor PLTW Core Training certifications*
- Site Visit Interview Guide
- Engineering Notebook & Equipment Guide or Biomedical Science Notebook & Equipment Guide
- Engineering Site Visit Guide or Biomedical Science Site Visit Guide
- Software Reference Sheet 2014-15
- Visit Reporting Document (checklist used by site visit team during its visit) (Click here for the Microsoft Word version)
Exemplary Program Implementations
Certification is only the first step in a quality implementation. We celebrate high-quality implementations through expanded certification levels called Distinguished Programs and Premier Programs.
Distinguished Programs are those that go above and beyond a specific certified program criteria area demonstrating sustained excellence within the PLTW program.
If a school has demonstrated consistency as a Distinguished Program in several areas, it is eligible to receive recognition as a Premier Program.
Programs that reach the Distinguished and Premier status earn recognition on the PLTW website as exemplar case studies. Additionally, Premier Programs receive national recognition during the PLTW Summit.
Schools and districts that have multiple Distinguished or Premier programs are also eligible for special recognition.