Our Research - Product Certifications

Our Research

Digital Promise launched Product Certifications to provide education leaders with trustworthy, reliable and transparent information about products and to provide products with access to clearly articulated purchaser expectations and needs.

Digital Promise launched Products Certifications after partnering with education leaders, nonprofits, and research institutes for a decade to improve the edtech market.


The League of Innovative Schools surfaced challenges around edtech selection and procurement.


Product Certifications 2013






Digital Promise partnered with IDEO to explore ways to further develop the edtech market in K-12 districts, through evolving the edtech procurement processes. This study recommended a need for greater collaboration across vendors/districts, within districts, and across districts. One promising method districts were using to inform their decisions was piloting.


Product Certifications 2014

Digital Promise partnered with Johns Hopkins University to study 9 school districts while they conducted pilots using various edtech tools. We focused on learning about the processes they were using and understanding how to share those best practices with others to increase evidence-based decision-making.


ProductCerts 2015

Digital Promise partnered with Carnegie Mellon University to conduct 3 pilots of learning tools while using feedback loops to iterate and improve on products. Simultaneously, we coordinated 6 pilots of middle school math tools and 3 pilots geared toward summer learning loss. As we conducted more pilots, we refined and documented the ideal pilot process.


ProductCerts 2016

Digital Promise launched the Edtech Pilot Framework to share our synthesized 8-step pilot process, along with over 150 free, open-source tools and resources. Digital Promise and Teachers College at Columbia University led the Research-Based Products Campaign to incentivize the field to use research in product design and development. Digital Promise also published “Using Research in Ed Tech” to offer product teams guidance around research use in R&D.


Product Certs 2017

Digital Promise partnered with 2 districts to pilot 2 edtech products intended to support English Learners. Through this work, Digital Promise learned that few products are designed for marginalized learner populations. Our report shared best practices for edtech design to attend to diverse learner needs as well as pilot findings.


Product Certs 2018

Digital Promise invited educators to join our third professional learning cohort, representing 13 districts piloting 13 unique edtech products and innovative programs. Throughout the 3 PLCs, every participant reported an increased understanding of the edtech pilot process and agreed that evidence is important to decision-making. In addition, we published “Use Research Like A Champion” to share best practices for building districts’ research capacity, particularly around piloting.


Product Certs 2019

Districts continue to share that edtech selection is challenging. Through a listening tour with more than 50 stakeholders, Digital Promise sought diverse perspectives to understand how to ease product discovery and selection for education leaders. We aim to develop a solution that will help consumers identify high-quality edtech tools designed using research that attend to educators’ and learners’ authentic needs.


Product Certs 2020

Introduced the first product certifications with the launch of the Research-Based Design certification in February and the Learner Variability certification in October.

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