Frequently Asked Questions
What is the AEM Pilot?
The AEM Pilot is an interactive web-based tool for states and
K-12 districts. Its purpose is to help states and K-12 districts
self-assess and monitor their progress toward developing more
robust, sustainable systems for the provision and use of accessible
educational materials and technologies (AEM). Using scaffolds such
as guiding questions and exemplars, the AEM Pilot helps states and
K-12 districts build a shared vision for the improvement of their
Why use the AEM Pilot?
The AEM Pilot is built around the Quality
Indicators for the Provision of AEM in K12, a synthesis of
AEM-related best practices identified through a rigorous process
involving substantial input from the AEM community. Through their
use of the AEM Pilot as a self-assessment and progress monitoring
tool, states and K12 districts can translate these best practices
into actionable steps for improving the timely, consistent and
coordinated delivery of AEM-related services for all students who
need them. These services are key to increasing the participation
and progress of students with disabilities in the curriculum in ways
that are consistent with civil rights laws and other legal
Who should use the AEM Pilot?
The AEM Pilot is built for teams (or “crews”) with a broad
representation of professionals with roles and responsibilities that
impact the provision of accessible materials and technology across a
state or district. A key goal is to promote communication and
collaboration and create sustainable practices for the timely
provision of high-quality AEM, and this can only be done with a team
effort. The size and composition of the crew for a given state or
district will vary based on the unique characteristics of that state
or district. We recommend that you think about roles instead of
specific titles when putting together your crew. Your crew can
include any of the following roles, which are discussed in more
detail in the Manual: leadership, teachers and other instructional
staff, technology, data management, library and media services,
families and students. Assembling a crew that represents a
cross-section of relevant personnel will ensure that broad
perspectives are considered as decisions about AEM are made.
Furthermore, having a diverse crew will help you tap into multiple
networks and make information gathering and dissemination much
How does the AEM Pilot work?
The AEM Pilot has two key components for each Quality Indicator:
Guiding Questions and a Self-Assessment. The Guiding Questions are
meant to prime crew members for reflection through the use of a
number of exemplars that place the Quality Indicator in the context
of state and district practices. For each guiding question, there is
space for crew members to document their discussions in preparation
for the Self-Assessment. These notes can be revisited, edited or
printed at any time. The Self-Assessment is where the crew members
will prepare their reports and track their progress toward achieving
their goals for a given Quality Indicator.
The AEM Pilot is designed to support continuous improvement and
refinement over time. To get started with the tool, a state or
district will conduct an initial self-assessment for a Quality
Indicator called a “cycle.” The AEM Pilot will save data and provide
action steps your crew can use to make progress between a number of
these cycles. In this way, the tool will serve a dual purpose for
both self-assessment and progress monitoring.
Can our crew complete a cycle in multiple sittings?
Yes, you can work at your own pace by starting a cycle and coming
back to it later. For each Quality Indicator, you can enter your
information (your rating and rationale, goal, action steps and
timeline) and choose the “Save as Draft” option at the bottom of the
Self-Assessment page. When you return to the Console, the
Self-Assessment button for that Quality Indicator will indicate that
it is “In Progress.” You can select that button to return to your
draft and make any changes. Only when you select “Generate Report”
at the bottom of the Self-Assessment page will your cycle be marked
as completed. You can see a list of all of your cycles for each
Quality Indicator in the Console, along with a timestamp to let you
know when it was completed.
Is there a recommended order for how to proceed through the AEM
For the initial self-assessment or cycle, we recommend the state
or district address the Quality Indicators in order. This will help
crew members see how the indicators fit together into a whole more
powerful than its parts. With subsequent cycles, states and
districts can focus on specific quality indicators that need more
attention in order to improve their system.
How long does it take to complete a “cycle” in the AEM
The amount of time it takes to complete a cycle will depend on a
number of factors that reflect the unique characteristics of your
state or district: the size of your state or district, the knowledge
of AEM and experience level of your crew, how well your crew
communicates and works together, and the current status of AEM in
your state or district can all play a role in how long it takes to
complete your cycles. The more prepared your crew is, the more
efficiently they will move through the self-assessment activities.
The Manual includes some tips to optimize the productivity of your
crew (you will find the bottom of the “Putting Together a Strong
What information does a report from the AEM Pilot include?
The AEM Pilot is a process facilitator that guides a crew through
collaborative decision-making. The output of a self-assessment cycle
for a Quality Indicator will include the following information
provided by the crew in a report:
- Your crew’s rating for the Quality Indicator
- Rationale used to select that rating
- Goal for the next cycle
- Action items with a timeline
The Console is where you can view the reports for any cycles you
have completed. Just select the link for the desired cycle to view a
report you can print out at any time.
Is the information we enter into the AEM Pilot confidential and
Your privacy is important to us. Your personal information and
state or district input will not be shared outside the AEM Pilot.
all CAST websites and tools for additional information related to
privacy and security.
If we need help or still have questions, how do we reach
To provide feedback or ask a question about the AEM Pilot, send
an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.