Exploration Stage

An implementation stages diagram with the first stage highlighted


  • Assessing the needs of students
  • Identifying possible programs and practices to meet those needs
  • Assessing the fit and feasibility of implementing and sustaining the identified programs

The goal of the Exploration Stage is to examine the degree to which a particular program or innovation meets the school or district’s needs and whether implementation is feasible. In this stage, schools and districts must assess the goodness of fit between potential programs and innovations, and the needs of the students they serve.

For example a school or district would assess the fit between potential evidence-based practices and the academic, behavioral, and health needs of the students they serve.

Requirements for implementation must be carefully assessed and potential barriers to implementation examined. Key activities during exploration include getting key stakeholders involved, forming an implementation team, and identifying potential programs. It’s also important to ensure that core innovation components of potential programs are identified and well operationalized. Even with existing evidence-based and evidence-informed practices, more program development work might need to be done before implementation decisions to move forward can be made.

Evaluation and Planning Tools: The Hexagon Tool

This tool can help you and your team appropriately select EBPs/EIIs by reviewing six broad factors in relation to the program or practice under consideration.