The What Works Clearinghouse Releases Updated Procedures and Standards Handbooks

Nov 02, 2017

The What Works Clearinghouse Releases Updated Procedures and Standards Handbooks

Standards and procedures are central to the work of the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC), which provides the foundation for evidence on what works in education. They guide how the WWC selects studies for review and conducts systematic reviews.

Newly updated versions of the WWC’s procedures and standards handbooks include revisions that reflect advances in methodological research and provide clarifications for readers and researchers.

For this newest version, information has been divided into two separate documents. The WWC Procedures Handbook (Version 4.0) describes how the WWC decides which studies to review and how it reports on study findings. The WWC Standards Handbook (Version 4.0) describes how the WWC rates the evidence from studies.

The most notable changes address regression discontinuity designs, studies with cluster-level assignment, and approaches to include subjects with missing baseline or outcome data. All of the changes are summarized in a short, nontechnical document available on the WWC website. The updated handbooks have been developed in consultation with experts and in response to feedback from members of the public.

The WWC, established in 2002 by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, is a central and trusted source of scientific evidence for what works in education. It identifies existing research on education interventions, assesses the quality of this research, and summarizes and disseminates the evidence from studies that meet design standards. Mathematica Policy Research administers the WWC on behalf of the Institute of Education Sciences.

Learn more in a new blog post from the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance.

The updated handbooks have been developed in consultation with experts and in response to feedback from members of the public. Stay tuned for an upcoming webinar in November where WWC staff will explain the changes in more detail and answer questions.