The What Works Clearinghouse releases new reports throughout the year, and also participates in conferences, webinars, and other events. Use our news and events archive to find our reports and activities over time.
The WWC has revised its review of a 2014 study measuring the effects of attending Boston charter high schools. An independent quality review and additional information from study authors showed that the study had low attrition and meets WWC group design standards without reservations. The research examined the effect of Boston charter high school enrollment on student achievement, high school completion, college enrollment, and college persistence.
The Open Learning Initiative is a Carnegie Mellon University accelerated-learning program. The program facilitates accelerated instruction through an online portal with fast and frequent feedback on student progress and weekly face-to-face sessions with an instructor. Researchers examined the program’s impacts on students taking an introductory statistics course at the university and found that those in the accelerated class had higher test scores than the comparison group. WWC reviewers determined that the study has low attrition, and the research meets WWC group design standards without reservations.
Researchers measured the impacts of full-day versus part-day preschool on the school readiness and attendance of nearly 1,000 students in 11 Chicago schools. Although the researchers adjusted for demographic and achievement differences, children in the groups differed in age. Because this difference could affect outcomes, the study does not meet WWC group design standards.
First year experience courses for students in developmental education are designed to ease the transition to college by introducing students to campus resources, providing training in time management and study skills, and addressing student development issues. The WWC reviewed the research on this practice and found that it has no discernible effects on academic achievement, progress through developmental education, and credit accumulation and persistence for postsecondary students.
The study authors used a quasi-experimental design to compare children who had attended the Tennessee voluntary public prekindergarten program (TN-VPK) for 20 or more days to children who did not attend TN-VPK or attended fewer than 20 days. The study authors reported that children who participated for 20 days or more had higher math and reading achievement test scores after prekindergarten, lower math and reading achievement scores after second grade, and lower math achievement scores after third grade, compared to children who did not participate in TN-VPK or participated in TN-VPK for fewer than 20 days. The authors must demonstrate baseline equivalence for the children used in their analysis for the study to be able to meet WWC group design standards with reservations.
This study of 92 undergraduate students found that bolstering their sense of social belonging and reducing student perceptions of social isolation led to improvements in academic achievement. The study is a well-executed randomized controlled trial with low attrition and therefore, it meets WWC group design standards without reservations.
This study of 109 Stanford University graduate students found that shaping theories of intelligence to reduce the threat of stereotypes led to improved academic achievement for Black students. The study is a well-executed randomized controlled trial with low attrition and therefore, it meets WWC group design standards without reservations.
Researchers examined the effect of the California Acceleration Project on the successful completion of college-level math and English courses for approximately 24,000 developmental math students in California community colleges. None of the analyses presented in this research meet WWC group design standards because the intervention and comparison groups were not shown to be equivalent at the start of the study.
2015 was an exciting year for the What Works Clearinghouse! We continued to publish a range of products to help educators make evidence-based decisions. This year saw an expansion in open data efforts by providing findings-level information on hundreds of studies that meet WWC standards. We also developed new resources to explain our procedures and standards and ramped up outreach to teachers, administrators, and researchers. Take a look back at the year by the numbers in the What Works Clearinghouse Year in Review.
The study authors examined whether including math passages in an interactive iPad app improved math test scores for students in grade 1. The app aims to increase discussion of math topics for parents and students. The authors randomly assigned 40 classrooms to an intervention or a comparison group. Students in the intervention group received iPads with an app that provided math passages. Students in the comparison group received iPads with an app that provided similar reading passages but without math concepts. The authors hypothesized that parents with high levels of anxiety about math would have the least math talk with students before the intervention, so these students might have the greatest impacts. They reported that students in the intervention group had higher math scores than students in the comparison group, but only for students of parents with high math anxiety.