Reference Resources iconReview Protocols
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The What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) review in this topic area focuses on preventive interventions for middle, high school, and postsecondary students that aim to improve mental health and well-being and reduce externalizing problems, internalizing problems, and substance use. Systematic reviews of evidence in this topic area address the following questions:

  • Does the reviewed intervention appear to be effective, at the middle and high school level, for increasing academic achievement, reducing dropout from high school, increasing positive internalizing or externalizing behaviors, decreasing negative internalizing or externalizing behaviors, and/or decreasing substance use?
  • At the postsecondary level, does the reviewed intervention appear to be effective in increasing postsecondary access and enrollment, enrollment persistence, credit accumulation and attainment, improving academic achievement in college, increasing positive internalizing and externalizing behaviors, decreasing negative internalizing or externalizing behaviors, improving labor market outcomes, and/or decreasing substance use?
  • Is the reviewed intervention more or less effective for certain subgroups of students?

Table of Contents

  • Topic Area Focus
  • Research Questions Guiding This Review
  • Identifying Studies for Review
  • Eligibility and Inclusion Criteria
  • Review of Studies Against WWC Standards
  • References
  • Appendix A

Protocol Details

  • Version: 3.0
  • Released: July 2016

What is a Protocol?

A review protocol defines the scope of a systematic review. Developed with substantive experts, the protocol defines the parameters for the review, including the research, populations, settings, and outcomes. The protocol also specifies details of the literature search and any topic-specific applications of the design standards.

Protocol versions reflect the version of WWC standards in effect when the protocol was released. Protocol versions that predate the current version of the WWC standards handbook can be used to identify acceptable outcome domains for review within a given topic. The current WWC standards are used to guide the review of studies with acceptable outcomes.

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