The What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) offers three trainings corresponding to the WWC Procedures and Standards Handbook, Version 5.0. The first training is the group design training which presents broad information about the overall WWC study review and study synthesis process. This training also goes into depth describing how to apply the WWC’s standards for reviewing findings from randomized controlled trials and quasi-experimental designs, including findings with imputations for missing data and repeated-measures group designs. The advanced group design training describes how to apply the WWC’s standards to findings from regression discontinuity design studies and findings from randomized controlled trials with complier average causal effects. Finally, the single-case design (SCD) training describes how to apply the WWC’s standards to findings from single-case designs.
The WWC also offers a certification process for all three design trainings. For each training, there is a multiple-choice certification exam that trainees can attempt to pass up to four times. The group design standards training also has a shorter pretest that will allow individuals to become certified without taking the longer exam. To become a certified advanced group design or SCD reviewer, trainees must first be certified in group designs. Once a trainee has successfully completed their group design certification, trainees will gain access to the advanced group design and SCD certification exams.
Trainees who successfully become certified can have their name and contact information listed on the WWC website if they choose. Organizations that perform reviews in support of the WWC may contact publicly listed individuals if they need certified reviewers.
The WWC has additional resources for individuals interested in learning about the WWC or becoming a certified reviewer.
The WWC Procedures and Standards Handbook, Version 5.0 describes all of the procedures and standards for reviewing studies and producing synthesis products for the WWC.
The Study Review Protocol guides the reviews of all studies reviewed under the WWC Procedures and Standards Handbook, Version 5.0, including those cited as evidence for U.S. Department of Education grant competitions, studies that were funded by the Department, and studies identified for systematic reviews based on a search of the research literature in a particular topic area.
The Resources for Reviewers page contains links to webinars and other publications that may help explain or reinforce key concepts.
Even after the WWC releases a new version of their Handbook, reviews under older versions of the Handbook continue. Organizations performing reviews in support of the WWC may need to continue to have individuals become certified reviewers in older standards. The WWC will also offer certification to review studies according to version 4.1 of the WWC Standards Handbook and the WWC Procedures Handbook.
The general structure of this 4.1 training is similar to the training for the version 5.0 Handbook. The first training is the group design training which presents broad information about how the WWC performs the review process across all the designs it reviews, and in particular the process for reviewing randomized controlled trials and quasi-experimental designs. The regression discontinuity design training and the single-case design training are more focused trainings, describing how the WWC’s review process works for those two designs.
The WWC offers a certification process for all three design training courses. For the group design training, there is a multiple-choice certification exam that trainees can attempt to pass up to four times. To be a certified RDD or SCD reviewer, trainees must first be certified in group designs. The details for the two trainings differ slightly, so individuals interested in those certifications should look at the specific training page corresponding to those designs.