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This review protocol guided the review of research that informed the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) Assisting Students Struggling with Reading: Intervention in Grades 4–9 practice guide, expected to be published in early 2022.

The research review involved the following steps:

  • The research staff searched the professional literature to identify relevant studies. Additional studies were identified by the expert panel.
  • Studies were screened to determine whether they were within the scope of the practice guide.
  • Eligible studies were assessed against WWC evidence standards.

Protocol Details

  • Version: 4.0
  • Released: December 2020

What is a Protocol?

The What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) uses the Study Review Protocol to review all studies, 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 of evidence based on a search of the research literature in a particular topic area. As articulated in the WWC Procedures and Standards Handbook, Version 5.0, when the Study Review Protocol is used to review studies for systematic reviews, an accompanying topic area synthesis protocol will provide criteria for the literature search; guidance on how to identify and prioritize relevant studies for review and inclusion in evidence synthesis products; and guidance on intervention, sample, and outcome eligibility criteria for the synthesis.

The Study Review Protocol is used in combination with the WWC Handbook to guide the review of all studies by the WWC. In particular, the Study Review Protocol provides additional information on eligible outcome domains for all topic areas reviewed by the WWC and provides examples of outcome measures that fall within each domain. Starting in January 2021 with the release of the Study Review Protocol, Version 1.0, the WWC publishes an updated version of the Study Review Protocol to align with an updated version of the WWC Handbook. The current version of this protocol, the Study Review Protocol, Version 5.0, was published in March 2023 to accompany the WWC Procedures and Standards Handbook, Version 5.0.

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