Reference Resources iconReview Protocols

Research has shown that teacher effectiveness is the most important school-based factor that influences student outcomes, including student achievement. Studies have also shown that there is substantial variation in teacher effectiveness, such that some teachers improve student outcomes at a much faster rate than others. The strong influence of teachers on student outcomes, as well as the variation in teacher effectiveness, has led to the creation of numerous programs designed to help teachers improve student outcomes.

This review focuses on interventions aimed at making teachers more effective at improving the achievement of students in grades PK–12. These interventions are targeted at adults who are considering teaching; undergoing teacher preparation; or already employed in the teaching profession. The interventions may be delivered in a variety of educational and training settings. Although the interventions are delivered to teachers (or potential teachers), this review focuses on outcomes for both students and teachers. Student outcomes include measures of achievement, progression in school, social-emotional learning, and behavior. Teacher outcomes include those that research has shown are related to these student outcomes, including teacher retention and instructional practice.

The following research questions guide this review:

  • Which teacher-focused interventions improve achievement, progression in school, social-emotional learning, and behavior for students in grades PK–12?
  • Which teacher-focused interventions improve outcomes for teachers that are related to these student outcomes?



Protocol Details

  • Version: 4.0
  • Released: May 2019
  • Version: 3.2
  • Released: July 2016
  • Version: 3.1
  • Released: May 2015
  • Version: 3.0
  • Released: March 2014

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 WWC is currently developing the Study Review Protocol, Version 5.0, to accompany the WWC Procedures and Standards Handbook, Version 5.0.

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