Reference Resources iconReview Protocols

This protocol guides the review of research that informs What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) reviews in the area of interventions for developmental students in postsecondary education. The review-specific protocol is used in conjunction with the WWC Procedures and Standards Handbook (version 3.0). These reviews focus on interventions for incoming and current postsecondary students that aim to promote successful completion of developmental education, with a primary focus on both increasing developmental education completion rates and increasing the rate of degree or certification attainment.

Table of Contents

  • Topic Area Focus
  • Identifying Studies for Review
  • Eligibility Criteria and Evidence Standards
  • Specific Intervention Operational Definitions
  • Review of Studies Against WWC Evidence Standards
  • Procedures for Statistical Adjustment for Studies With Baseline Covariate Imbalance
  • References
  • Appendix A—Literature Search Strategy
  • Appendix B.1—Supplemental Searches for Studies on Learning Communities
  • Appendix B.2—Supplemental Searches for Studies on Developmental Summer Bridge Programs
  • Appendix B.3—Supplementary Searches for Developmental First Year Experience Programs

Protocol Details

  • Version: 3.1
  • Released: October 2015

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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