Reference Resources iconReview Protocols
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This protocol guides the review of research that informs What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) reports in the area of Supporting Postsecondary Success. This area focuses on interventions for postsecondary students that aim to support postsecondary success, with a primary focus on improving student outcomes during and after college. Thus, programs may be focused on improving the academic performance of students while attending college, increasing the number of students who transfer from 2- to 4-year colleges or attain a degree or certificate, or improving post-college labor market outcomes. This area may include instructional programs that occur in-person or online as part of postsecondary schooling, out-of-classroom practices such as mentoring, classroom practices such as strengths-based learning, adult education activities, and any other strategy focused on supporting student success in college. Within this framework, a number of broad intervention strategies are relevant, including summer bridge programs, first year experience programs, supplemental instruction, tutoring and mentoring.

Table of Contents

  • Topic Area Focus
  • Identifying Studies for Review
  • Eligibility Criteria and Evidence Standards
  • References
  • Appendix A—Literature Search Strategy for the Broad Search of The Transition to College Topic Area
  • Appendix B.1—Supplementary Searches for First Year Experience Programs
  • Appendix B.2—Supplementary Searches for Summer Bridge Programs

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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