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Does the What Works Clearinghouse Really Work?: Investigations into Issues of Policy, Practice, and Transparency

This report reviews criticisms of What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) publications and policies, errors identified in their publications, and issues regarding the transparency and accountability of the WWC. The review is based on material obtained from a series of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests submitted by the National Institute for Direct Instruction and subsequent appeals. With the information provided from the FOIA requests and appeals, and the publicly available information on the WWC, three conclusions appear clear: 1) The WWC suffers from a lack of transparency in their policies and guidelines, 2) the conclusions they create in their reports can be misleading, and 3) the reports are potentially damaging to program developers and ultimately the success of students. The validity and practicality of the WWC policies and reports are discussed.

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