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- Report on the WWC and Its Reviews of DI Programs
What Works Clearinghouse
The What Works Clearinghouse was established in 2002 with $50 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Education. The Clearinghouse was charged with producing user-friendly guides for educators on effective instructional practices by assessing educational research reports. The WWC is administered by the U.S. Department of Education's (ED) Institute of Education Sciences through a contract with Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.
The work of the WWC has faced extensive criticism. For instance, educational researchers Robert Slavin and Genevieve McArthur published strong critiques of their methods and conclusions in 2008 in two different educational journals.
The staff of the National Institute for Direct Instruction has also voiced strong concerns regarding the work of the Clearinghouse and the validity of their conclusions. These concerns are based on careful analysis of the research base and the WWC’s analysis as well as communications with the WWC staff and Mathematica.
The NIFDI critique of the WWC has three basic elements:
- The WWC has ignored large elements of the extant research base. For instance, it refused to examine studies conducted prior to 1985, many of which involved Direct Instruction.
- The WWC’s search of the literature was far from thorough, omitting large proportions of the research base published since 1985 and not even consulting earlier research reviews.
- The WWC’s review of the research was technically inaccurate, misconstrued evidence, and did not use quality control mechanisms that are commonly used in scientific research such as external, third-party reviews of conclusions.
To learn more about concerns with the WWC's work, visit the links below.
NEW! Examining the WWC and Its Reviews of Direct Instruction Programs