This page is optimized for a taller screen. Please rotate your device or increase the size of your browser window.

Supporting Efforts to Review Evidence in Education


  • The What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) was established by the U.S. Department of Education to review the evidence on what works in education.
  • Abt will support the quality and consistency of systematic evidence reviews in education and the development of the next generation of WWC standards.
  • As the review processes are refined, outcomes for students should continue to improve.
The Challenge

The U.S. Department of Education’s What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) was established in 2002 to serve as a central and trusted source of evidence on best practices in education. As the standard bearer for evidence in education, the WWC needs to stay abreast of current research methods and standards of evidence and ensure the different contractors who conduct the systematic evidence reviews and summarize the reviews in intervention reports and practice guides maintain consistent and high-quality procedures. Under a subcontract to Mathematica, Abt is supporting the continued development and evolution of WWC standards and procedures.

The Approach

The WWC provides credible, succinct information on best practices in education by identifying existing research on educational programs, policies, and practices; assessing the quality of this research; and summarizing and disseminating the evidence from those that meet WWC standards. The WWC uses a rigorous systemic methodology to guide the evidence reviews, which are performed by several contractors. The WWC-TOAST (Tools, Online Assistance, Standards, and Training) contract is intended to enable the coordination of all WWC work performed by the contractors. This includes managing the website, maintaining and improving the standards and procedures that guide the evidence reviews, providing training for reviewers across the WWC portfolio, developing new WWC products, and providing support and oversight for the other WWC contractors. Abt’s role on the project includes:

  1. Providing overall leadership and setting the direction and goals for the WWC,
  2. Managing the cross-contractor help desk that serves as a resource on the standards and procedures for all WWC contractors,
  3. Reviewing and ensuring the quality and consistency of the various WWC contractors’ work,
  4. Enhancing the online study review guide in which evidence reviews of studies are published, and
  5. Co-leading technical work groups to continuously improve the WWC’s product lines.
The Results

As processes and standards continue to improve, so will the identification and dissemination of programs, and, most importantly, the outcomes for students.