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Critiques of the What Works Clearinghouse

News Reports on WWC Issues

U.S. Switches Contractors for ‘What Works’ Research Site
Education Week
Published Online: July 12, 2007
The Department of Education switches contractors for the What Works Clearinghouse site; the article notes that "The clearinghouse’s first reviews were slow in coming, and often discouraging, prompting critics to label the initial $24.4 million effort the “nothing works” clearinghouse."

Research Effort Aims to Bury 'Nothing Works' Image
Education Week
Published Online: December 15, 2008
This article highlights the fact that, while the Clearinghouse has high standards for its reviews, it struggles on the issue of relevance and usability. The project faced delays from "disagreements over procedures for screening studies, legal threats from program developers whose work got low ratings from the clearinghouse, congressional lobbying that was critical of the clearinghouse, and a dearth of well-executed studies on which to base its reviews."

What Works broadens its research standards
October 20, 2008
In an effort to boost its relevance and increase the amount of usable information it provides to the education community, the What Works Clearinghouse is loosening its research qualification standards and beginning to consider studies with nonexperimental designs.

Report on WWC issues commissioned by the WWC

Expert Report on the What Works Clearinghouse
IES independent expert panel report
October 21, 2008
A report from a team of reviewers charged with analyzing the What Works Clearinghouse's approach and practices.

Critiques of WWC by external reviewers

NIFDI Report on the What Works Clearinghouse: findings, procedures and policies

An analysis of WWC practices by Siegfried Engelmann

Robert Slavin’s critique of the WWC in Educational Researcher/ (2007)

McArthur’s critique of the WWC in the Australasian Journal of Special Education/ (2008)


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