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Site Review: DoingWhatWorks


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Content:  This U.S. Department of Education-sponsored site, whose mission is translating research-based practices into practical tools to improve classroom instruction, draws heavily on material from the What Works Clearinghouse. Using a simple “Learn What Works/See How it Works/Do What Works” model, the site offers a well-organized resource for professional development on the latest proven strategies..

Design:  The design is very simple—nothing flashy here. A central area on the home page lists all available topics (evidence-based practices), and these topics are repeated in the dropdowns that span the top bar. Practices are organized under four main categories, and 20 subtopics include everything from turning around chronically low-performing schools, to organizing your teaching, to encouraging girls in math and science.

Review:  Information on each practice is organized in the same way. User can watch a brief “multimedia” overview (essentially a fancy PowerPoint with audio) that clearly outlines steps a school can take to implement the practice. Beneath the overview, information is organized into three tabs: Overview Media and Materials, consisting of diagrams, expert interviews and the like; State and District Tools, such as planning templates; and Related Links. Considering that a frequent barrier to implementation of evidence-based practices is feeling overwhelmed by the volume of available information, the site earns high marks for breaking down complex ideas into easily digestible chunks. It would be nice if the site also covered practices related to school climate and/or social-emotional learning, but the selection of topics here is no doubt limited by the stringent standards that practices must meet in order to be deemed “research-based.”

Bottom Line:  Looking for easy-to-understand “translations” of research-based instructional practices? You’ll find a very well organized—albeit somewhat limited—set of them on the Doing What Works site.

Article by Celine Provini, EducationWorld Editor
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