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Conference Paper  March 1, 2009

What Works, What We Think Works, and How It Can Work for You

SRI Authors W. Carl Sumi, Michelle W. Woodbridge


This session will first provide an overview of our understanding of the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) standards of evidence for determining the rigor and quality of research studies, and we will show examples of designs that we believe meet and do not meet the WWC evidence standards. We will describe our understanding and experiences in working with the standards to assess the strengths and weaknesses of studies’ methodology as well as to help us plan and carry out our own research—not only in the designing stages, but in the analysis and reporting process as well. Then, we will introduce an important new document, an IES Practice Guide entitled “Reducing Behavior Problems in the Elementary School Classroom,” developed by a panel of nationally recognized experts in the field of children’s behavioral health. Released in September 2008, the practice guide was downloaded over 11,000 times within the first month, demonstrating the great need of parents and practitioners for practical advice on how to face challenging behavioral issues. Briefly summarizing the guide’s recommendations, we will also discuss how the suggested processes and procedures can be adapted to a wide range of contexts for use in the field of children’s mental health—by parents and practitioners (including behavioral specialists, social workers, school psychologists, counselors, administrators, and teachers) who support children with or at risk for behavior disorders.

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