A Resource That Literally Puts Research at Your Fingertips

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    As we strive to implement RtI in our schools, we want to ground our practice in sound research around instruction, teaching and learning, and assessment. We need resources that are easily accessed, are of high quality, support best practice, and are supported at the highest level for educational quality. Quality, research-based best practice is high on everyone’s list as we create strong schools around RtI implementation.

    As a principal and as a special education director, I have found the “Doing What Works” Web site to be one of the best places I can go when looking for ways to improve instructional practice in my district. Educational professionals have easy access to the research on the Doing What Works, so if you have not been there in a while, take a few minutes and look at what the site has to offer. To pique your interest, I have provided the description that you will find on the Doing What Works Web site about their services to educators.


    Doing What Works (DWW) is a Web site sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. The goal of DWW is to create an online library of resources that may help teachers, schools, districts, states and technical assistance providers implement research-based instructional practice.

    DWW is led by the Office of Planning, Evaluation & Policy Development (OPEPD) at the U.S. Department of Education. OPEPD relies on the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) at the U.S. Department of Education to evaluate and recommend practices that are supported by rigorous research.

    Much of the DWW content is based on information from IES’ What Works Clearinghouse (WWC). The WWC evaluates research on practices and interventions to let the education community know what is likely to work. For each practice, it issues a guide and/or an intervention report that describes what the practice involves and what the research says. In addition, some DWW content is based on other information and materials from IES.

    Then, DWW provides examples of possible ways educators might apply those research findings, but these are not necessarily the only ways to carry out these teaching practices. It’s important to note that the examples provided on DWW—including any products named in school materials or found on websites referenced on DWW—should not be construed as an endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education of any products, programs, or curricula.

    Finally, various Departmental offices help to disseminate the tools and resources on DWW so that research-based practices can be implemented in our nation’s classrooms.

    The Doing What Works staff would also like to recognize the contractors that support the DWW Web site: WestEd, in partnership with the American Institutes for Research and RMC Research Corporation, and Little Planet Learning. Without their tireless efforts, this Web site would not be possible.

    Content for Each Practice is Organized into Four Areas:

    • Practice Summary
      • Gain an overview of a practice and see the issues it addresses.
    • Learn What Works
      • Understand the research base behind the practice.
    • See How It Works
      • Access examples of schools engaged in these practices.
    • Do What Works
      • Use examples of tools to improve your own practice.

    The Doing What Works site has a bank of topics that are easily accessible and are ready to use for training, research, professional development, or school building study groups. The main categories on the site are as follows:

    • Data-Driven Improvement
    • Quality Teaching
    • Literacy
    • Math and Science
    • Comprehensive Support
    • Early Childhood

    Under each of categories there is a list of research-based best practice articles. Under the Data Driven Improvement category, for example, there are three topics directly related to RtI: 1) Response to Intervention in Primary Grade Schooling, 2) Response to Intervention in Elementary-Middle Math, and 3) Using Student Achievement Data to Support Instructional Decision Making.

    What really makes the topics relevant to educators is the way the topics are structured. Principals, curriculum directors, teachers, and staff can easily use the information to provide meaningful training. The “Learn, See, Do” process will allow anyone to walk educational professionals through the learning and skills needed to drive instructional strategies that increase student learning. For each topic, many tools, videos, scripts, and supportive tips are provided. Best of all, all of the topics are research based.

    Sometimes, the best things in life are free. If you have not been on the Doing What Works Web site lately, I suggest that you get there, and get there fast. The information is priceless, and best of all, it’s free. In this era of tighter budgets and reduced resources, you will find this Web site to be a great source for school improvement, professional development, and implementing strong instructional strategies in your school at no cost. Man, doesn’t that sound great! So…let your fingers do the walking to the Doing What Works Web site.
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