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Practice Guides

A practice guide is a publication that presents recommendations for educators to address challenges in their classrooms and schools. They are based on reviews of research, the experiences of practitioners, and the expert opinions of a panel of nationally recognized experts.

Research Publications for Practitioners


Assisting Students Struggling with Mathematics: Intervention in the Elementary Grades

This practice guide provides evidence-based practices that can help teachers tailor their instructional approaches and/or their mathematics intervention programs to meet the needs of their students.

March 2021

PLC Facilitator’s Guide for Improving Math Problem Solving in Grades 4 Through 8

REL Southeast has developed a set of professional development materials to supplement the What Works Clearinghouse practice guide, Improving Mathematical Problem Solving in Grades 4 Through 8.

The professional learning community facilitator’s guide complements and extends the practice guide by providing step-by-step guidance for teachers to incorporate three evidence-based recommendations into their classroom practice:

Teach students how to use visual representations (Recommendation 3);

Expose students to multiple problem-solving strategies (Recommendation 4); and

Help students recognize and articulate mathematical concepts and notation (Recommendation 5).

The facilitator’s guide helps teachers experiment with and reflect on the key ideas and strategies in the practice guide. Teachers will learn research-based strategies to help students develop proficiency in mathematical problem solving in preparation for advanced mathematics and other complex tasks.

Along with the facilitator’s guide, participant handouts, activities, and videos are also provided.

July 17, 2019

Preventing Dropout in Secondary Schools

As part of its sub-contract with Mathematica Policy Research (MPR), IRG staff will be working on updating the Dropout Prevention Practice Guide for the What Works Clearinghouse. Russell Gersten is a senior advisor for this project. IRG staff will play a key role in drafting the guide and assisting with the review of studies. 

September 2017

Teaching Academic Content and Literacy to English Learners in Elementary and Middle School

This practice guide provides four recommendations that address what works for English learners during reading and content area instruction. Each recommendation includes extensive examples of activities that can be used to support students as they build the language and literacy skills needed to be successful in school, including examples of how the recommendations align with Common Core and other contemporary state standards. The recommendations also summarize and rate supporting evidence. This guide is geared toward teachers, administrators, and other educators who want to improve instruction in academic content and literacy for English learners in elementary and middle school.

April 2014

Professional Learning Communities Facilitator's Guide

The Professional Learning Communities Facilitator's Guide is designed to assist teams of educators in applying the evidence-based strategies presented in the Teaching Academic Content and Literacy to English Learners in Elementary and Middle School educator's practice guide, produced by the What Works Clearinghouse. Through this collaborative learning experience, educators will expand their knowledge base as they read, discuss, share, and apply key ideas and strategies to help K–8 English learners acquire the language and literacy skills needed to succeed academically.

Improving Mathematical Problem Solving in Grades 4 Through 8

This practice guide provides five recommendations for improving students’ mathematical problem solving in grades 4 through 8. This guide is geared toward teachers, math coaches, other educators, and curriculum developers who want to improve the mathematical problem solving of students.

May 2012 (Revised October 2018)

Assisting Students Struggling with Mathematics: Response to Intervention (RtI) for Elementary and Middle Schools

Taking early action may be key to helping students struggling with mathematics. The eight recommendations in this guide are designed to help teachers, principals, and administrators use Response to Intervention for the early detection, prevention, and support of students struggling with mathematics.

April 2009

Assisting Students Struggling with Reading: Response to Intervention (RtI) and Multi-Tier Intervention in the Primary Grades

This guide offers five specific recommendations to help educators identify struggling readers and implement evidence-based strategies to promote their reading achievement. Teachers and reading specialists can utilize these strategies to implement RtI and multi-tier intervention methods and frameworks at the classroom or school level. Recommendations cover how to screen students for reading problems, design a multi-tier intervention program, adjust instruction to help struggling readers, and monitor student progress.

February 2009

Effective Literacy and English Language Instruction for English Learners in the Elementary Grades

The target audience for this guide is a broad spectrum of school practitioners such as administrators, curriculum specialists, coaches, staff development specialists and teachers who face the challenge of providing effective literacy instruction for English language learners in the elementary grades. The guide also aims to reach district-level administrators who develop practice and policy options for their schools.

December 2007

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