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The Results First Clearinghouse Database was created to provide users with an easy way to access and understand the evidence base for programs in social policy areas such as behavioral health, criminal justice, education, and public health.
More specifically, it allows users to see if there have
been rigorous evaluations of a program and, if so, to
review information on the program's effectiveness.
The database compiles and displays key information from
including the rating they assigned to each program and
the program's description, outcomes, setting, and target
population (where available). It also contains a link
back to the program's original source page on the
clearinghouse website so that users can obtain
Clearinghouses develop this information by reviewing and
summarizing rigorous evaluations of programs within
their focus area. Then, they assign a rating to each
program using their own methodology and terminology
(such as top tier, effective, positive, and model).
The database applies color-coding to the clearinghouses'
distinct rating systems, creating a common language that
allows users to quickly see where each program falls on
a spectrum from negative impact to positive impact. This
coding consists of five
that correspond to different levels of impact as shown
It is important to note that while the clearinghouses'
ratings within each rating color are based on similar
criteria, the color does not indicate that their
methodologies are identical. In addition, there is an
"insufficient evidence" classification
included in the database that has no corresponding
rating color. This indicates that a program's current
research base does not have adequate methodological
rigor to determine impact.
A Microsoft Excel version of the database is also
available for download.
There are currently
in the database. The graphs below show how these
programs are broken out by clearinghouse and by Results
First rating color.
The Results First Clearinghouse Database contains
information from nine national clearinghouses that conduct
systematic research reviews to identify what works. While
each uses slightly different procedures, criteria, and
terminology, all use the same overall approach. First,
they review and summarize rigorous evaluations of
different programs. Such studies must use research designs
that involve valid and reliable comparison groups, such as
randomized control trials and quasi-experimental designs.
Next, the clearinghouses rate the programs based on this
information. In general, the ratings reflect the program's
level of effectiveness, as well as the quality and
quantity of the evidence.
The clearinghouses included in the database are:
The Results First Clearinghouse Database applies
color-coding to the clearinghouses' rating systems,
creating a common language that allows users to quickly
see where each program falls on a spectrum from negative
impact to positive impact. This coding consists of five
rating colors: green (highest rated), yellow
(second-highest rated), blue (mixed effects), gray (no
effects), and red (negative effects).
The database assigns each of the clearinghouse's programs
only one rating color:
When a clearinghouse provides an overall rating for a
program, the color reflects this rating. For example, if
Blueprints rated a program as "promising," the
database would designate the program as yellow
(second-highest rated). Blueprints, CEBC,
CrimeSolutions.gov (programs), EBCCP, Social Programs
that Work, and What Works for Health provide one overall
rating to each program.
When a clearinghouse provides multiple ratings based on
a program's individual outcomes, the color reflects the
highest-rated one. For example, if WWC rated one outcome
as "positive" and another as "no
effects," the database would designate the program
as green (highest rated). CrimeSolutions.gov
(practices), NREPP, TPP Evidence Review, and WWC provide
ratings to individual outcomes.
In addition, there is an "insufficient evidence"
classification included in the database that has no
corresponding rating color. This indicates that a
program's current research base does not have adequate
methodological rigor to determine impact. This
classification is applied when a clearinghouse has
determined there is not sufficient evidence to rate the
program's effectiveness. For example, CEBC refers to these
programs as "NR=not able to be rated on the CEBC
scientific rating scale." However, this
classification is also applied to clearinghouse ratings
that Results First has determined do not meet the same
rigorous standards as the other ratings in the database.
For example, EBCCP's ratings of 2.9 and below and What
Works for Health's "expert opinion" fall into
The table below shows the clearinghouses' ratings and the
corresponding Results First rating color or insufficient
evidence classification. It is important to note that
while the clearinghouses' ratings within each rating color
are based on similar criteria, the rating color does not
indicate that their methodologies are identical.
* "No effects" includes interventions found to
have either no or harmful effects.
† In November 2015, NREPP began to review programs
under new guidelines. The new ratings are shown in the
first row. The legacy ratings, which correspond to the
quality of research scores, are shown in the second row.
‡ "Ineffective" includes interventions
found to have either no or potentially harmful effects.
§ The ratings are based on the Research Integrity
|| Note that one of the four possible criteria to be rated
as "Some evidence" or "Mixed evidence"
is for the program to have three studies with unmatched
comparisons or pre-post measures. Such research designs do
not incorporate valid or reliable comparison groups.
For more details on Results First categories, settings,
and the rating systems used by each clearinghouse, please
see the Technical Appendix.
Download technical appendix