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LT15: Educational Attainment

Framework Component

Effectiveness & Maintenance - Multi-Sector Impacts

Indicator Description

This indicator reflects the collective impact of strategies enacted by state and community partners (including SNAP-Ed) that demonstrate changes in educational attainment resulting from SNAP-Ed activities in, around, and affecting schools and local education agencies.

Background and Context

Schools are an environmental setting in which efforts that are reflected elsewhere in the framework frequently occur, such as Nutrition Supports/Implementation (MT5/LT5), Physical Activity and Reduced Sedentary Behavior Supports/Implementation (MT6/LT6), and Program Recognition (LT7).

Schools are also sites where multiple sectors of influence intersect. This indicator is directly related to Education Policies (MT9), but the school nutrition environment can also be affected by Government Policies (MT7), farm-to-school activities included as part of Agriculture (MT8) and/or Food Systems (LT12), and the Commercial Marketing of Healthy Foods and Beverages (LT18). Schools can also be key considerations that drive community-built infrastructure as reflected in Community Design and Safety (MT10) and Shared-Use Streets and Crime Reduction (LT16).

Because of schools' connections to the variety of intervention strategies as reflected by multiple indicators of the framework, SNAP-Ed can be an important partner for schools. Building on research that supports the relationships between dietary quality, food security, and physical activity to academic performance,1-3 incorporating SNAP-Ed as a supportive strategy can help schools to close the achievement gap that is often seen when comparing SNAP-Ed eligible audiences to the student population as a whole. It is suggested that closer adherence to the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans and Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans will result in improved focus and academic performance, fewer health-related school absences, and lower school dropout rates.

The most recent reauthorization of the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act is the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA;, which was passed in December 2015 and replaced the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Included in the ESSA are provisions that monitor and reallocate resources to schools and Local Educational Agencies (LEAs; these are usually analogous to school districts but include other entities such as charter schools) to support schools and groups of students that exhibit achievement gaps and high dropout rates. The ESSA supports student performance targets and school ratings, but allows individual states to set the criteria and measure(s) that will be used.

Currently, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) provides state-level estimates of student achievement, based on representative samples of students from each state. These data are based on standard measurement, and are aggregable across states.

In contrast, cross-state comparisons are not appropriate for data collected by states' accountability systems because each state determines its own standards. When analyzing trend data, take careful note of changes in educational standards and testing methods, as these may affect the ability to make comparisons from year to year. Similarly, for those who wish to track a cohort of students longitudinally, be cautioned that successive grade-level assessments used by a state may not be scaled to be directly comparable or to reflect student growth over time. When using data generated by a state educational agency, please clarify in your documentation whether you are reporting data from the entire student body or targeted subpopulation(s), and use the level of data aggregation that is appropriate to the type of SNAP-Ed activity that occurs at the site(s).

Outcome Measures

Annual measures (where available):

What to Measure

Fourth-grade reading skills: Percentage of fourth-grade students who are eligible for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) who are at least "proficient" or "advanced" in reading Information on reading proficiency, as assessed by the NAEP

Eighth-grade reading skills: Percentage of eighth-grade students who are eligible for the NSLP who are at least "proficient" or "advanced" in reading, as assessed by the NAEP

Attendance rates: The aggregate number of hours or days attended by students relative to the number of hours or days of operation (rate = hours or days attended/hours or days possible), as defined by the state's standards and reporting period

Dropout rates: The number of students who drop out of school during/between grades 9-12, expressed as a rate per 100 students, as defined by the state's standards and reporting period



Surveys and Data Collection Tools

Additional Resources or Supporting Citations

1 Florence MD, Asbridge M, Veugelers PJ. Diet Quality and Academic Performance. Journal of School Health 2008; 78(4): p. 209-215.

2 Newman L, Baum F, Javanparast S, O'Rourke, Carlon L. Addressing social determinants of health inequities through settings: a rapid review. Health Promotion International 2015; 30(suppl 2): p. ii126-ii143.

3Nyaradi A, et al. Good-quality diet in the early years may have a positive effect on academic achievement. Acta Paediatrica 2016; 105(5): p. e209-e218.