Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
School Nutrition and Meal Cost Study

This study is the first nationally representative, comprehensive assessment of the school meal programs since the updated nutrition standards for school meals were phased in beginning School Year 2012-2013. A study methodology report that describes the study design, sampling and data collection and a Summary Report that provides a brief overview of the study and key findings from the various reports are also available.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Direct Certification in the National School Lunch Program Report to Congress: State Implementation Progress, School Year 2014-2015

This report responds to the requirement of PL 110-246 to assess the effectiveness of state and local efforts to directly certify children for free school meals. Direct certification is a process conducted by the states and by local educational agencies to certify eligible children for free meals without the need for household applications. 

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Approaches to Measuring Erroneous Payments in the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program At The State Level

The second Access, Participation, Eligibility and Certification Study (APEC II) included a follow-on report that provided statistically-derived state-level estimates of school meals erroneous payments. However, while APEC II provided a rough indicator of relative risk for groups of states (e.g., higher than average, about average, lower than average), it was not a state-representative direct measure, and creating actual annual measures of such erroneous payments at the state level using APEC methodology is cost-prohibitive. This report explores alternative approaches to developing measurement-based state-specific estimates that are responsive to year-to-year changes in the actual underlying rate in each state. It also provides cost and burden estimates for the implementation of each of these methods.

Resource | Research | Food/Nutrient Analysis
Nutrient and Food Group Analysis of USDA Foods in Five of its Food and Nutrition Programs - 2014

This study updates a 2009 analysis of the nutrient and food group content of the USDA Foods offered and delivered through Federal nutrition assistance programs. It examines the Child and Adult Care Feeding Program (CACFP), the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), and The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) in fiscal year (FY) 2014 and the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) in school year (SY) 2013-2014. The study also estimated the Healthy Eating Index (HEI) scores under the HEI-2010 and the HEI-2005 scoring systems for each program’s benefits.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
HHFKA Implementation Research Brief Series

This series of research briefs examines best practices in School Food Authorities' implementation of key provisions and their impacts in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, including Fruits and Vegetables, Plate Waste, Sodium, Participation, Revenue, Whole Grains, Smart Snacks, and a special view of Obesity.

Resource | Research | Food/Nutrient Analysis
Diet Quality of American School Children by National School Lunch Program Participation Status: Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2005-2010

This report uses data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination survey to provide a comprehensive picture of the nutrient intakes, food choices, and diet quality of American school children, broken out by participation in the National School Lunch Program and income status.

Resource | Research | Participation Rates
Direct Certification in the National School Lunch Program Report to Congress: State Implementation Progress, School Year 2013-2014

This report responds to the requirement of PL 110-246 to assess the effectiveness of state and local efforts to directly certify children for free school meals. Direct certification is a process conducted by the states and by local educational agencies to certify eligible children for free meals without the need for household applications. 

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Program Error in the NSLP and SBP: Findings from the Second Access, Participation, Eligibility and Certification Study (APEC II)

FNS developed the Access, Participation, Eligibility and Certification (APEC) study series, which collects and analyzes data from a nationally representative sample of schools and school food authorities (SFAs) about every 5 years. APEC allows FNS to develop a national estimate of erroneous payment rates and amounts in three key areas: certification error, meal claiming error and aggregation error.  FNS recently completed APEC II, which collected data in School Year 2012-2013 and this report summarizes those findings.

Resource | Research | Demonstrations
Evaluation of the Impact of Wave 2 Incentives Demonstrations on Participation in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP): FY 2012

The evaluation analyzed administrative data acquired from the six States that participated in the 2012 Enhanced Summer Food Service Program (eSFSP) Demonstrations to examine the impact of the demonstrations on participation. It found that the impacts on participation were mixed. For the Backpack demonstration, sites in one State increased the number of children and meals served, sites in another State served more meals but did not increase the number of children served, and both meals and children served decreased in the third State. Analysis of the Meal Delivery demonstration indicates the demonstration likely increased the number of children served.

Resource | Research | Demonstrations
Report on the Summer Food for Children Demonstration Projects for FY 2013

This Congressional report summarizes the implementation and evaluation of two approaches tested in the summers of 2011 through 2013. Summer EBT for Children (SEBTC) uses existing electronic benefits transfer systems to provide household benefits for children.  The Enhanced Summer Food Service Program (eSFSP) tests several changes to the traditional program, including incentives to extend operating periods, incentives to add enrichment activities, meal delivery for children in rural areas, and weekend and holiday backpacks.