Assessment is the first step in identifying opportunities for improvement and starting a planning process for making schools even healthier. This page provides a summary of 5 different assessment tools that school food service professionals, school administrators, and program leaders can use to identify which tool best fits a school or district’s needs.
The SHI was created in 2014 by the CDC in partnership with school administrators, staff, heath experts, parents and national health and education agencies. It is a completely confidential online self-assessment tool for those seeing to improve school health and safety policies and programs. It is designed to help schools identify areas for improvement and develop a plan for implementing low-cost or no-cost plan healthy changes.
The SHI assesses 8 key aspects of the school health environment:
SHI assessment materials are free. According the the CDC website, some schools have received small seed grants for holding SHI team meetings. Implementation of many of the changes identified by this assessment can be done at no cost or schools can use the results of SHI to apply for funding. Assessment can take as little as 6 hours.
For more information about SHI read this introduction. The online assessment can be completed:
The Smarter Lunchrooms Program, a program of the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs offers a free 100 point self-assessment scorecard for those seeking to improve the school meal environment. The tool can be used by food service directors and staff, researchers, state agencies, district managers, nutrition educators, students and even parents to identify areas in which the school meal environment excels and areas that can be improved. The scorecard is available in PDF form but is more easily completed by using the web or mobile app version which allow for aggregation of the scores of multiple lunchrooms that can include image documentation.
The self-assessment focuses on the following areas:
The scorecard and app are free and the changes identified by using the scorecard are all low-cost or no-cost and most can be implemented in just minutes.
To complete to scorecard online visit: https://scorecard.smarterlunchrooms.org/ and register for a free account. You can also download the app to use on your phone at the Apple AppStore or Google Play. You can also download a PDF version of the scorecard here.
For step by step instructions see this recorded webinar by the BEN Center manager that walks you through setting up an account and using the scorecard.
USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) provides guidelines and step by step instruction for assessing school breakfast potential on their website. The purpose of the page is to help schools to analyze current breakfast programs, and identify potentials for improvement.
The 6 key steps in the assessment are:
The page includes links to delve deeper into areas of the assessment including assessing barriers and strengths, calculating and managing costs, finding grants, and measuring successes.
To get started with this free assessment visit: Assessing School Breakfast Potential
The CHASE Self-Assessment tool was created by Cornell University’s Division of Nutritional Sciences to help after-school staff examine their support of healthy eating and activity and identify way to improve support.
The tool is divided into 7 key question sections:
These sections also identify healthy eating and activity goals that can lead to afterschool environment improvement.
The CHASE Assessment tool is free online and can be completed by Afterschool Directors in just minutes.
The Growing Healthy Kids Columbus (GHKC) program, a childhood obesity prevention coalition created by Ohio State University Extension, focused on promoting the “Water First for Thirst” message in 2013-14. Coalition members were asked to complete a survey at the start of both 2014 and 2015 on the beverage-related policies and practices in place at their organizations. The survey can be adapted and used to assess beverage accessibility and policy in both in-school and out-of-school environments. The assessment results can help program leaders identify areas for improvement including:
Is there an assessment tool missing from this list? Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know!
Katie Baildon, Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs