MT9: Education Policies

Framework Component

Changes – Multi-Sector

Indicator Description

This indicator represents high-level school policies and systems implemented at a state level and achieved through the work of a number of diverse organizations, of which SNAP-Ed will have been one—sometimes in a highly significant way, other times as part of a coalition or collaborative.

Background and Context

This indicator is significant because of the power that a state-level policy decision implies for increased student exposure to physical activity opportunities and heathy eating and concurrent reduced contact with unhealthy eating experiences and sedentary behavior. For example, states with a specific time requirement for physical education reported significantly more weekly PE time than those with a non-specific time requirement at the elementary (over 27 min.) and middle school (over 60 min.) levels or than those with no time requirement, 40 more and 60 more min./week, respectively.1 Success with this indicator reduces the amount of individual effort at the school level spent on attaining these policies, that can instead be directed towards monitoring as well as exploring additional PSE change interventions.

Outcome Measures

MT9a. Number of low-income schools that require K–12 students receive physical activity instruction totaling 150 minutes per week at the elementary level and 225 minutes per week at the secondary level (middle and high school)
MT9b. Number of low-income schools that require K–12 students to be moderately or vigorously physically active for at least 50 percent of time spent in PE classes
MT9c. Number of low-income schools that require a formal written agreement between schools and communities or organizations that allows access to school’s recreational facilities outside of school hours (joint use)
MT9d. Number of low-income schools that integrate nutrition education into K–12 academic standards
MT9e. Number of low-income schools that prohibit the sale or service of food through school-based, on-campus fundraisers or limits it to Classification of Laws Associated with School Students (C.L.A.S.S.) School Nutrition Environment State Policy guidelines
MT9f. Number of low-income schools that prohibit the sale or service of a la carte (individual, non-entrée) food outside the reimbursable school meal programs, during the service of meals in the cafeteria, or limits it to C.L.A.S.S. School Nutrition Environment State Policy guidelines
MT9g. Number of low-income schools that require free access to potable drinking water at all access points at all meal times during all times of the day
MT9h. Estimated number of students in the target population who have increased access to or benefit from the educational policy or intervention

  • Total number of persons in the census-defined area(s) or school enrollment data

What to Measure

First identify which PSE changes are being met at the state level by using the secondary data state database to identify changes in meeting MT9a–MT9h from the 2-year period before; then use the most current data your state has available to identify the number of schools that qualify as SNAP-Ed eligible (at least 50% free and reduced price (school) meals (FRPM)).

Report data separately for elementary, middle, and high schools.


Elementary-, middle-, and high school–age children attending schools

Surveys and Data Collection Tools

  • At the state level, each of the measures MT9a–MT9g can be obtain biennially from The Classification of Laws Associated with School Students (CLASS) website Each policy has a systematic score. The scoring system is documented in detail on the same webpage as the data. There are two downloadable databases that contain state data, one for physical education and the other for nutrition in schools Currently, the available data cover 2003–2021.

  • Most states will have an electronic Department of Education database that will contain a list of schools along with their percentage of FRPM meals. The schools that meet the 50 percent and greater FRPM meals criteria equal the number of schools for reach.
  •  If there are difficulties using your Department of Education database, you can use the Table Generator on the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) website for this purpose
  • Example: West Virginia’s high schools met the criteria for MT9f at the top level (Variable ALASNAHS = 6). Using the NCES table, 48 of the schools qualify as SNAP-Ed eligible; report enrollment data for 48 high schools characterized with a majority low-income student enrollment.

Additional evaluation tools to measure MT9 can be found in the SNAP-Ed Library.

Key Glossary Terms

Additional Resources or Supporting Citations

Perna FM, Oh A, Chriqui JF, et al. The association of state law to physical education time allocation in US public schools. Am J Public Health. 2012. 102;(8):1594-9. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2011.300587. Epub 2012 May 17.