This research was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (Grant nos. 30930, 51737, 60130, and 61551) and the Arkansas Prevention Research Center (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Grant no. 1 U48 DP001943). Special thanks go to the Act 1220 Evaluation Team, especially the research assistants for their essential contributions to data collection efforts over the life of the project.
Creating and Using Index Scores in the Analysis of School Policy Implementation and Impact
Article first published online: 8 MAY 2012
© 2012, American School Health Association
Journal of School Health
Volume 82, Issue 6, pages 253–261, June 2012
How to Cite
Phillips, M. M., Goodell, M., Raczynski, J. M. and Philyaw Perez, A. G. (2012), Creating and Using Index Scores in the Analysis of School Policy Implementation and Impact. Journal of School Health, 82: 253–261. doi: 10.1111/j.1746-1561.2012.00695.x
- Issue published online: 8 MAY 2012
- Article first published online: 8 MAY 2012
- Received on March 10, 2011, Accepted on December 14, 2011
- school health;
- childhood obesity;
- physical activity;
BACKGROUND: Epidemic increases in childhood obesity and associated health risks are resulting in efforts to implement school policies related to nutrition and physical activity (NPA). With multicomponent policy efforts, challenges exist in characterizing the extent of policy change across the breadth of NPA policies.
METHODS: Aggregated policy indices were created to characterize NPA policy implementation in Arkansas public schools from 2004 through 2009. Index scores are presented by year, domain, and school level.
RESULTS: Both mean and median index scores increased over time, with greater changes seen in nutrition than in physical activity policy scores. The composite index score was heavily dependent on the nutrition index score and, thus, is relatively less useful for the purposes of our evaluation. Policy index scores varied by school level, rurality, enrollment size, and percentage of students eligible for federal meal programs.
CONCLUSIONS: The policy index approach facilitates the consideration of the effect of school policy change in a holistic, aggregated way. School characteristics influence policy adoption, and thus, should be taken into consideration in the promotion of policy change.