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Administrative Review & Training Grant Evaluation


  • Local Education Authorities make administrative errors in lunch programs
  • The study examined various aspects of administrative review training (ART) grants.
  • The study determined the effectiveness of ART grant strategies.
The Challenge

State agencies oversee and review Local Educational Authorities (LEAs) that demonstrate a high level of, or a high risk for, administrative error and must adopt a robust and unified accountability system. To help state agencies, the Food and Nutrition Service funded administrative review training (ART) grants in 30 states for administrative oversight and training. The strategies that ART grantees use to reduce administrative errors vary widely.

The Approach

The qualitative study addressed research questions related to impacts on administrative errors and other outcomes that are not available from FNS administrative data. It also examined how ART grantees sustain their activities after their funding has ended, described challenges to implementation and sustainability of ART grant interventions, and recommended how those challenges may be overcome. We compiled and analyzed in NVivo data from interviews with state agencies and LEAs. We used qualitative methods to identify themes, consistent patterns, and variations.

The Results

This qualitative study, which includes document review and stakeholder interviews, enables FNS to obtain in-depth research evidence about the effectiveness of individual state strategies, their long-term impact on the administrative review process and associated error rates, and cross-cutting evidence about the overall effectiveness of the grants. This evaluation informs FNS about whether and how ART grants have "moved the needle" on the integrity and compliance of school meals programs and how those impacts can be strengthened and sustained to make better use of program resources.