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ERIC Number: ED507479
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009-May-27
Pages: 173
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 15
Factors Associated with School Meal Participation and the Relationship between Different Participation Measures. Final Report
Moore, Quinn; Hulsey, Lara; Ponza, Michael
Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.
This report investigates three important aspects of National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP) participation using recently collected data on a large, nationally representative sample of students certified for free and reduced-price meals during the 2005-2006 school year. First, we examine the factors that influence the participation decisions of children from low-income households. In this analysis, school type and student attitudes toward school meals emerged as factors with particularly strong relationships for both school lunch and school breakfast participation. Second, we examine the relationship between school meal certification status and participation using meal certification error as a natural experiment. The most policy-relevant finding from this analysis is evidence that eliminating the reduced-price certification category would increase lunch participation among students eligible for reduced-price meals under the current program rules, but that it would not increase breakfast participation. Finally, we explore the extent to which parent reports of student NSLP/SBP meal participation accurately represent actual school meal participation as determined from school administrative records. This analysis suggests that using parent reports on a short period of time leads to overstatements of actual school meal participation over longer periods, and could cause researchers to incorrectly identify the relationship between participation and other factors. Appendices include: (1) Supplemental Tables for the Analysis of Factors Related to School Meal Participation; (2) Stigma and the Grade Structure of Elementary and Middle Schools; (3) Variation in Participation Over the School Year; (4) Subgroup Findings Related to Individual-Level Comparisons of Parent Reports to Administrative Records; and (5) Factors Associated with Participation. (Contains 29 tables, 3 figures and 33 footnotes.)
Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. P.O. Box 2393, Princeton, NJ 08543-2393. Tel: 609-799-3535; Fax: 609-799-0005; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.