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K-12 Health Pathway

This pathway complements NNLM’s resources on K-12 health by exploring evaluation considerations for programs that seek to improve health outcomes for students.

Whether you work in a K-12 school, community, or faith-based organization providing after-school programming, NNLM provides resources to help enrich your curriculum or program. Use this pathway to develop an evaluation tailored to this target population.

Working on a project with a small award (less than $10,000)? Use the Small Awards Evaluation Toolkit and Evaluation Worksheets to assist you in determining key components for your evaluation!


When developing an evaluation, consider the context of your program. The context can change how your evaluation is designed and implemented since different settings and populations have different needs and abilities to participate in evaluations.

Working with children

When evaluating programs for children, it is important to consider how engaging them in the process of gathering data is different from data collection with adults.

  • Seek consent from parents and children participating in the study.
  • Build rapport. Children may feel intimidated. Before administering a survey, review what types of questions will be asked, that there is no penalty for not answering, that they can ask questions at any time, and that they are free to end the survey at any time.Example smiley face scale
  • Hire data collectors who have previous experience working with children. Hire individuals who know how to make children feel comfortable around adults they do not know and how to engage children without introducing bias in the survey.
  • Use visual stimuli. Especially with young children, it is helpful to use scales with images - like a smiley face chart - to assist them in expressing their opinions.

Program settings

  • Collect data from the program setting site. For example, if the program is run in a school, data should only be collected from child participants in that school.
  • Consider a clustered sample by school or classroom that takes into account differences that might exist in the implementation of the program. More information on sampling
  • Consider the school calendar when collecting data. Do not schedule student surveys during major exams or holiday breaks. Work with classroom teachers to ensure students have enough time and a quiet location available to them to complete the survey.

Disparities in programming areas

  • The sample population should reflect the real population of the program. For example, the distribution of race/ethnicity, gender, etc. in the sample of survey respondents should be similar to the distribution of these characteristics in the full population of program participants.
  • Consider barriers to participation. Where there are barriers to participation for certain groups, consider how these groups' needs can be met to ensure equitable participation in the evaluation.