K-State tool to be used to track SNAP-Ed data

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Published: Jun. 30, 2021 at 8:30 AM CDT
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MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) - A K-State data management system will now be used nationwide to track SNAP-Ed.

Kansas State University says a web-based data management system built and maintained by its College of Education has been chosen as the national reporting system for SNAP-Ed, the federal supplemental nutrition education program.

According to K-State, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service announced that it has licensed its Program Evaluation and Reporting System, or PEARS, tool for national data collection and reporting in SNAP-Ed.

“I applaud K-State’s work in producing a quality reporting system for SNAP Education programs and congratulate the on its nationwide adoption,” said U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran. “Effective data collection for federally supported programs and their outcomes are critical to making certain legislator can provide essential oversight of federal resources.”

K-State said PEARS was made through a joint effort between the Office of Educational Innovation and Evaluation and K-State Research and Extension to help nutrition education professionals and extension administrators manage program data and show an impact. Since that time, it said 37 states and more than 6,000 users have adopted PEARS to track their SNAP-Ed efforts.

“A better management system will undoubtedly lead to better health for many who participate in SNAP-Ed across the country,” said Ernie Minton, director of K-State Research and Extension. “We’re proud this K-State innovation was selected for this critical function and excited that its use will improve lives.”

According to the University, program evaluation data is put into PEARS, allowing for data-based decision-making related to program progress, implementation and impact. It said PEARS provides extension and nutrition educators the opportunity to evaluate and report on a program’s impact, make improvements and see progress. It said the data helps program staff better understand what works and why which allows for better management of time and funding to maximize impact and meet the needs of communities.

“The mission of the College of Education’s Office of Educational Innovation and Evaluation is to provide evaluation services through technological innovations that work for and with the people,” said Debbie Mercer, dean of the college. “PEARS is an example of the outstanding work that comes from their expertise. We are proud to partner across campus to establish this solution that will now impact the entire nation.”

Since its creation, K-State said PEARS has been praised for its value in reporting and showing impact, it also received the Excellence in Extension Program Evaluation Award from the American Evaluation Association’ Extension Education Evaluation Topical Interest Group in 2019.

“The ability to take a platform that was originally developed by KState for use by Kansas extension staff and work collaboratively with K-State Innovation Partners to develop a novel commercialization model and become the national tool for SNAP-Ed within a five-year period is truly remarkable,” said Kent Glasscock, Innovation Partners CEO. “This is a prime example of the world-class technical talent that exists at K-State and the uniquely collaborative environment that university leadership and taff have cultivated to make opportunities like this possible.”

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