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Running head: EVALUATION OF NUTRITION AND FOOD SECURITY TRAINING 1

Evaluation of Nutrition, Food Security, and Livelihoods: Basic Concepts

California State University Monterey Bay

Richie Cobb

IST622 Assessment and Evaluation

Dr. Bude Su

July 24, 2018


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Table of Contents

Introduction ..................................................................................................................................... 3

Methodology ................................................................................................................................... 3

Hypothesis................................................................................................................................... 3

Prototype ..................................................................................................................................... 3

Learners....................................................................................................................................... 4

Tryout Conditions and Process ................................................................................................... 5

Results ............................................................................................................................................. 6

Expected Outcomes .................................................................................................................... 6

Observed Outcomes .................................................................................................................... 6

Recommendations ....................................................................................................................... 7

Summary ......................................................................................................................................... 8

Appendix A ................................................................................................................................... 10

Appendix B ................................................................................................................................... 12

Appendix C ................................................................................................................................... 13

References ..................................................................................................................................... 14
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Introduction

This report examines an online training module published by the Food and Agriculture

Organization of the United Nations (FAO) titled Nutrition, Food Security, and Livelihoods:

Basic Concepts. The organization is an agency within the United Nations with the goal of ending

hunger around the world. According to the FAO, this module is a pre-release version, so I feel

that it is a good candidate for testing its effectiveness. My bachelor’s degree is in collaborative

heath and human service with an emphasis on public health, so this topic is of particular interest

to me. Nutrition and food security are topics that should be of concern to everyone, yet most

people do not realize how many people go hungry each day around the world. A short training

module like this may be a great way to empower others with an understanding of nutrition and

food security how it affects the livelihoods of people around the world.

Methodology

Hypothesis

The research hypothesis is that when learners take the eLearning module on nutrition and

food security, test scores will increase thereby increasing learners’ knowledge of nutrition and

food security. The null hypothesis is that there will no increase in test scores and no increase of

knowledge on nutrition and food security.

Prototype

The prototype for this evaluation, published by the FAO of the United Nations, is titled

Nutrition, Food Security, and Livelihoods: Basic Concepts. The training is an online eLearning

module with an estimated time investment of 35-minutes for the learner. The module is free and

is available online – the course can be taken on the FAO website or downloaded. Learners are

required to register prior to taking the module or downloading it.


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The module is intended for professionals from a variety of sectors, including agriculture,

health, education, and social protection, that are involved in the decision-making processes and

policy making regarding food and nutrition programs (FAO, 2018). College students pursuing a

degree in a related field, such as health and human services, pubic health, or public policy and

administration would also be appropriate targets for this training as they are soon to be

professionals in the field. With that in mind, this prototype was chosen due to its ability to

integrate into a college course on food poliy and nutrition.

As seen in figure 1, the curse objectives are for the learner to define and differentiate key

concepts of 1) assessing the nutrition situation, 2) design and implement programmers,

investments, and policies that address nutrition problems, and 3) evaluate the nutritional

outcomes of programmers, investments, and policies (FAO, 2018, slide 1). The module meets

objectives by defining key concepts and engaging the learner in activities, as seen in Figure 2.

After material for a topic has been presented, the learner is given the opportunity to complete an

activity to demonstrate retention of material and the ability to apply what they have learned.

These assessments are the source of the pre and post test used to perform this evaluation.

Learners

The learner group for this assessment consists of current undergraduate college students

and recent college graduates (recent for the purposes of this evaluation is defined at graduating

with a bachelor’s degree Dec 2017 and later). This group was chosen because it reflects a sample

makeup of a typical college class should this module be incorporated into an existing college

course. I chose college students who majored in Health and Human Services, Public

Administration, or Public Health as the content of this module closely relates to their respective

degrees or coursework.
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I sent out an invitation to 15 college students whom I know are recent graduates of

CUMB’s Collaborative Health and Human Services major or are currently enrolled. Of the

potential respondents, 12 replied that they would be willing to take the course and associated

evaluations. Of those, 10 completed the course, pre and posttests. I acknowledge that since I

know most of these students, there could be bias in the results. However, I stressed the

importance of completing this activity without regard to how it may affect my evaluation. I asked

for honest feedback as I highly value their input. Perhaps a better method would have been to

reach out to a public health instructor for a health and nutrition course, but I did not have the

time to make that happen. Should I repeat this study, I would take that approach.

Tryout Conditions and Process

For respondents who agreed to participate in this evaluation, I emailed a PDF pre and

posttest and attached it to the email with along the course link. Respondents were instructed to

take the pretest first, compete the course, and then take the posttest immediately after. I estimated

the time investment to be 45 minutes. The course length is approximately 35 minutes, allowing

an estimated time of 10 minutes complete the pre and post testing. Since the tests are short and

the course can easily be completed sooner than the estimate, I felt 45 minutes to be an accurate

time to complete the activities.

Respondents were instructed that once they follow the link to the course, they would have

to register to get access to the course. Since I created my own testing tool, I did not see a need to

capture any quiz data from the eLearning module. Respondents had the ability to take the module

online or download it, although I did not measure which method they chose as it was not relevant

to the data I was capturing.


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Upon completion of the module and testing, respondents either emailed back their

completed surveys or physically handed them in to me. Since many of the respondents were

fellow alumni, we are in occasional contact making this possible. Once I received the 10

responses, I manually entered the data into Excel for evaluation.

Results

Expected Outcomes

Respondents were expected to meet the stated objectives for the training module. They

should be able to define and differentiate key concepts of 1) assessing the nutrition situation, 2)

design and implement programmers, investments, and policies that address nutrition problems,

and 3) evaluate the nutritional outcomes of programmers, investments, and policies (FAO, 2018,

slide 1). I expected learners to not have a solid educational foundation in this topic area,

therefore results on the pre-test were expected to be low as compared to the post-test.

I expected that learners would increase their test scores in the post-test as compared to the

pre-test. My hypothesis was that after completing the training module, respondents would

increase their scores thus showing the training to be effective.

Observed Outcomes

Respondents performed as expected regarding pre-test performance being lower than that

of the post-test. Results indicate that most respondents began the training module with little

knowledge of nutrition and food security. However, as the topic is

related to what many of the college students have studied, some evidence of familiarity

with the topic can be seen in the scores (see table 1). As seen in the descriptive statistics Table 2,

the mean test-score for all respondents for the pre-test was 4.8 (or 48%) and the mean post-test
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score for all respondents was 7.3 (or 73%). As you can see from the data, there was an increase

in test scores from the pre-test to the post-test. Most learners experienced an increase in their

post-test score with one respondent scoring lower on the post-test and another scoring the same

on both the pre and post-tests. The median pre-test score was 4.5 and the median post-test score

was 7.5, which both are close to the mean of each indicating that there are no significant outliers

skewing the data. Sample variance was higher on the pre-test with a variance of 3.2 while the

post-test data had a sample variance of 1.12, indicating that responses had much less variance

after respondents completed the training

module.

To further test the hypothesis a t-test was performed. The |t-stat| is 4.03 which is greater

than the t critical one-tail value, therefore there is statistical significance and the null hypothesis

is rejected.

Recommendations

Based on this evaluation, it is recommended that this training module be deemed suitable

for use in an academic setting to teach basic concepts of nutrition and food security. An

appropriate application would be to students majoring in health and human services, public

health, or public policy. Students studying in this area have some level of basic knowledge, or at

a minimum interest in this topic area, as revealed in the pre-test that was administered to

respondents. Data from this evaluation also supports that the training module was successful in

transferring knowledge of concepts presented and meeting course objectives (as evident in Table

2, Appendix C).
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Due to a small sample size of college students with similar educational goals, further

evaluation is recommended to determine whether this training module would be appropriate for

other populations.

This evaluation is based on one trial and has not been duplicated. A repeat evaluation is

necessary with a larger sample size in order to make further recommendations as to the

effectiveness of this training module. It is important to note, however, that this evaluation

supports the research hypothesis presented and was determined to be statistically significant. It is

expected that the result would be the same when the evaluation is repeated.

However, it is important to note that due to some very low scores on the pre-test (as seen

in Appendix C), the course instructor should take steps to further evaluate prior knowledge

necessary to be successful in meeting course objectives. The course content, as evident in the test

questions which were derived from course knowledge checkpoints (shown in Appendix A),

could be considered to be at a higher level than introductory knowledge. There are many

concepts and definitions presented in the short module which may be more difficult for learners

to master if not exposed to some of the content prior to taking the training. More evaluation is

necessary to make a final determination.

Summary

Statistical evaluation of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’

(FAO) training module Nutrition, Food Security, and Livelihoods: Basic Concepts was

performed to evaluate its use in an undergraduate academic course on food policy and nutrition.

A sample of 10 university college students majoring in health and human services, public policy,

or public health participated in this evaluation. Respondents took a pre-test consisting of


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questions derived from knowledge checkpoints in the training module prior to taking the training

online. Then a post-test was administered. Statistical evaluation of data collected in the pre and

post-tests indicates statistical significance for the test hypothesis – respondents taking the

training module will increase their scores as compared to the pretest thus showing the training to

be effective.
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Appendix A

Pre and Post Test Questions

1. Nutrient requirements increase greatly during puberty and adolescence.

a. True

b. False

2. Acute malnutrition in children under 5 years old results in:

a. Low weight for height

b. Low height for age

c. Low weight for age

3. Recent severe weight loss as a result in food deprivation or wasting refers to:

a. Acute malnutrition

b. Chronic malnutrition

c. Underweight

4. What is both a measure for acute and chronic malnutrition?

a. Age

b. Underweight

c. Presence of illness

d. Low height for age

5. An abnormal physiological condition in which individuals do not consume sufficient

food to meet dietary energy and nutrient requirements over a prolonged period of time is:

a. Chronic malnutrition

b. Acute malnutrition

c. Low weigh for height


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6. All of the following are examples of symptoms of iron deficiency except:

a. Low hemoglobin

b. Fatigue

c. Night blindness

7. Goiter is a symptom of which micronutrient deficiency?

a. Iron

b. Vitamin A

c. Iodine

8. The affordability and allocation of food refers to:

a. Food utilization

b. Food stability

c. Food access

9. Poor breastfeeding practices is a ____________ cause of malnutrition.

a. Immediate

b. Underlying

c. Basic

10. The metabolism of food by individuals refers to:

a. Food utilization

b. Food availability

c. Food access
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Appendix B

Figure 1

Figure 2
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Appendix C

Respondent Test Scores


10
8
6
4
2
0
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Pre-Test Post-Test

Table 1

Pre-Test Post-Test

Mean 4.8Mean 7.3


Standard Error 0.573488351 Standard Error 0.334995854
Median 4.5Median 7.5
Mode 4Mode 8
Standard Standard
Deviation 1.813529401 Deviation 1.059349905
Sample Variance 3.288888889 Sample Variance 1.122222222
Table 2

t Test Pre-Test Post-Test


Mean 4.8 7.3
Variance 3.288889 1.122222
Observations 10 10
Pearson Correlation 0.150372
Hypothesized Mean Difference 0
df 9
t Stat -4.03786
P(T<=t) one-tail 0.001469
t Critical one-tail 1.833113
P(T<=t) two-tail 0.002938
t Critical two-tail 2.262157
Table 3
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References

Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO). (2018). E Learning Centre.

Retrieved from http://www.fao.org/elearning/#/elc/en/Course/NFSLBC