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General SLAQ FAQ


Do I need to complete a SLAQ?

The SLAQ requirement applies to all LHDs. There is no minimum funding level for completing the SLAQs, nor is there a minimum number of SLAQs required for any given LHD.

SLAQs are required in four settings only: retail (small food stores and large food stores), early care and education (ECE), schools (Elementary and Secondary), and out-of-school time (OST). Within these four settings, a SLAQ should be completed for each site where an LHD is engaged in site-level Policy, Systems and Environmental change (PSE) work. A SLAQ is not required for sites where CalFresh Healthy Living (CFHL) work does not involve PSE, or where PSE is not happening at the site level.

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Is a site-level assessment required for other settings? Are there recommended assessment tools available for other settings? 

While SLAQs are the required assessment for each setting where a SLAQ is available, assessments are required by the LHD Funding Application for other settings as well. Your IWP should include activities to "conduct appropriate community level and setting-based needs assessments" for all settings in which you plan to work. SLAQs are currently available for elementary school, secondary school, early care and education (ECE), out-of-school time (OST), and food retail store settings; the School District OAQ is available for those working with school districts. For other settings, and for community-level assessments, recommendations are available on the CDSS SharePoint.

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We already use another needs assessment at our site. Does this replace it? 

The SLAQs are designed to provide comprehensive site assessment data for program planning and annual reassessment, so in most cases, you should be able to replace other assessments with the SLAQ. In cases where a SLAQ is required and a site has been using a different assessment, we recommend that you work with this site to determine whether the same information is being collected, and whether the SLAQ can replace rather than duplicate the current tool. There are some exceptions to this. If you work with schools that implement Smarter Lunchrooms Movement (SLM), then the SLM Scorecard should be completed at those schools. It is our recommendation that the meal section of the School SLAQ be completed on the same day that the SLM Scorecard observations are carried out. 

When you or a site wish to continue collecting data with an assessment that has been used previously, and the two tools collect similar information, you may find that you are able to use the information on the SLAQ to complete the other assessment, or that if the site completes both assessments at the same time, it does not take much more time.

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May I shorten or otherwise modify the SLAQ? 

SLAQs may not be shortened, as they are comprehensive and include important information on evidence-based and emerging PSE strategies, based on literature review and validity testing. You may add supplemental questions needed for local evaluation and planning purposes. All SLAQs have been designed to be as concise as possible, with sections that can be skipped when they do not apply to a site.

On the retail SLAQ, questions not needed for aggregate state-level analysis have been removed or clearly delineated as optional. Additionally, some sections do not apply to every store and can be skipped.

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Can I test out the Survey123 version of the SLAQ before using it in the field?

Yes, we encourage you to do this! If you want to test out the Survey123 SLAQ for any of the 5 settings (Early Care and Education, Elementary Schools, Secondary Schools, Out-of-School Time, or Retail), follow these steps:

  1. Click on the Survey123 link for the SLAQ you want to test (found on the SLAQ Questionnaires webpage, organized by setting)
  2. In the Site Information section of the SLAQ survey, select the “TEST” option from the County and City dropdown lists and “Test Entry” from the Site dropdown list (pictured below). This will pre-populate the rest of the site information with test responses.
  3. Proceed with going through the tool and reviewing the questions.
  4. When you reach the end of the survey DO NOT click “submit.” Instead, simply close out of the web browser window. At this point, your testing is complete.

test example

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