About CLASS

Classification of Laws Associated with School Students (CLASS) uses two policy classification systems to score state-level codified laws for physical education and nutrition in schools. The scoring criteria for these systems are based on current public health research and national recommendations and standards for school physical education and nutrition.

You can use CLASS data, maps, and profiles (currently available from 2003-2016) to compare physical education and nutrition policies across all 50 states and the District of Columbia with national averages so you to see differences across states and changes over time.

Child tying shoe

How is CLASS Used?

CLASS monitors, classifies, and evaluates the strength of school physical education and nutritional policies, state by state and over time. This data helps researchers, policymakers, and the educational community inform public policy and examine the relationship of state laws with student behavioral and school environment outcomes.

What types of policies are scored in CLASS?

CLASS includes statutory laws enacted by state legislatures and administrative laws carried out by state administrative agencies. These scored policies concern physical education/activity, food and nutrition, and body mass index.

Physical education policy areas:

  • Physical education (PE) class time
  • Physical activity (PA) time requirements
  • Moderate/vigorous physical activity (MVPA) in PE
  • Staffing requirements for PE
  • PE curriculum standards
  • Proficiency requirements in PE
  • Assessment of health-related fitness
  • Recess time
  • Joint use agreement for physical activity
  • PE teacher requirements

School nutrition policy areas:

  • Competitive entrées and snack foods, including a la carte in cafeterias, vending machines, school stores, canteens, and snack bars
  • Competitive beverages, including a la carte in cafeterias, vending machines, school stores, canteens, and snack bars
  • Coordinating, advisory, or wellness teams or councils requirements
  • Classroom parties/activities/events/practices (and exceptions)
  • School fundraiser beverage/non-entrée food/snack requirements
  • Reimbursable school meals
  • School meal environment
  • Food service director qualifications
  • Nutrition education
  • Food marketing
  • Potable water
  • Farm-to-school program requirements
  • Body mass index screening
  • Smart Snacks food and beverage requirements
Research Policy Areas

How was CLASS developed?

CLASS was created using a conceptual framework informed by a thorough review of scientific literature, as well as expert consultations from NCI, CDC, MayaTech Corporation, and leading independent scientists.

For more information on the methodology for development of the coding system, explore our published articles or methodology page.

What makes CLASS unique?

CLASS is distinct from other school policy scoring systems because it captures all policies by school level, rather than only legislative action or informal policies that have not been made into law. It also uses empirical scoring systems developed with established content validity and offers researchers independent scoring by attorneys and policy analysts according to prevailing national standards for nutrition and physical education.

  CLASS Fact Sheet (PDF)
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