How to Interpret WPAT Results

The Wellness Policy in Action Tool (WPAT) helps school districts and schools examine the relationship between district-level written wellness policies and school-level wellness practices. The information below will help users interpret their WPAT results and take the best action.

Users will receive three separate scores for each WPAT topic including:

  • A policy score (no policy, weak policy, strong policy).
  • An implementation score (not in place, partial implementation, full implementation).
  • A recommendation for next steps based on the policy and implementation scores.
Wellness Policy in Action (WPAT)

The four possible recommendations are:

Strong Policies

Strong policies and aligned practices: This identifies topics where the district has a strong policy and the school is fully implementing practices that align with the policy.

Update Policies

Update policies: This identifies topics where the school is fully implementing or partially implementing a practice, but there is no or only weak language in the district’s written policy. The recommendation is to update the written policy to match the current level of practice implementation.

Create Practice Implementation Plan

Create practice implementation plan: This identifies topics where there is a strong or weak policy, but practice implementation is either absent or limited. The recommendation is to work with the key stakeholders and develop a plan to fully implement the policy as written.

Opportunity for Growth

Opportunity for growth: This identifies topics where the district and school have either not addressed the topic in policy or practice or only addressed the topic in a very limited way. The recommendation is to determine whether this is a priority area, and if so, update the policy and create a practice implementation plan.

Next Steps

Users can consider the following questions when deciding if policy updates or implementation plans are a priority:

Timing: When was the policy last updated? Is the timing right for updating it now? When will the district School Food Authority need to complete the triennial assessment for the wellness policy?

Resources: Are funding or other human resources needed to pass a new policy or start new practices? Are these resources available at this time?

Support: Is there support among leaders and other stakeholders (parents, students, teachers, staff) at the school level to make changes to school health practices?