UMass Extension, in cooperation with the Universities of Connecticut and Rhode Island, and national partners in food safety training and certification will improve opportunities for under-educated and limited English proficient school food service personnel to successfully complete the food manager certification examination.
This integrative approach responds to the increased diversity of the food service trainees and declining exam passing rates incorporating: 1) research on barriers to successful completion of food safety center 2) Extension education through testing and redesigning of teaching materials and examination questions, and 3) education of K-11 school personnel through the dissemination of training guidelines and supplemental educational materials.
A three-phase approach will be employed using both quantitative and qualitative methods. In Phase I information on learners' needs and instructors' teaching styles will be examined and interview data collected on selected exam questions and instructional materials from food service personnel. With input from a national advisory committee, these data will be used to revise exam items and develop supplemental instructional materials. These questions and materials will be nationally pilot tested in Phase II. Phase III will involve developing and disseminating teaching guidelines and supplemental materials to K-12 school personnel through the Food Safe Schools Programs and other national food safety education networks. Instructors' teaching styles and learning needs of food service trainees have not been studied as potential barriers influencing testing outcomes. The innovative multi-disciplinary approach proposed in this project will therefore provide the first baseline information to examine these factors.