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ERS4 Frequently Asked Questions

Should a problem or question arise that you cannot find the solution to on our Web site, please contact ERS-Help.



We have a new county implementing EFNEP. How can we get them up to date on the ERS4 system?
The ERS4 can be downloaded from this Web site. In addition, other system installations such as the federal race filters and additional behavior checklist questions will need to be installed. Click here for installations.


After installing an update to my system, I received the following error message: "Table=tblADS_AgeSex. Can't add or change record. Referential integrity rules require a related record in table 'tblADS', and "an error was detected while attempting to apply modification no. 116." What should I do?
The database is probably corrupted and in need of repair. Contact the ERS-Help line for further assistance.


Adult Summary Report

Please clarify data fields titled "Total Household Income Last Month" (Enrollment screen) and "Money Spent on Food Last Month" (24-Hour Food Recall screen). Are they optional or mandatory? Do I have to have a response for one if I've received a response for the other?
These two fields are not linked. You can answer to one and not the other. The amount spent on food is summarized in the diet recalls section, and some states have found it to be useful, because they find that their clients achieve a better diet and save money after participating in EFNEP.


EFNEP Survey/24-Hour Recall

How do you go about performing a 24-hour recall?
A guideline to performing a 24-hour recall can be found here .

In addition, the following are food recall videos that were recommended through the EFNEP mail group:

"Taking the 24-Hour Food Recall," 1981 10 min.
Carol Schlitt
University of Illinois
200 University Park Drive
Edwardsville, IL 62025-3636

"Food Recall Video" (to be used by a knowledgeable instructor as a supplement to the training; shows two situations)
Kathy Daly-Koziel
University of Kentucky
Room 236B Scovell Hall
Lexington, KY 40546-0064

The 24-Hour Food Recall Video Learning Package available at http://fcs.okstate.edu/cnep/tools/food-recall.htm.


When using the behavior checklist, must all 10 core questions be used?
The behavior checklist feature is optional. If a state chooses to use the behavior checklist feature, however, it must plan to use all 10 core questions. When one question from a particular domain (nutrition, food safety, food resource management) is not answered, the system produces zeros for improvement by cluster of behavior, zeros for improvement within a cluster of questions, zeros for those who demonstrated at entry and exit, and zeros at entry and exit in all three categories. Thus, responding only to some of the questions and not all of them will yield mute results.


What is the validity of the behavior checklist questions?
The origination of most of the behavior checklist questions can be found here.


How often can I suggest additional questions for the master question database?
The master question database will be updated on an annual basis. Requests for additional questions along with question documentation will go out shortly after the beginning of each year.


Is it possible to pick and choose questions from the behavior checklist database other than the 10 core questions?
If a state would like to ask questions in addition to the core questions, it should create question sets. Question sets are created at the state (SRS) level using the additional questions that are in the master question database. The question sets are exported from the state level and imported into the unit level (ERS). In doing this, all EFNEP units across the state will ask the same questions of their clients.


How can I learn the primary and secondary codes for the behavior checklist questions?
The codes can be found here.


How do I export question sets?
The behavior checklist questions should be imported into SRS. Since these are additional questions (in addition to the 10-base questions), question sets are created in SRS from the additional questions that are available. The question sets that are created in SRS are then exported from there and imported into ERS to be used by the counties.


What scoring system determines what an acceptable practice is? For instance, does acceptable Food Resource Management (FRM) practices mean the participant answered 4 (almost always) or 5 (always) on all 4 indicators related to FRM, or does it mean he or she got some combined score of 16 or more on all four indicators?
To get an "acceptable" rating (sometimes also called desirable), we require the participant to report the following desired practice at least 80% of the time [a score of 4 or 5 on the 5-point scale]. For the report, which summarizes the data by cluster, participants must achieve a 4 or 5 on each question within the cluster. For the "all-3" category, they must report a 4 or 5 on all 10 questions in the base checklist, a very high standard.

For "improvement," we are measuring movement from less desirable to more desirable, regardless of the level achieved. Thus, if at entry they never practice a particular behavior, but at exit they report doing it sometimes, that is improvement. Similarly, movement from almost always to always is improvement, but since both are acceptable, it would not show any difference on the desirable practices graph.


What nutrient analysis software does ERS4 use to analyze the 24-hour recalls?
The nutrient content information on ERS4 was drawn primarily from the database used by USDA for the Nationwide Food Consumption Survey, with additional items from Agriculture Handbook #8 Nutrient Content of Foods. Each food was also separated by its respective food group servings, based on a white paper that translated the Food Guide Pyramid recommendations into measurable quantities. Documentation about the database and the food group servings can be found here . The National Reporting System Committee developed the guidelines for the computer analysis.


I try toggling the Recalls or Checklist switch in the Adult switchboard, but my computer freezes. Eventually I get this error message: "Can't add or change record. Referential integrity rules require a related table. TABLCHECKLIST ADDITIONAL." What do I do?
This is most likely a graphics problem. The following needs to be done:

  • From Control Panel, open display.
  • Select the Settings tab.
  • Click the Advance button.
  • Select the Performance tab.
  • Change the Hardware Acceleration to a lower setting (slide it left).
  • Click OK. Repeat until the display is closed.
  • Close Control Panel.

Note 1: For some computers the above steps may be slightly different. The important thing is to decrease the hardware acceleration.

Note 2: Try decreasing it one notch at a time until ERS runs OK.

Note 3: Run scandisk then repair/compact databases.



Can paid employees from other agencies who assist with EFNEP be described as volunteers?
Basic concepts of volunteers: Those who work on Extension activities without remuneration. This would typically be expected to reflect going beyond "just doing their normal jobs." For instance, teachers who have been trained in the curriculum and are delivering the program are volunteers. Teachers who do advance work or follow up to help implement and strengthen the lessons taught are also volunteers. If the sole involvement is to "allow" EFNEP into the class and turn over all conduct of the class to the EFNEP instructor, this would not likely be appropriate to "count" as a volunteer.

Another example would be shelter employees who provide a meeting place, recruitment of families, and assistance with classes. These are contributions that are valuable and, unless they are specifically paid to do this function, they could be considered volunteers. [The pay status of the volunteer is not directly relevant to the determination of volunteer status. Rather it is what the person is doing to extend the reach/impact of the program.]


On the ERS Volunteer screen, there are two columns for reporting annual hours spent with adult and youth. The headings of these clients are EFNEP and Non-EFNEP. Could you please elaborate on what type of volunteer corresponds to which heading?
The ERS4 software is being used by Non-EFNEP programs in addition to EFNEP. Some states choose to measure their base nutrition programs and/or Food Stamp Nutrition Education using the same software. The sub-group's code would identify these other audiences -- that is why the code for EFNEP should always be used for EFNEP clients [and the software defaults to this code unless another one is selected]. Since the sub-group code is applied to the adult record, it does not carry directly forward to the staff module, and in fact we can have volunteers and staff who work with both EFNEP and Non-EFNEP programs.

Thus, if they are volunteering for EFNEP, and they work with adults, then the column and row for EFNEP and adult is used; if they are working with Non-EFNEP youth, then Non-EFNEP and youth are selected. If no other nutrition programs are using ERS4, then leave the Non-EFNEP field blank.


How does one delete a staff person from the staff report in the ERS?
You cannot delete any staff (professional, paraprofessional, or volunteer) if that individual is assigned to an adult or youth group. If you wanted to delete a staff person, you would first need to re-assign his or her adult/groups to another staff person.



When trying to export, I got the following message: "warning MsArn200 an error has occurred. To keep working, click ignore and save your work to a new file. To quit, click close, you will lose information you entered since your last save."
It is most likely this is a graphics problem. The following needs to be done:

1. From Control Panel, open Display.
2. Select the Settings tab.
3. Click the Advanced button.
4. Select the Performance tab.
5. Change the Hardware acceleration to a lower setting (slide it left).
6. Click OK. Repeat until the display is closed.
7. Close Control Panel.

Note1: For some computers the above steps may be slightly different. The important thing is to decrease the hardware acceleration.

Note 2: Try decreasing it one notch at a time until ERS runs OK. You want the highest setting that works.

Note 3: Run scandisk then repair/compact databases.



When printing the One-Day Food Recall Summary with a newer laser printer, filled-in blank circles appear in the food guide pyramid. When printing this report to an older laser printer, blank circles appear. What do I do?
Go to Printers and look at the printer properties, especially the Print Quality tab. Check the help button (and look in the printer manual). Changing the graphics mode and/or the text mode may clear up the problem, or try using the postscript version of the printer if available. If the problem does not clear up, make sure the latest version of the printer driver is installed.


I get an error message when trying to print the One-Day Food Recall Summary. Other reports print, and I can print from other software packages. The error I get says: "Data required by the printer driver cannot be found or has been corrupted. Restart Windows and try printing again."
This seems to be a problem with HP Office Jet and Deskjet printers, somehow related to how the driver is installed. Here's what you should try:

A. Printer Cable

1. Verify the printer cable is an IEEE 1284 compliant bi-directional cable. If not, or not sure, get one that is.

2. If other devices such as a zip drive are on the printer port, remove them so the printer is the only device connected to the port.

B. Printer Driver

1. Go to the printer's folder and delete the HP 882C printer. Say 'yes' to let Windows delete any files no longer needed.

2. Shut down, power off, and restart computer (while printer is connected and ready).

3. If Windows detects the printer, follow the on-screen instructions, but attempt to use a Windows driver (may require Windows CD), not the one that came with the printer.

4. If Windows does not detect printer, go to printers folder and add printer. Attempt to use a Windows driver (may require Windows CD), not the one that came with the printer.

5. If necessary, use the driver that came with the printer. In either case, try to do a "Driver Only" installation, not the status monitor.

6. If problem still exists, go to www.hp.com and download the latest driver for the printer.

7. Next step is to contact HP Technical Support.


Policies & Procedures

How can I acquire a user's guide to this software?
User guides as well as a manual developed by the University of Florida can be found here.


How do I use the Notebook feature?
Instructions for this feature can be found here.


Where can I access blank data entry forms for entering data?
The University of Florida developed training materials that include six tutorial videotapes and a manual. Those forms can be found here.


I've forgotten my password. What do I do?
Click into System Administration, then Security functions. Go to Manage Security. Find the name of the user. You can either delete the user from the system or clear the user's password. If you delete the user, just re-enter again as a new user and give a new password. If you choose to clear the password, that user should log onto the system (using ERS), use the change password function to enter a new password.


How can I move ERS and its databases from one computer to another?
You cannot technically "move" the ERS from one computer to another. The initial reporting system has to be installed on the computer. Apply updates to the system via Tools, Install Update function. The current database needs to be backed up using the old computer and then restored on the new computer. After restoring the database, attach the database via System Administration.


Can the ERS program be shared between two computers through the local area network?
The ERS dataDB file can be placed on the local area network. This dataDB needs to be saved daily. Users of the ERS who need to edit the database can pull it up by attaching the database (within the System Administration switchboard).

Note: All editors of the database need to have ERS installed on their computers and have applied all updates from the Web site.


How long is it recommended to keep data on the computers in the ERS program?
It is recommended that states develop and maintain their own disposition system. The data maintained on ERS versus the SRS is of a more sensitive nature, and consideration should be given to this.

The data in my database has completely disappeared. How can I restore it?
You cannot restore an empty database. Suggest you do a "find File" for ersdat40.mdb in case the file was moved to a different location.


What is the difference between race filters and race subcodes?
Federal filters sort data into groupings, based on the criteria defined with the filter. The race filters are a way to determine if the dietary patterns of the various race/ethnic groups are similar or different, and if there are differences in our effectiveness with each group.

Race subcodes are an optional component of the software, for use by those states that may have a need to further define the population they are reaching. The subcodes allow you to distinguish, for example, how many of the Asian/Pacific Islanders are native Hawaiian, Vietnamese, or Hmong. If one or more counties are using the race subcodes, the data summaries within the adult profile report should reflect this additional detail. It will not show up on the list of reports imported or exported, because it does not create a separate report, just a more detailed report.


What are the guidelines for sampling in ERS?
States must obtain approval by the national program leader of any sampling plans before they are put into place in the county. It is the responsibility of the state EFNEP coordinator to work with a statistician to design an appropriate sample plan. Statistical tests that look at normal variability in nutrient, food group, and/or behavior checklist data should be included as part of the computation to determine the level of sampling needed to assure a representative sample.

A description of the proposed sampling frame and explanation of the criteria used to select the sample must be sent to the federal office. Upon review, if the plan is acceptable, a written approval for use will be sent. If the plan is not acceptable, the state may modify the plan to meet any concerns raised and resubmit for approval.

To check on the validity of the sample, the federal office will compare the demographic data for the total EFNEP audience and the sample to assure a reasonable "match." In particular, race/ethnicity, gender, numbers of children, residence, pregnancy/lactation, type of instruction, income if provided, number of lessons taught, and participation in food assistance programs will be compared.

It is the responsibility of the state to monitor the sampling program to assure that it remains representative of the audience reached. Modifications to the sampling plan are to be sent to the federal office whenever changes are needed.


How can I combine data directories?
Data directories cannot be combined. The unit version of SRS can be used and sub-units in SRS can be combined to create combined sub-unit reports.


Operating Functions

While in ERS I received the following error message: "INI BACKUP -- problem with registration database." What should I do?
Either dynazip has been downgraded by some of the other programs installed on your system after ERS was installed, or you have a Windows registry problem. If it is a registry problem, you will need local technical support. If dynazip has been downgraded, you will need to run dzip16.exe, which is in the folder, 'other dynazip,' on the ERS4 CD Rom. This will reinstall the dynazip files. Some installation programs will install older versions of the dynazip files by failing to check version numbers.


When I am trying to open ERS, the following message comes up: Cannot find MSAIN200.DLL windows needs this file to run c:\windows\system msarn200.exe. What should I do?
This is a common error with users who have installed additional software onto the system after installing ERS4. Our first recommendation is to re-install ERS4, selecting "Use Existing DataDB/TableDB" to avoid losing existing data. If this fails, then either dynazip has been downgraded by some of the other programs installed on your system after ERS was installed or you have a Windows registry problem. If it is a registry problem, you will need local technical support. If dynazip has been downgraded, you will need to run dzip16.exe, which is in the folder, 'other\dynazip,' on the ERS4 CD Rom. This will re-install the dynazip files. Some installation programs will install older versions of the dynazip files by failing to check version numbers.


Some .dll files were replaced in Windows and now I am unable to back up. When I try to back up, I get the following message, "backup file not found." What do I do?
Reboot the computer and run dzip16.exe, which is in the other\dynazip folder on the ERS4 CD Rom. dzip16 should be run after a fresh reboot.


When trying to attach databases, I get a message that implies my database may be full, "fillDir Table: Couldn't insert or past; data too long for field." What should I do?
There is most likely a problem with the ERS.INI file located in c:\ers4\ers4\ini. Contact the ERS Help-line for further assistance.


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