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Conducting a Needs Assessment. Idaho Statewide Title I Conference Susan Durón, Ph.D. [email protected] April 7, 2011. Session objectives. Learn how to design a comprehensive needs assessment Develop a needs assessment tool to use in your own classroom, school, or district

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Conducting a Needs Assessment

Idaho Statewide Title I Conference

Susan Durón, Ph.D.

[email protected]

April 7, 2011

Session objectives

  • Learnhow to design a comprehensive needs assessment

  • Develop a needs assessment tool to use in your own classroom, school, or district

  • Learn practical applications of needs assessment results

  • Practiceneeds assessment techniques


1:00-1:15Introductions, agenda and materials review, overview of needs assessment

1:15-1:45Activity: Why assess needs?

1:45-2:153-phase process for assessing needs


2:45-3:00Real live example: Assessing the needs of migrant students in Idaho

3:00-3:45Activity: Developing needs assessment tools and sharing with the group

3:45-4:00Activity: Mapping needs assessment to the 9 Characteristics of Highly-Effective Schools

4:00-4:15Wrap up, Q&A, session evaluation

Why assess needs?

  • What do YOU think?

  • Turn to a neighbor and give them one good reason.

  • You each have minute!

Why needs assessment?

  • Providesdirection for programs, projects, and activities

  • Allowsstaff to determine priorities and allocate resources

  • Creates cohesions through the alignment of goals, strategies, professional development, and desired outcomes

  • Enablesbenchmarking and monitoring of implementation and impact

  • Assistswith continuous improvement activities

The assessment of needs is the first step in planning services. In the real world, there is never enough money to meet all needs. CNA is conducted to help identify and select the right students and the right programs to meet needs.

Comprehensive Needs Assessment

Informs and guides all aspects of program plan-ningand implementation because all students need to meet State performance targets

CNA provides a basis for the allocation of funds to students with the greatest need.

Also consider the degree to which needs are not being met through the general program, other services, as well as the availability of other programs.

That information will help you develop a plan for services.

There is no single model or template for a needs assessment; the exact components will depend on a school or district's specific context, human and fiscal resources, and needs.

Needs assessment activity

  • Your table will be responsible for assessing the level of needs for the scenario that follows.

  • You have 15 minutes.

  • We will debrief as a group to discuss targeting needs to Title I children (Part A, Part C)

  • The scenario follows . . .

Targeting needs scenario

  • There are four plants described on the next slide, all have needs for water; but you only have so much water.

  • At your table, discuss what percentage of water you will give each of the plants and why.

  • Be prepared to share your decisions with the group.

Needs targeting scenario (con’t)

  • Plant Ais healthy.

  • Plant B is starting to wilt.

  • Plant C is seriously wilted.

  • Plant D is shriveled up.

    You have only enough water to give one plant the moisture it needs, but you can divide up the water. What will you do?

Needs targeting scenario (con’t)

  • Plant Ais healthy.

  • Plant B is starting to wilt.

  • Plant C is seriously wilted.

  • Plant D is shriveled up.

    You have only enough water to give the equivalent of one plant the moisture it needs. Or you can divide up the water to give each plant a percentage.


  • Plant Ais healthy percentage _____

  • Plant B is starting to wilt _____

  • Plant C is seriously wilted _____

  • Plant D is shriveled up _____

What “is” v. what “needs to be”

  • Overall purpose of the needs assessment is to identify gaps between what “is” and what “needs to be.”

  • Needs assessment should include:

    1. Establishing a needs assessment planning team

    2. Identifying a needs assessment framework

    3. Identifying data sources

    4. Collecting and analyzing data

    5. Conducting a “gap analysis”

    6. Creating a data profile

    7. Using the results to plan and improve services

Title I legislative requirements

  • A needs assessment is required under ESEA, including Title I-A programs [Sections 1114(b)(2)(B) and 1115(a)], school libraries (Title I-B, Section 1251), education of migratory children (Title I-C, Section Sec. 1306), local use of comprehensive school reform (CSR) funds (Title I-F, Section 1606), teacher and principal quality (Title II-A, Subparts 2 & 5), the education of homeless children and youth (Title X, Section 723), and private schools (1118).

  • Also, schools and districts may be required to engage in needs assessment activities in fulfillment of local and state mandates.

Who should be on the CNA committee?

  • Title I requires the plan be developed with the involvement of parents and other members of the community to be served and individuals that will carry out the plan including teachers, principals, administrators, and, if appropriate, pupil services personnel, technical assistance providers, school staff, and if the plan relates to a secondary school, students from such schools.

Examples of who might be on the committee

  • Community Representative(s)

  • Principal

  • Teachers/tutors

  • Administrators

  • Parents/community members

  • Recruiters/clerks

  • Technical Assistance Providers

  • School Services Personnel

  • Others?

. . . remember . . .

Parents must be involved in an “organized, ongoing, and timely way, in the planning…of Title I programs.” (Title I-A, D-4)

Needs assessment focus

“The assessment of needs should focus on those factors that have the potential to impact the achievement of students.”

Southwest Comprehensive Center, 2008

3-Phase Model of needs assessment

————— ————— —————


Prepare a Man- Determine Target Set Priority

agementPlan GroupsNeeds

Identify Major Gather Data to Identify possible

Concerns Define Needs Solutions

Determine Meas- Prioritize Needs Select Solutions

urableIndicators Identify & Propose Action Plan

Consider Data Analyze Causes

Sources Prepare Summary  Summarize or Report

Decide Prelimi- Findings

inary Priorities


Gather &

Analyze Data






“What Is”


2:15 – 2:45 p.m.

Real life example: “Assessing the needs of migrant students in Idaho”

  • The State, as the grantee, is required to conduct a comprehensive needs assessment (CNA). Idaho sub-allocates funds to local operating agencies (LOAs) and requires that LOAs conduct local needs assessments.

  • A broad-based committee was appointed by the State to collect and review performance data and other outcome data on migrant students. The CNA committee met over the course of 1½ years.

Real life example: “Assessing the needs of migrant students in Idaho” (con’t)

  • The CNA Committee prepared “concern statements” (recommendations based on assessment results, surveys, and interview data as found on the next page).

  • The CNA report included concern statements, a summary of the data illustrating the needs, recommendations, and a migrant student profile.

Concern Statements

  • We are concerned that migrant students are behind in:

    • school readiness

    • reading

    • mathematics

    • accrual of credits toward high school graduation.

  • We are concerned that migrant students and families lack access to coordinating supportive services (e.g., health, dental, transportation).

  • We are concerned that parents are not involved in home-school partnerships.

  • We are concerned that teachers/tutors lack strategies to meet the identified needs of migrant students related to their mobility and interrupted schooling.

  • Real life example: “Assessing the needs of migrant students in Idaho” (con’t)

    • Practical Application: The results of the CNA were used to help develop a statewide service delivery plan (SDP).

    • What are some other practical applications of using the results of needs assessments?

    Program objective areas

    • Academic Achievement (School Readiness, Reading, Math, Graduation)

    • Staff Professional Development

    • Migrant Parent Involvement

    • Career/Post Secondary Preparation for High School-aged Youth

    CNA Results

    Data to collect

    • Quantitative Data

      • Student demographics

      • Student achievement results

      • Participation information/enrollment counts

      • Dropout rates/graduation rates

      • Eligibility data (for migrant students)

      • Other?

    • Qualitative Data

      • Student, staff, parent surveys

      • Interviews

      • Focus groups

      • Other

    Using the data

    • Collect the data and follow-up with non-responders

    • Review the Idaho State website for comparison data

    • Organize the data by identified focus area

    • Analyzeand summarizethe data

    • Displaythe results

      • Charts

      • Tables

      • Tally Sheets

    • Review the findings—get outside help, if needed

    • Sharethe findings with stakeholders including parents and the community

    Activity: Developing NA tools

    • Using the templates handout and what you know about your own local situation, put together a needs assessment survey to share with the group.

    • You have 20 minutes.

    • Select someone from your table or team to give a 2-3 minute presentation on your tool. Include challenges, solutions , and any questions.

    9 Characteristics of High-Performing Schools

    • Clear and shared focus

    • High standards and expectations for all students

    • Effective school leadership

    • High levels of collaboration and communication

    • Curriculum, instruction, and assessment aligned with standards

    • Frequent monitoring of learning and teaching

    • Focused professional development

    • Supportive learning environment

    • High levels of family and community involvement

    Activity: Mapping needs assessment and the 9 Characteristics of High-Performing Schools

    • Look at the 9 Characteristics/needs handout.

    • Consider what you’ve learned about needs assessment and how it can help better serve your students.

    • You have 5 minutes to discuss the characteristic assigned to your table and brainstorm how needs assessment correlates. Complete the 2 questions in the handout.

    • When possible, be specific.

    • Select a reporter who will have 1 minute to report to the group.

    Quick review about needs assessment — True or False?

    A need is a discrepancy or gap between what IS and what SHOULD BE

    It is an “I want” or “I wish” assessment

    It has systematic procedures to deter- mine needs and set service priorities

    It looks at other needs identified in other parts of the “system”


    • Did we meet our objectives?

    • - Learnhow to design a comprehensive needs assessment

    • - Developa needs assessment tool to use in your own classroom, school, or district

    • - Learnpractical applications of needs assessment results

    • - Practiceneeds assessment techniques

    • Questions?

    • Session evaluation

    • Thanks for your participation!!

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