Using Needs Assessments for School and District Improvement: A Tactical Guide CST


By Julie Corbett and Sam Redding

Center on School Turnaround and Council of Chief State School Officers

Publication 2017
Report cover page

This document is a tactical guide that describes the core components for developing and administering needs assessments for improvement. Worksheets are included to aid users in designing and developing needs assessments for schools and/or districts. A companion document includes the worksheets in a format that can be completed.

This guide was created specifically to:

  • Support schools identified for improvement (due to achievement data for all students or for subgroups of students) and their LEAs. But any school or LEA can benefit from the use of astrong needs assessment.
  • Provide SEAs and LEAs with information about how the NA connects into a broader theory ofaction around improvement.
  • Provide SEAs and LEAs with specific guidance and questions to consider as they develop a NA or hire an external provider to complete an needs assessment, and then utilize its results as part of their planning, implementation, and monitoring processes.

The guide also includes information on ESSA requirements, planning a needs assessment, designing a needs assessment, how a needs assessment is part of the improvement process, and key decision points.

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