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REL Midwest Ask A REL Response

Data Use

January 2019

Question:

What research and resources are available about needs assessment practices?



Response:

Following an established Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Midwest protocol, we conducted a search for research reports and descriptive studies on needs assessment practices. In particular, we focused on identifying resources related to such practices at the school, district, and state levels. For details on the databases and sources, keywords, and selection criteria used to create this response, please see the Methods section at the end of this memo.

Below, we share a sampling of the publicly accessible resources on this topic. References are listed in alphabetical order, not necessarily in order of relevance. The search conducted is not comprehensive; other relevant references and resources may exist. For each reference, we provide an abstract, excerpt, or summary written by the study’s author or publisher. We have not evaluated the quality of these references, but provide them for your information only.

Research References

Abt Associates. (2016). Successful school-based partnerships: What does it take? Bethesda, MD: Author. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED582057

From the ERIC abstract: “This report describes findings from an evaluation that documented approaches, successes, and challenges of partnership coordination efforts in Philadelphia facilitated by the Community Partnerships VISTA Project of the Philadelphia Higher Education Network for Neighborhood Development (PHENND) and by the United Communities’ Southeast Philadelphia Collaborative (SEPC) Partnership Coordination project. Each of these organizations implemented its own partnership coordination strategies in 19 School District of Philadelphia (SDP) schools during the 2014/15 school year. This evaluation tried to understand the roles and functions of ‘partnership coordinators’ and the extent to which partnership coordination efforts promoted ‘integrated activities and partner collaboration’ that aligned with a school’s needs and goals.”

Building State Capacity and Productivity Center. (2013). Discovering and implementing best practices to strengthen SEAs: Collaborative benchmarking. San Antonio, TX: Author. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED542917

From the ERIC abstract: “This paper is written for state educational agency (SEA) leaders who are considering the benefits of collaborative benchmarking, and it addresses the following questions: (1) What does benchmarking of best practices entail?; (2) How does ‘collaborative benchmarking’ enhance the process?; (3) How do SEAs control the process so that ‘their’ needs remain the focus?; and (4) What is the resource commitment required of SEAs? Based on the information gained from the collaborative benchmarking process, there are two key outcomes. The first is the rich experience of the SEA participants who garner more specific information pertaining to their own needs and feed it into a specific work plan outlining steps to improve their processes. A second, broader key outcome, ‘Benchmarking Best Practices Report,’ is a summary of the best practices and related recommendations included in a report of project findings for broad dissemination. Also provided in this paper is a more detailed description of the collaborative benchmarking process, including an established set of steps and the related time and effort for each step.”

Center for Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement. (2009). Conducting a comprehensive needs assessment (Newsletter). Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED506364

From the ERIC abstract: “School improvement might be initiated by state or district mandate, or it might be motivated by the concerns of school personnel. Teachers and administrators frequently enter the process with some idea of what needs to be reformed or improved, but issues can be overemphasized or overlooked if the process does not begin with a comprehensive needs assessment. A needs assessment can offer an opportunity for a school to refocus and to gather insights into the school improvement process. A comprehensive needs assessment has three primary steps. First is developing a clear and common vision and mission for the school program that takes into account the unique needs of the students and the community. Second is gathering and analyzing relevant data. Third is interpreting the data by the entire school community—administrators, teachers, staff, families, and community members--in order to develop school improvement goals that are based on data and supported by all stakeholders. The purpose of this newsletter is to outline a process for conducting a comprehensive needs assessment that uses data to drive school improvement and provide a focus for the school improvement team.”

Corbett, J., & Redding, S. (2017). Using needs assessments for school and district improvement: A tactical guide. Sacramento, CA: Center on School Turnaround at WestEd. Retrieved from https://centeronschoolturnaround.org/resource/using-needs-assessments-for-school-and-district-improvement/

From the abstract: “This document is a tactical guide that describes the core components for developing and administering needs assessments for improvement. The guide 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. 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.”

Dee, T., & Dizon-Ross, E. (2017). School performance, accountability and waiver reforms: evidence from Louisiana (CEPA Working Paper No. 17-06). Stanford, CA: Stanford Center for Education Policy Analysis. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED579076

From the ERIC abstract: “States that received federal waivers to the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act were required to implement reforms in designated ‘Focus Schools’ that contribute to achievement gaps. In this study, we examine the performance effects of such ‘differentiated accountability’ reforms in the state of Louisiana. The Focus School reforms in Louisiana emphasized school-needs assessments and aligned technical assistance. These state reforms may have also been uniquely high-powered because they were linked to a new letter-based school-rating system. We examine the impact of these reforms in a sharp regression discontinuity (RD) design based on the assignment of schools to Focus status. We find that, over each of three years, Louisiana’s Focus School reforms had no measurable impact on school performance. We discuss evidence that these findings may reflect policy uncertainty and implementation fidelity at the state and local level.”

Dougherty, C. (2015). Use of data to support teaching and learning: A case study of two school districts. (ACT Research Report Series, 2015 [1]). Iowa City, IA: ACT. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED558033

From the ERIC abstract: “This report summarizes how school and district leaders and academic coaches in two Texas school districts used assessment and other types of data to assess the quality of teaching and learning, to coach and supervise teachers, and to guide management decisions. The report also describes how district and school leaders supported teachers’ use of data. The results in this report are based on interviews with district and school leaders and academic coaches, supplemented by observations of teacher team meetings. The data most frequently used were from three- or nine-week tests and from classroom observations. School leaders also reported using data from non-assessment sources such as attendance, discipline referrals, and surveys to intervene with students and adjust school procedures.”

Education Resource Strategies. (2008). Strategic professional development review of the School District of Philadelphia, school year 2007-2008. Watertown, MA: Author. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED544386

From the ERIC abstract: “In the fall of 2007, Education Resource Strategies (ERS) was invited by Philadelphia’s School Reform Commission to conduct a Strategic Professional Development Review for the School District of Philadelphia (SDP). ERS is a nonprofit organization that is nationally recognized for its extensive work in partnering with urban school districts to make the most of their resources (people, time, and money). The Strategic Professional Development Review helps school districts create a coherent and comprehensive professional development strategy tied to system-wide and school-specific performance goals, plans, and needs. It also gives school districts a tool to understand their current professional development landscape and a framework for reshaping this landscape to align with each district’s highest priorities and best practices in staff development. This report is organized to provide SDP with clear and actionable information. First, the report establishes the contextual challenges the district faces in improving teaching quality and leadership capacity. It then lays out three priority areas for professional development restructuring, and 10 leveraged opportunities available to SDP within these priority areas. For each leveraged opportunity, key areas are identified for additional analysis and some implications for practice and implementation in the full report.”

Fryer, L., & Johnson, A. (2010). A coherent approach to high school improvement: A school and district needs assessment tool. Washington DC: National High School Center at American Institutes for Research. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED536814

From the ERIC abstract: “High school improvement initiatives often focus on specific intervention strategies, programs, or priority topics (e.g., dropout intervention, dual enrollment, freshman academies). However, research shows that systemic and sustainable improvement can be achieved only when initiatives are implemented with consideration for the broader education contexts in which they operate. The National High School Center has developed ‘A Coherent Approach to High School Improvement: A District and School Self-Assessment Tool’ to help districts and schools assess their current high school education policies and practices, identify areas of strengths and limitations, and implement coherent school reform initiatives. The foundation for this self-assessment tool is the National High School Center’s ‘Eight Elements of High School Improvement: A Mapping Framework.’ The eight elements of high school improvement are the following: (1) Rigorous Curriculum and Instruction; (2) Teacher Effectiveness and Professional Growth; (3) Stakeholder Engagement; (4) Organization and Structure; (5) Assessment and Accountability; (6) Student and Family Involvement; (7) Effective Leadership; and (8) Sustainability. The tool is composed of two primary sections that address each of the eight core elements of high school improvement; the first section is a self-assessment process and the second section focuses on next steps. The ‘Self-Assessment’ section of the tool details specific ‘Indicators of Effectiveness,’ grouped into themed ‘Areas of Focus,’ which represent important school or district practices. The ‘Next Steps’ section offers an approach to determine specific policies and practices that potentially address system gaps that relate to each key element. [For its related report, ‘A Coherent Approach to High School Improvement: A School and District Needs Assessment Tool,’ see ED511822.]”

Minnesota Department of Education. (2013). Migrant Education Program. Comprehensive needs assessment. Roseville, MN: Author. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED572310

From the ERIC abstract: “The primary purpose of the Minnesota Migrant Education Program (MEP) is to help migrant children and youth overcome challenges of mobility, frequent absences, late enrollment into school, social isolation, and other difficulties associated with a migratory life, in order that they might succeed in school. Furthermore, the Minnesota MEP must give priority for services to migrant children and youth who are failing, or most at risk of failing, to meet the state’s content and performance standards, and whose education has been interrupted during the regular school year. The purpose of this report is to identify the needs of migrant students so that ultimately services can be targeted for the greatest impact. While there is considerable flexibility in using MEP funds, they must be used to address the unmet needs of migrant children that result from migrant children’s lifestyle to permit them to participate effectively in school. The children of migrant, mobile agricultural workers and fishers often have needs in addition to those of the English learner (EL) population due to high poverty, high mobility, and interrupted schooling. This fact makes it necessary to understand the needs of the migrant population as distinct from the EL population and design services (through the service delivery planning process) that meet those unique needs. In order to better understand and articulate the specific services that the Minnesota MEP should target to migrant children and youth and their families, a Comprehensive Needs Assessment (CNA) was conducted as required to review and improve the overall design of the Minnesota MEP. Specifically, the CNA aims to: (1) Identify and assess ‘the unique educational needs of migratory children that result from the children’s migratory lifestyle’ and other needs that must be met in order for migratory children to participate effectively in school (Elementary and Secondary Education Act [ESEA], Section 1304, 34 CFR 200.83 (a)(2)(i, ii)); (2) Guide the overall design of the MEP on a statewide basis; (3) Help local operating agencies and State Education Agencies prioritize needs of migrant children; and (4) Provide the basis for the SEA to subgrant MEP funds. The Minnesota CNA will guide future programming and policy decisions to ensure that the Program’s resources are directed at the most needed and most effective services for migrant children and youth and their families. The following are appended: (1) CNA Meeting Agendas and Notes; (2) Needs Assessment Survey Instruments; (3) Needs Assessment Expert Survey Responses; and (4) Complete Concerns, Solutions, and Priority Rankings.”

Moore, K. A., Lantos, H., Jones, R., Schindler, A., Belford, J., & Sacks, V. (2017). Making the grade: A progress report and next steps for integrated student supports (Publication 2017-53). Bethesda, MD: Child Trends. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED586365

From the ERIC abstract: “In recent years, the education field has come to recognize the role of schools in supporting student health, safety, and well-being by developing integrated student support initiatives. These offer specific services and supports to students and their families to build a foundation for academic success. These initiatives, referred to as community schools and wraparound supports as well as integrated student supports models, help schools connect struggling children with secure housing, medical care, food assistance, tutoring, and other critical supports. While they are understood to be vital components of community efforts on behalf of children and families, they also further our nation’s collective efforts to close education opportunity gaps, raise graduation rates, and better compete on the international stage. Child Trends evaluated these initiatives in a 2014 overview of the evidence regarding integrated student supports (ISS)—implementation models in which schools secure and deliver coordinated, school-based supports that target various barriers to student achievement. In general, ISS relies on five essential elements to support service delivery: community partnerships, student support coordination, integration into the school setting, needs assessments, and data tracking. The 2014 overview clarified that ISS was an emerging field of practice. With limited rigorous evaluations, Child Trends’ researchers posited that ISS was a promising way to improve academic outcomes and see a substantial return on investment. Since then, interest in ISS models has grown. Educational achievement remains a major vehicle for individual and family success. Although the high school graduation rate has risen over the past decade, the United States still lags behind other countries, and large disparities persist in academic outcomes. ISS models aim to bolster academic performance by recognizing the importance of addressing students’ nonacademic needs. Indeed, the 2015 reauthorization of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA) encourages implementation of ISS for the first time. As written, ESSA now expressly permits schools and school districts to incorporate ISS into Title I targeted assistance programs for eligible students at risk of failing state academic achievement standards, and into Title IV, Part A activities that support student health and safety. Further, ESSA now makes available new federal formula dollars to states (under Title VI, Part A) to implement models that address student health, which could be utilized to support broader ISS models. With ISS now codified in federal law and expanding across the country, school districts and principals are in need of a more current review of the evidence to guide school implementation. To this end, Child Trends updated its review with a synthesis of findings from relevant resources—including evaluations, child development research and theory, implementation reports, interviews with principals, benefit/cost analyses, and analyses using the Social Genome Microsimulation model.”

Moore-Thomas, C., & Erford, B. T. (2003). Needs assessment: An ongoing process for school improvement. In J. E. Wall & G. R. Walz (Eds.), Measuring Up: Assessment Issues for Teachers, Counselors, and Administrators (pp. 719–728). Greensboro, NC: ERIC Counseling and Student Services Clearinghouse. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED480085

From the ERIC abstract: “The first step to meeting the fundamental aim of any educational institution is to understand clearly what the students need. Needs assessment is a tool educators can use to help meet this goal. Needs assessment data suggest the basis for plans, strategies, and practices that may ultimately lead to school improvement. This chapter reviews issues regarding the frequency of needs assessment and design issues in needs assessment. Concludes that efficient needs assessment requires careful consideration of a schoolwide assessment cycle, stakeholder involvement, assessment design, results, goals and objectives, and implementation and evaluation strategies.”

Morrison, J. Q., Russell, C., Dyer, S., Metcalf, T., & Rahschulte, R. L. (2014). Organizational structures and processes to support and sustain effective technical assistance in a state-wide multi-tiered system of support initiative. Journal of Education and Training Studies, 2(3), 129–137. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1055441

From the ERIC abstract: “Despite the national proliferation of technical assistance as a driver for school reform and as a model for embedded and sustained professional development, very little is known about the organizational structures and processes needed to support technical assistance. The purpose of this paper is to describe a structured needs assessment process whereby three organizational supports were identified by technical assistance providers. The context for the provision of technical assistance was a state-wide multi-tiered system of support initiative that integrated Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports and Response to Intervention. The results of this study are informed conceptually by the Instructional Hierarchy Model and the need to match organizational structures and processes to address the identified needs.”

Perlman, C. (2013). Summary of states’ strategies and consequences for ESEA focus schools (Solutions, Issue 2). San Antonio, TX: Building State Capacity and Productivity Center. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED542916

From the ERIC abstract: “As of January 1, 2013, 34 states and the District of Columbia have been granted waivers from certain provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Part of each successful flexibility application was a state accountability system that could identify priority schools (the lowest performing 5% of Title 1 schools) and focus schools (those with the greatest achievement gaps or in which subgroups are furthest behind). This document was written in response to a request made of the Building State Capacity and Productivity Center by a state education agency for information on what other states are doing to assist focus schools and what consequences will be imposed if focus schools fail to improve. This document is an attempt to summarize the states’ strategies and consequences for focus schools, primarily from their responses to section 2.3.iii of the flexibility request. The strategies used with focus schools generally include a needs assessment, development and implementation of a school improvement plan that specifically targets the groups with the greatest achievement gaps, monitoring implementation of the plan, and the provision of technical assistance by the state education agency (SEA), local education agency (LEA), regional service center, or outside partner. States vary considerably in the consequences imposed on focus schools that fail to reduce the achievement gaps or increase the graduation rates that resulted in their being classified as focus schools. Of the 34 states and District of Columbia, just over a third (13) do not specify any penalties for focus schools that fail to meet exit criteria within a specified amount of time.”

Player, D., Hambrick Hitt, D., & Robinson, W. (2014). District readiness to support school turnaround: A users’ guide to inform the work of state education agencies and districts. Sacramento, CA: Center on School Turnaround at WestEd. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED559742

From the ERIC abstract: “This guide provides state education agencies (SEAs) and districts (LEAs) with guidance about how to assess the district’s readiness to support school turnaround initiatives. Often, school turnaround efforts focus only on the school’s structure and leadership. Rarely do policymakers or practitioners think about school turnaround as a system-level issue requiring fundamental changes in district-level practice to establish the conditions for school turnaround to succeed. This guide provides an introduction to turnaround readiness conditions that will help districts to best position resources to enable turnaround schools to succeed. The recommendations in this guide are based on the research literature as well as the experience of the University of Virginia’s School Turnaround Program (UVA-STP). This guide is specifically tailored to help assess district-led turnaround initiatives or broader turnaround zone initiatives where a lead partner (in this case the ‘district’) is directing efforts across multiple schools. This guide first describes four focus areas that should be assessed before a district begins a turnaround initiative: (1) leadership; (2) infrastructure to provide differentiated support and accountability; (3) conditions for effective talent management; and (4) effective instructional infrastructure. Each focus area includes examples based on visits with districts before they embarked on significant turnaround efforts. The guide concludes with some practical advice on how to conduct a district turnaround initiative readiness assessment.”

Redding, S., Dunn, L., & McCauley, C. (2015). School improvement grants: Guidance and tools for the 2015 amended regulations—Maximizing the optional planning/pre-implementation year. Sacramento, CA: Center on School Turnaround at WestEd. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED559699

From the ERIC abstract: “The purpose of this guide is to provide states, districts, and schools with information and support to prepare applications for 2015-2016 School Improvement Grants (SIGs). The guide includes tools, checklists, and questions for SEAs and LEAs aligned with the revised SIG requirements, primarily focused on how to leverage the ‘planning year’ to build a foundation of success for SIG schools.”

Roy, P. (2010). Using the SAI to build a district professional development plan. Oxford, OH: National Staff Development Council. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED536373

From the ERIC abstract: “Professional development that improves teaching and student learning meets research-based standards to ensure high-quality educator learning experiences. Since the quality of professional learning affects its results, many states, districts, and schools want to measure the effectiveness of their professional development to make targeted improvements. However, few valid and reliable instruments are available to provide this information. The Standards Assessment Inventory (SAI) helps schools and districts assess how well their professional learning practices align with the National Staff Development Council’s Standards for Staff Development. The results can help educators focus on ways to improve the quality of their professional learning and create overall school improvement that contributes to student achievement. NSDC partnered with SEDL, a national education research laboratory, to design and produce a valid instrument that reliably measures how well a school’s practices meet the definition of high-quality professional development. The SAI measures each of the 12 standards with five questions. The completed instrument provides data that educators can use to identify areas of strength and areas that need improvement. Using the SAI results, along with processes and strategies included in this document, districts can determine their next steps in planning for continuous professional learning focused on increasing student achievement.”

Taylor, M. J., Dimino, J. A., Gellar, L. K., & Koontz, T. (2010). Identifying professional development needs in mathematics: A planning tool for grades 3-7 (2nd Ed.). Portsmouth, NH: Center on Instruction. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED521571

From the ERIC abstract: “This document offers a planning tool for grades 3-7 that can be used by regional comprehensive centers, other technical assistance centers, and state departments of education to plan professional development for teachers. It is based on the ‘National Mathematics Advisory Panel Report’ which was published in 2008. The panel synthesized its final report after reviewing 16,000 research publications and policy reports and receiving public testimony from more than 100 individuals. In addition, they reviewed written commentary from 160 organizations and individuals and analyzed survey results from 743 active teachers of algebra. The panel worked as a committee of the whole but largely worked in task groups and subcommittees. Each of the five task groups carried out a detailed analysis of the available evidence in these areas: Conceptual Knowledge and Skills, Learning Processes, Instructional Practices, Teachers and Teacher Education, and Assessment. This tool can be useful for educators as they engage in careful planning and consideration of the ‘benchmarks for the critical foundations’ recommended by the panel.”

U.S. Department of Education. (2006). Designing schoolwide programs. Jessup, MD: Author. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED491239

From the ERIC abstract: “This guidance offers a renewed vision for the use of the schoolwide program, both as a reform strategy and as a means of realizing the high standards for student achievement envisioned by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). It is intended to be used as a companion document to the statute and regulations, as well as a technical assistance resource. The guidance is organized in three major sections: the comprehensive needs assessment, the comprehensive plan, and the annual program evaluation. The first section suggests a process for organizing and conducting the needs assessment. It also discusses planning in general, not only as the prerequisite to change and reform, but also as an ongoing and transparent activity that must be used throughout all aspects of schoolwide program implementation. The second section addresses the development of the comprehensive plan and its required components, emphasizing the importance of involving all key stakeholders. The third describes a strategic approach to the required evaluation of the program, which loops back to the planning component. Each begins with a brief discussion followed by a more detailed explanation of specific program requirements. Research-based principles and practical approaches for implementation are also included, and each section ends with questions and answers on specific topics, as needed.”

U.S. Department of Education. (2011). Southwest region: A report identifying and addressing the educational needs. Jessup, MD: Author. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED539202

From the ERIC abstract: “The Educational Technical Assistance Act of 2002, authorized the Southwest Regional Advisory Committee (RAC), whose members represent the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas, to identify and prioritize the region’s educational needs and recommend how those needs can be met. The Southwest RAC conducted three public meetings; the first meeting was held on May 23-24, 2011 in Arlington, Virginia, while the next two meetings were online webinars held on June 16 and 23, 2011, respectively. At each of its meetings, members discussed the educational needs in the Southwest and strategies for meeting those needs. The RAC reviewed regional background information for the Southwest. Some of the factors related to the educational challenges in this region were the rural environment of almost two thirds of schools; the diversity of the student population; the linguistically and culturally rich backgrounds of the families; the poverty that affects over half of all students; the potential language comprehension problems that many young students bring to school; and the significant levels of underachievement in reading and mathematics, especially among minority groups. After preliminary deliberations about the most important needs, the RAC developed a data collection plan that tapped into various channels of communication, some of which relied on the use of technology. This report presents the deliberations of the Southwest Regional Advisory Committee to assess the educational needs of the region. It represents the regional needs assessment of the committee for the Southwest region, which includes Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.”

University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute & Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2007). Setting the stage for data analysis: Assessing program strengths and risks. Hadley, MA: Authors. Retrieved from http://www.donahue.umassp.edu/documents/setting-stage-data-analysis-strength-weak.pdf

From the Introduction: “This tool was developed to help Head Start programs utilize all relevant data sources during self-assessment, program improvement, and T/TA planning. The tool will assist Head Start programs to:

  • Review all critical Head Start data sources
  • Identify information that has significance for program planning
  • Use time and resources efficiently and effectively
  • Organize large amounts of data in a user-friendly format that can be easily shared with key stakeholders
  • Identify indicators of program strength and accomplishment from a variety of data sources
  • Identify areas of potential risk to the program that should be at the forefront during data analysis and program planning

As illustrated in the chart below, a strong self-assessment process integrates all relevant data sources into the self-assessment and planning process. When multiple sources of data are used during the data analysis, your program is well-positioned to create effective program improvement plans and meaningful training and technical assistance plans that strengthen the program’s foundation, support program excellence, and lead to improved outcomes for children and families.”

Additional Organizations to Consult

Strategic Data Project at the Center for Education Policy Research – https://sdp.cepr.harvard.edu/home

From the website: “Harvard’s Strategic Data Project works with education agencies to find and train data leaders to uncover trends, measure solutions, and effectively communicate evidence to stakeholders. Our inspiring network of system leaders, fellows, and faculty come together to share how to best use data to make a difference in the lives of students.”

Strategic Use of Data Rubric – https://sdp.cepr.harvard.edu/strategic-use-data-rubric

From the website: “Education leaders already have the motivation to improve the strategic data use in their organizations. Yet they often do not know where to start, what direction to take, or even what exemplary data use might look like.

The SDP Strategic Use of Data Rubric is a resource that provides direction and support to education organizations to transform their use of data. The rubric establishes a common language and framework to more clearly illustrate what effective data use at the system-level looks like.”

Methods

Keywords and Search Strings

The following keywords and search strings were used to search the reference databases and other sources:

  • Comprehensive needs assessment

  • “Needs assessment”

  • “Needs assessment” “elementary secondary education”

  • “Needs assessment” “program evaluation”

  • “Needs assessment” “state departments of education”

  • “Needs assessment” “technical assistance”

  • “Needs assessment process”

Databases and Search Engines

We searched ERIC for relevant resources. ERIC is a free online library of more than 1.6 million citations of education research sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). Additionally, we searched IES and Google Scholar.

Reference Search and Selection Criteria

When we were searching and reviewing resources, we considered the following criteria:

  • Date of the publication: References and resources published over the last 15 years, from 2004 to present, were included in the search and review.

  • Search priorities of reference sources: Search priority is given to study reports, briefs, and other documents that are published or reviewed by IES and other federal or federally funded organizations.

  • Methodology: We used the following methodological priorities/considerations in the review and selection of the references: (a) study types—randomized control trials, quasi-;experiments, surveys, descriptive data analyses, literature reviews, policy briefs, and so forth, generally in this order, (b) target population, samples (e.g., representativeness of the target population, sample size, volunteered or randomly selected), study duration, and so forth, and (c) limitations, generalizability of the findings and conclusions, and so forth.
This memorandum is one in a series of quick-turnaround responses to specific questions posed by educational stakeholders in the Midwest Region (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin), which is served by the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL Midwest) at American Institutes for Research. This memorandum was prepared by REL Midwest under a contract with the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES), Contract ED-IES-17-C-0007, administered by American Institutes for Research. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of IES or the U.S. Department of Education nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.