Needs Assessment Guidebook

Needs assessment processes, which are required across several components of ESEA1, can help local stakeholders and system leaders understand how the pieces of a complex educational system interact. Whether that system reflects a school, a district, or an entire state, a needs assessment process can uncover both strengths and challenges that will inform growth and improvement. The Needs Assessment Guidebook is a new tool from the State Support Network that describes the elements and implementation phases of an effective needs assessment process.

The Needs Assessment Guidebook:

  • Reviews some of the major school-improvement-related needs assessment requirements found in ESEA
  • Introduces the elements of a successful needs assessment
  • Presents a practical approach to addressing those elements across the phases of needs assessment implementation
  • Describes supports that states can provide to districts, and districts to schools, in the implementation of effective needs assessments
  • Discusses the role of needs assessment within a continuous improvement process

Download the Needs Assessment Guidebook here.

1The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act.


On June 6, 2018, the State Support Network hosted a webinar on the Needs Assessment Guidebook and other related resources around needs assessment. The webinar recording is available below.

Video of Needs Assessment Under ESSA