A needs assessment, in conjunction with stakeholder engagement, can help local educational agencies (LEAs) think strategically about the programs offered to their students. When LEAs receive $30,000 or more in Title IV, Part A funds, they are also required to conduct a comprehensive needs assessment. Below is information on a tool LEAs can use, including the Tool itself, and archived webinar materials that explain the Tool.
The Title IV, Part A LEA Needs Assessment Tool is designed to help LEAs meet the Title IV, Part A needs assessment requirements, while also being structured to encourage LEAs to think first about the desired outcomes, then work backwards to identify the programs that will best serve those outcomes.
The U.S. Department of Education (Department) has developed this comprehensive LEA needs assessment tool (Tool), which SEAs can share with LEAs. State Coordinators may opt to adopt the Tool for their use, offer the Tool as an option for LEAs, or offer an alternative tool or resource.
Within this Tool, LEAs can enter district- and school-level outcome data (i.e., for selected schools identified by the LEA for Title IV, Part A funding).
The Tool includes outcome-focused indicators. Collecting and analyzing outcome data during a needs assessment can help LEAs identify where their schools are facing challenges and stay focused on those outcomes as they implement their Title IV, Part A program.
These indicators were chosen based on Title IV, Part A requirements, as well as the anticipated availability of data since many of the requested data points are used as part of federal and state reporting.
As LEAs conduct a needs assessment to determine which programs to fund, those LEAs receiving at least $30,000 should bear in mind the following required distribution amounts outlined in section 4106 (e)(2)(C-E):
- At least 20% for activities to support a well-rounded education
- At least 20% for activities to support the safety and health of students
- A portion of funds for activities to support the effective use of technology
Apart from these required distribution amounts, LEAs are also limited by a special rule (section 4109 (b)) that no more than 15% of the portion reserved for effective use of technology can be spent on technology infrastructure.
There are five steps involved in conducting a needs assessment. Below are basic instructions for using the Title IV, Part A Needs Assessment Tool (Tool), step by step:
- Get Ready: Review the Tool, plan your needs assessment process, and select indicators.
- Enter Your Data: Identify schools, enter LEA data, and enter benchmarks and school data.
- Identify Needs: Review School differences and how identified schools compare to the LEA as a whole and benchmarks if entered.
- Analyze Needs: For each priority content area, refelct on a variety of data, reflect on strengths and gaps, and identify priorities and action steps.
- Address Prioritized Needs: For each priority content area, think about what can be done to meet the identified needs -- considering readiness, fit, and an appropriate implementation plan -- and ultimately included in an LEA's application for Title IV, Part A funds.
Additional details are described in the Tool, including determining whether to use the Tool as a whole or in part.
Webinar About the Tool
To support the release of the Tool, the Title IV, Part A Technical Assistance Center (T4PA Center) hosted a webinar on June 19, 2019. The webinar provided a refresher on the Title IV, Part A needs assessment requirements, walked through the development process and background of the Tool, offered a virtual tour of the Tool, and answered participant questions.