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Migrant Education Comprehensive Needs Assessment

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  1. Background
  2. Description
  3. Objectives
  4. Components
  5. Contact Information
  6. Resources

1. Background

Under Title I, Part C, Education of Migratory Children of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), State educational agencies (SEA) must deliver and evaluate Migrant Education Program (MEP)-funded services to migratory children based on a State plan that reflects the results of a current statewide comprehensive needs assessment.

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2. Description

In 2002, the Office of Migrant Education launched a comprehensive needs assessment pilot project. The Comprehensive Center Network agreed to assist the Office of Migrant Education with the first phase of this effort to help States develop and field-test a statewide comprehensive needs assessment process. Four States were selected to participate in the pilot project from a number of States that expressed interest (Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Texas). The goal of the initiative was to pilot and document a process that SEAs could follow to develop a highly reliable comprehensive statewide needs analysis. Once the comprehensive needs assessment process was field-tested the results were shared with MEP directors in all States through a Summer Institute and through presentationss and Institues at national conferences and meetings. Even though the pilot project concluded in the Summer of 2004, work in the area of comprehensive needs assessment is ongoing.

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3. Objectives

The primary objectives of the comprehensive needs assessment pilot project were to:

  1. Pilot comprehensive statewide needs assessments in the areas of school readiness, reading, math, and high school graduation, based on the three-phase process described in Planning and Conducting Needs Assessments, by Belle Ruth Witkin and James W. Altschuld (1995).
  2. Work with the Comprehensive Centers to obtain front-end and on-going technical assistance and support in conducting the pilot project.
  3. Support interstate coordination and sharing among participants through a "learning lab" environment.
  4. Document the process and develop and disseminate a product that other SEAs can use.
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4. Components

Dimensions of the comprehensive needs assessment process include:

  1. planning
  2. design of the needs assessment
  3. analysis of migrant student needs
  4. the selection of strategies to address the needs identified; and
  5. the documentation of processes and results.

The first phase of the comprehensive needs assessment pilot project required States to investigate what is already known about the needs of migrant children; to determine the focus and scope of a needs assessment; and to develop procedures that gain key stakeholder commitment for all stages of the assessment (including the use of findings for subsequent program planning and implementation). The second phase of the initiative focused on helping States gather and analyze data. The third phase involved helping States use the need assessment findings in programmatic decision-making.

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5. Contact Information

Sarah Martinez, sarah.martinez@ed.gov (202) 260-1334.

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6. Resources
  • The Office of Migrant Education has developed a training resource that is based on the work of Belle Ruth Witkin and James W. Altschuld in Planning and Conducting Needs Assessments. States might find this resource helpful in improving their needs assessment process.
    [downloadable files] MS WORD (165K) | PDF (823K)

  • The Comprehensive Centers Network developed an online planner as part of a pilot project described above. The online planner, which is based on the three-phase Comprehensive Needs Assessment (CNA) model developed by Witkin and Altscchuld, is designed to help State migrant education programs implement a CNA process. The planner includes sample materials that a State can use and adapt to conduct a CNA.
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Last Modified: 02/26/2014