4a: Needs Assessment

ISTE Standard for Coaches 4: Professional Development and Program Evaluation – Technology coaches conduct needs assessments, develop technology-related professional learning programs, and evaluate the impact on instructional practice and student learning.

4a. Conduct needs assessments to inform the content and delivery of technology-related professional learning programs that result in a positive impact on student learning.

The major practicum project that I undertook for Seattle Pacific University’s EDTC 6106: Educational Technology Leadership was a needs assessment for  XY School District (name withheld for confidentiality) that defined and clarified technology-related professional development needs as articulated by district teachers in a way that suggested strategies for accomplishing the XYSD District Technology Plan 2018-2022 goals as defined and integrated with the district’s four-focus Strategic Plan.

For this study I designed a utilization-focused data collection tool, an approach based on the principle that an evaluation is more likely to be used by the intended users if they feel ownership of the evaluation process, have been involved in the process, and feel that the results are useful to them. After meeting with district leaders to understand their goals and perceived obstacles in providing effective teacher professional development related to the use of instructional technologies, I developed a mixed methods survey and administered it to a purposive sample that represented all eight schools and all grade levels in the district. These teachers were identified by peers and by administrators as respected by other teachers as leaders in both teaching and technology implementation. My study also built upon two years of previous data collection that XYSD had gathered through a survey created by the Speak Up Project Tomorrow. I was able to help the district better understand teachers’ current use of use of instructional technologies, perceptions of barriers to using technology in instruction, patterns of in- and outside-district professional learning with regard to technology integration, and their perceptions of what types of district-provided professional development would be most effective for building their capacity to use technology in instruction.

My report, Synchronizing a Multi Campus College: Meeting a Local Higher Education Challenge by Developing Institutional Digital Capacities, describes the unique identity of one community college, some aspects of its use technologies to respond to student needs and market demands, considers the impact of its responses to those demands on student learning by disaggregating student data, and suggests considerations for helping the institution achieve its goals in ways that are equitable for all students.