Conducting a school counseling needs assessment is a vital step in running a successful counseling program. In fact, needs assessments should be the backbone of every school counseling program.
Why Needs Assessments Are Important
- Establish baseline data
- Identify areas that need the most support
- Prioritize time and resources to high-needs areas
- Can be given over time to evaluate change is perception data
What Questions Should You Ask on a Needs Assessment?
Counselors cover a ton of topics and it can be overwhelming trying to decide on what to ask your stakeholders. Keep your focus by answering the following questions:
What do I want to know?
A comprehensive guidance curriculum is, well, comprehensive and you run the risk of overwhelming your staff if you survey them about every area counselors cover. If you can get administrative backing to perform a comprehensive assessment, then I say go for it. However, if you want helpful information in a timely manner you will need to narrow down the focus of your assessment.
I choose to assess social, emotional, and behavioral needs/concerns. When I was new to my district I conducted a school counseling program needs assessment, where I asked teachers to rate how well they knew the program, accessibility, etc.
How will the information be used?
Some counselors have less than 250 students on their caseload and some (like me) have more than 1,500. When teachers/staff are answering questions about the frequency of services, they (at least on some level) will want you to provide the services you presented.
If you ask what frequency you should hold parent information nights and you offer weekly, monthly, and quarterly as choices…the expectation will be that you will hold parent information nights at least quarterly.
My recommendation is to use the needs assessment to gauge the issues and concerns the teachers are experiencing in the classroom rather than on how your program is delivered.
How to make a needs assessment with Google
- Open Google Drive to create a new Form
- Scroll through the options to select forms
- Name the survey
- Provide a description and/or directions
- Customize the survey’s appearance
- Customize with an image
- Add questions
- Set the question type to Linear Scale
- Set the scale for the survey
- Make the question required
- Duplicate the question to save the settings
- Preview your survey
- Share your survey with stakeholders with a link or by sending it through email
- Check out your results
I guess now it’s time for less telling and more showing…
Here is a screenshot of the school counseling needs assessment I made on Google Drive using some of the examples from Dr. Sink’s professional school counseling website:
I try to keep my needs assessments short for those filling it out and to help me keep the data more manageable. Teachers are notoriously tight on time and they REALLY appreciate you keeping things as quick and straight to the point as possible!
How to Create a Needs Assessment with Google Forms
Creating a survey on Google is super easy! Check out the 60-second video I made that walks you through the entire process. 🙂
So that’s how I plan on assessing the needs at my schools…Do you plan on conducting a needs assessment this year? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
I would love to hear how you conduct your needs assessment or any questions you might have in the comments below!