Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Mary Anne Bunda


This dissertation described a needs assessment model for a reading program and described the field testing of that model. The needs assessment model was a strategy for conducting a comprehensive and systematic assessment of reading program needs in kindergarten through Grade 12. The model could be used as a basis for educational program planning by a director of reading and a school superintendent. A model for conducting a reading program needs assessment was conceived and field tested because there were few available needs assessment models in reading which have been field tested. Field testing was particularly vital because only after implementation of a needs assessment model could it be seen whether the model will provide information it claims to provide. In the field testing, each step of the model was tried out in an actual school system where educational needs in the area of reading were being sought. The model was implemented exactly as written. Results of the field test were then used to modify the model.

After the needs assessment was conducted, the results of the procedure were reviewed and evaluated. In order to provide a checklist for garnering information about the model, Shepard's (1977) Checklist for Evaluating Large-Scale Assessment Programs was used. Specific criteria from the checklist were used to evaluate the field-tested needs assessment model. In areas where the model did not withstand scrutiny, changes in the model were recommended.

The Shepard checklist was also used to compare and contrast selected needs assessment models from the literature. Common elements of the needs assessment models were presented as well. Each of the eight models which are included was chosen becuase it offers specific guidelines and published materials for the practitioner.

This reading program needs assessment model included 13 steps for proceeding in a systematic order. It specified actions to be undertaken within an adaptable and adjustable format. By following each step of the organized model which has a sequence, the people involved are more likely stay on task. Their actions are organized and directed because of the sequence of steps in the model. Although situations will vary, the model was planned to extend over 12 or 15 weekly meetings, or approximately 6 months time. The model began with planning outcomes and limits, and concluded with a report to the public.

After the needs assessment was conducted, data collected, and information reported to the board of education and to the public, a questionnaire was given to the task force members who conducted the needs assessment. The purpose of the questionnaire was to provide information which might be useful in establishing the worth of the needs assessment model. To provide a meaningful outline for a questionnaire, categories from the Shepard checklist were used in designing the questionnaire. Thirteen questions were developed around the five Shepard categories. In addition to the questionnaire, interviews were held with randomly selected task force members. The questionnaire and interview results both proved to be effective means of evaluating the needs assessment process. Based upon the results of the field test, the model was altered in two ways: (a) More planning activities were specified in the model and (b) more community awareness activities were included in the model.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access