ERIC Number: ED161341
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978-May-22
Reference Count: 0
A Conceptual Framework for Identifying and Assessing Needs in Postsecondary Education. AIR Forum Paper 1978.
Lenning, Oscar T.
In order to sort out a comprehensible total picture regarding needs assessment and to develop a useful conceptual framework for this area, a comprehensive review of the needs assessment literature pertinent to the concerns of postsecondary education was conducted. The review found that needs assessment is a viable tool for input to planning, but serious problems exist. These include: (1) lack of a good definition of need; (2) difficulty in separating real need from wants and demands; (3) lack of valid and reliable measures and indicators of met and unmet need; (4) lack of useful taxonomies of needs; (5) tendency of many needs assessors to be imprecise about whose needs are of concern, and to not consider different groups separately; (6) tendency to focus on goals in needs assessment rather than let needs data help the institution evaluate and reformulate its goals; (7) tendency to be imprecise concerning which decisionmakers will use the needs data, and how; (8) failure to make use of relevant secondary data and to overcome the possible pitfalls inherent in such data; (9) difficulty of integrating "soft" with "hard" data; and (10) the tendency to make decisions using over-simplified decision rules. This information provides a framework to assist in overcoming such problems and for evaluating needs assessment models. (Author/JMD)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, Boulder, CO. National Center for Higher Education Management Systems.
Identifiers: Planning Methods
Note: Paper presented at the annual Association for Institutional Research Forum (18th, Houston, Texas, May 21-25, 1978) ; Best copy available; Figure 1 may be marginally legible