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ERIC Number: ED181032
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979-Apr-27
Pages: 21
Abstractor: N/A
The State of the Art in Needs Assessments.
Cross, K. Patricia
Recent needs assessment studies are reviewed, with emphasis on the needs of adult learners and of needs assessors. Three general purposes of needs assessment are described: (1) providers of educational services are interested in what their market (adult population) wants; (2) public agencies are interested in whether or not all segments of the population have equal access to educational programs; or (3) researchers are interested in furthering knowledge about the attitudes and interests of adult students. Brief examples are presented to illustrate what types of information are most useful for each type of needs assessment. Only one-third of the studies reviewed have effectively used the data they collected. Certain conclusions are predictable from any needs assessment because they have been replicated so often: level of educational attainment is a positive predictor of interest and participation in further education, and interest and participation drop sharply after age 55. Respondent's opinions are shaped by their current perceptions, rather than by their ability to imagine what might exist in the future; the surprising success of the Elderhostel concept illustrates this problem. Four types of needs assessment errors are discussed: relativity; interpretation; lumping; and consideration of the small picture. (GDC)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Conference on Lifelong Learning (Akron, OH, April 27, 1979)