The needs maze : how adult educators assess needs

Cardinal Scholar

Show simple item record

dc.contributor.advisor Wood, George S., 1930- en_US Bruno, Frank Alan en_US
dc.coverage.spatial n-us--- en_US 2011-06-03T19:23:39Z 2011-06-03T19:23:39Z 1995 en_US 1995
dc.identifier LD2489.Z64 1995 .B78 en_US
dc.description.abstract The purpose of this descriptive study, "The Needs Maze: How Adult Educators Assess Needs," was to identify the relationship between Adult Basic Education (ABE) planners' theory (espoused) and what practitioners really did or did not do (theory-in-use) in assessing needs. The study examined the extent to which particular patterns, theories or models of needs assessment in adult education were actually used by practitioners in planning adult education programs. This study employed a predominately descriptive research design. The purpose of this study was to investigate how adult education practitioners conducted needs assessment. Among the questions that this study addressed were the following: What models of needs assessment are available for educators to consider? Do program planners use these models in planning programs? What do educators actually do in practice when they conduct a needs assessment? What can those who are facing the maze of needs learn from adult education planners who have gone through the process of conducting needs assessment for their particular programs?Since few studies have focused on how adult education planners really did needs assessment, the lack of sufficient information on what practitioners really did or did not do in the name of needs assessment left a large gap in our understanding of "theory-in-action" with respect to needs assessing. When adult educators talked about needs, they seemed to mean different things. Needs assessment appeared to have multiple meanings and modes of implementation. Needs assessments were conducted in a variety of ways. As a result of this ambiguity and diversity ofpractice, there were few studies conducted to discover ways practitioners conducted needs assessment. Since there existed a gap between what was known about needs assessment and what practitioners did, this study helped to uncover data that could narrow the gap in understanding how practitioners really used needs assessment and possibly can help practitioners chart a course between theory and practice that would make the use of needs assessment of value to them.The general methodology of this study was to survey through questionnaire, 83 Indiana Adult Basic Education (ABE) planners about the connection between their espoused theory and their "theory-in-use" (Argyis & Schon, 1974). Data was collected through the use of a questionnaire, 5 interviews, and 5 document reviews. The researcher had the ABE directors identify theories, principles, assumptions and beliefs from prominent adult education models that they might have encountered previous in doing their own assessing. They identified actual models and techniques/activities they used. The researcher then followed up with a structured interview with 5 respondents to check the validity of the survey findings and gain added clarity and motivation for why they did needs assessment in a particular way. During the interview session the researcher asked to examine a local needs assessment document to see if the methodology or techniques described by the participants were found in the documentation as evidence of their practice.A general picture which emerged from the study was that ABE directors surveyed had inadequate training in needs assessment. On the whole they understood needs assessment techniques; but there was a gap in what they perceived they were doing and what they were actually doing. As a rule, very little relationship between theory and practice existed. Respondents most frequently used techniques which were general and common to many of the models. They avoided techniques which required in-depth study of existing social systems or which put them into contact with learner populations. Respondents preferred techniques which could be done by a single person. Respondents did not generally use a single model for needs assessments, but chose different models in different situations or developed their own models. Needs assessment was found to be a maze through which educators wandered while planning programs. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship Department of Educational Leadership
dc.format.extent 237 leaves ; 28 cm. en_US
dc.source Virtual Press en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Adult education -- United States -- Curricula -- Planning. en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Needs assessment -- United States. en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Basic education -- United States -- Planning. en_US
dc.title The needs maze : how adult educators assess needs en_US Thesis (D. Ed.) en_US
dc.identifier.cardcat-url en_US

Files in this item

Files Size Format View

There are no files associated with this item.

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

  • Doctoral Dissertations [3134]
    Doctoral dissertations submitted to the Graduate School by Ball State University doctoral candidates in partial fulfillment of degree requirements.

Show simple item record

Search Cardinal Scholar


My Account