Conducting Needs Assessments to Identify Necessary School-Based Counseling Services



The purpose of this chapter is to shed light on the role of needs assessments in order to identify necessary school-based counseling services and better serve students within schools. Needs assessments provide foundation for an action plan to close the distance between the current situation and the ultimate objective, help to see common and critical needs of school-aged children, provide rationale to advocate school counseling services, and help in the effective use of available resources with future action plan. This chapter highlights that policy makers, those leading school counseling initiatives, and practitioners should think from a system-wide perspective to conduct needs assessment for creating school-based counseling services. There are many contextual factors that can exist in a school, a community, or larger society that contribute to the behavior or performance of students. Thus, we cannot separate the student from his or her system. That is why Roger Kaufman’s framework, namely, the Organizational Elements Model, for needs assessment was chosen for discussion since it uses a system perspective and considers needs assessment not only from an individual level but also from a greater perspective, at an organizational and societal level. This framework has five elements: mega, macro, micro, processes, and inputs. Detailed information about each element of a needs assessment, their alignment with each other, and examples about how they can be used in practice to identify necessary school-based counseling are explained throughout the chapter.


  1. Abel, R. M., & Friedman, H. A. (2009). Israeli school and community response to war trauma a review of selected literature. School Psychology International, 30(3), 265–228.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Altschuld, J. W., & Kumar, D. D. (2010). Needs assessment: An overview. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.Google Scholar
  3. Altschuld, J. W., & Eastmond Jr., J. N. (2010). The needs assessment KIT – book 2, phase I: Getting started. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.Google Scholar
  4. Astramovich, R. L. (2011). Needs assessment: A key evaluation tool for professional counselors. Retrieved from
  5. Barbazette, J. (2006). Training needs assessment. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer, an Imprint of Wiley.Google Scholar
  6. Breen, D. T. (1989). Enhancing student aspirations: A goal for comprehensive developmental guidance programs. Research in Rural Education, 6(2), 35–38.Google Scholar
  7. Bruce, A. M., Getch, Y. Q., & Ziomek-Daigle, J. (2009). Closing the gap: A group counseling approach to improve test performance of African-American students. Professional School Counseling, 12, 450–457. Retrieved from content.asp?contentid=235
  8. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). Fact Sheet. Retrieved from
  9. Cooper, D. C. (2002). Needs assessment. In K. O’Shea (Ed.), Staff development nursing secrets (pp. 65–78). Philadelphia: Hanley & Belfus, Inc.Google Scholar
  10. Crook, T. M., Stenger, S., & Gesselman, A. (2015). Exploring perceptions of social justice advocacy competence among school counselors. Journal of Counselor Leadership and Advocacy, 2(1), 65–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dahir, C., & Stone, C. (2003). Assessment of school counselor needs for professional development (ASCNPD). Unpublished survey.Google Scholar
  12. Dahir, C. A., & Stone, C. B. (2009). School counselor accountability: The path to social justice and systemic change. Journal of Counseling and Development, 87(1), 12–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dimmit, C., Carey, J. C., & Hatch, T. (2007). Evidence-based school counseling: Making a difference with data-driven practices. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.Google Scholar
  14. Ekstrom, R. B., Elmore, P. B., Schafer, W. D., Trotter, T. V., & Webster, B. (2004). A survey of assessment and evaluation activities of school counselors. Professional School Counseling, 8, 24–30.Google Scholar
  15. Gupta, K., Sleezer, C. M., & Russ-Eft, D. F. (2007). A practical guide to needs assessment (2nd ed., updated and expanded). San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.Google Scholar
  16. Hatch, P. (2014). The use of data in school counseling: Hatching results for students, programs, and the profession. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.Google Scholar
  17. Hayes, R. L., & Paisley, P. O. (2002). Transforming school counselor preparation programs. Theory Into Practice, 41(3), 169–176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. House, M. R., & Hayes, R. L. (2002). School counselors: Becoming key players in school reform. Professional School Counseling, 5, 249–256.Google Scholar
  19. Jansson, B. S. (2011). Becoming an effective policy advocate: From policy practice to social justice (6th ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.Google Scholar
  20. Kaffenberger, C. J., & Young, A. (2013). Making data work (3rd ed.). Washington, DC: American Counseling Association.Google Scholar
  21. Karayanni, M. (1996). The emergence of school counseling and guidance in Israel. Journal of Counseling & Development, 74(6), 582–587.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kaufman, R., Oakley-Brown, H., Watkins, R., & Leigh, D. (2003). Strategic planning for success: Aligning people, performance, and payoffs. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  23. Kaufman, R. (2006). Change, choices, and consequences: A guide to mega thinking and planning. Amherst, MA: HRD Press Inc.Google Scholar
  24. Kaufman, R., & Guerra-Lopez, I. (2013). Needs assessment for organizational success. Alexandria, VA: ASTD Press.Google Scholar
  25. Kose, A. (2010). Analysis of school counselors’ leadership practices through the lens of distributed leadership (Doctoral Dissertation). University of Massachusetts Amherst, Massachusetts.Google Scholar
  26. Leigh, D., Watkins, R., Platt, W. A., & Kaufman, R. (2000). Alternate models of needs assessment: Selecting the right one for your organization. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 8(1), 87–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Magnusson, K., & Bernes, K. (2002). Comprehensive career needs survey: An overview. Alberta Counsellor, 27, 12–15.Google Scholar
  28. Martin, I., Lauterbach, A., & Carey, J. (2015). The identification of factors affecting the development and practice of school-based counseling in different national contexts: A grounded theory study using a worldwide sample of descriptive journal articles and book chapters. International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling, 37(4), 305–318.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Miltich, A. P., Hunt, M. H., & Meyers, J. (2004). Dropout and violence needs assessment: A follow-up study. California School Psychologist, 9, 135–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Nordentoft, M., Madsen, T., & Fedyszyn, I. (2015). Suicidal behavior and mortality in first-episode psychosis. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 203(5), 387–392.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Scarborough, J. L., & Luke, M. (2008). School counselors walking the walk and talking the talk: A grounded theory of effective program implementation. Professional School Counseling, 11, 404–416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Ratts, M., DeKruyf, L., & Chen-Hayes, S. (2007). The ACA advocacy competencies: A social justice advocacy framework for professional school counselors. Professional School Counseling, 11(2), 90–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Thompson, D. W., Loesch, L. C., & Seraphine, A. E. (2003). Development of an instrument to assess the counseling needs of elementary school students. Professional School Counseling, 7(1), 35–39.Google Scholar
  34. Wisconsin Suicide Prevention Strategy. (2015). Prevent Suicide Wisconsin Partners Saving Lives in our State. Retrieved from

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationYeditepe UniversityIstanbulTurkey

Personalised recommendations