You are on page 1of 45

Running Head: Needs Analysis: Standards Based Instruction for SwSCDs

J NT2 Instructional Design Analysis Task 1



Needs Analysis: Standards Based Instruction for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities

Yvonne M. Field
Student ID: 000364252

Western Governors University

Mentor: Kevin Branch
Needs Analysis: Standards Based Instruction
2
Table of Contents
Summary of the Instructional Problem 3
Background 3
The Instructional Problem 3
Differences between Current and Desired State 4
Current State 4
Desired State 5
Data Collections Process 6
Data Collection Instruments 6
Sources of Data 8
Data from Other Sources 8
Summary of Results 8
Data Analysis Techniques 8
Limitations of the Data 10
Data Results 10
Interview Summary 28
Finding of Needs Analysis 29
Summary of Instructional Needs 32
Goal Statement 33
References 35
Appendices 36
Appendix A 37
Appendix B 41
Appendix C 43
Appendix D 44

Needs Analysis: Standards Based Instruction
3
Needs Analysis: Standards Based Instruction for Students with Significant Cognitive
Disabilities

Summary of the Instructional Problem
Background
Montana has adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and consequently joined
the National Center and State Collaborative (NCSC), a project supported by a GSEG grant that is
working on creating an alternate assessment system aligned to the Common Core State Standards
for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. In Montana, we have created a
community of practice to advise on the implementation of the new alternate assessment and have
presented basic information to teachers, test coordinators, and administrators at several
conferences in the state over the past year. We have also piloted training on the new assessment
system and on standards based instruction utilizing the alternate standards developed by the
NCSC project.
The Instructional Problem
Many Special Education teachers in Montana have indicated that they do not have the
knowledge and skills necessary to implement standards based instruction for their students with
the most significant cognitive disabilities who participate in alternate assessments. IDEA 2004
requires that students with disabilities have access to, participate in, and progress in the general
education curriculum (Hitchcock, 2009). There is a gap between teachers understanding of the
intent of IDEA and the possession of the necessary skills to masterfully implement instruction
that supports access to the general education curriculum for these students. This is especially true
for teachers of students with the most significant cognitive disabilities who represent about 1%
Needs Analysis: Standards Based Instruction
4
of the nations public school population and participate in alternate assessments based on
alternate achievement standards. Our states implementation of the Common Core State
Standards (CCSS) and a new alternate assessment system aligned to the CCSS have served to
highlight and heighten the urgency to address this gap for the teachers of our students with the
most significant cognitive disabilities. The goal of the CCSS and the standards based reform
movement is that all students be ready for college and careers when they graduate high school.
To many this seems like a high bar for students who participate in alternate assessments, yet
across the country more and more students in this population are accessing one of the 227 post-
secondary programs existing in the United States today (Think College, 2014). Research on the
important elements for post-secondary success for all students including this population, indicate
that academic skills are an important factor in success (Kleinert, H., Kearns, J ., Quenemoen, R.,
& Thurlow, M., 2013). It is essential to successful implementation of the CCSS that includes
students with significant cognitive disabilities, that teachers receive professional development to
help them to implement standards based instruction so that this population can be ensured equal
access to a free and appropriate public education and higher post-secondary outcomes.
Differences between Current and Desired State
Current State
Currently a majority of Montanas students with significant cognitive disabilities spend
the majority of their school days in a separate setting. The programs in Montana schools tend to
be life skills based (focusing on functional skills). For the most part inclusion in grade level
academics is limited. Participation in the general education setting is limited to specials such as
art, music, and physical education. Students in this group who would benefit from having
augmentative or alternative communication systems in place often do not have them or the
Needs Analysis: Standards Based Instruction
5
systems are not consistently maintained throughout a students years in public school. This
means that these students do not have the tools necessary to communicate what they know and
can do. This is a serious impediment to access and participation in the general education setting.
Most students are not accessing grade level content either in the resource room or in the general
education setting. The post-secondary outcomes and options for these students are often limited
to day programs with very little opportunity to continue to move towards independent living and
participation in the activities that typical peers have access to after high school including
accessing post-secondary school options, working, and participating fully in their communities.
Desired State
The desired state would be one in which all students with significant cognitive disabilities
would have access to, participate in, and progress in the general education curriculum
(Hitchcock, 2009) through application of Universal Design for Learning for greater inclusion in
the general education setting. Administrators and content/general education teachers would
support that inclusion by collaborating with special education teachers to create inclusive
instructional opportunities. Teachers of students with significant cognitive disabilities would not
only implement Standards Based IEPs but would have the skills and abilities to create Standards
based instruction; tracking progress using formative and interim assessment processes that
provide actionable data to guide students towards the achievement of academic and IEP goals.
Teachers would have a deep understanding of the NCSCs research based curriculum and
instructional materials and would be able to create their own instructional materials that follow
the best practices set forth by the NCSC project. Students would have access to a broader range
of post-secondary options beyond high school including having the opportunity and skills
necessary to participate in and access programs for students with significant cognitive disabilities
Needs Analysis: Standards Based Instruction
6
at the college level. Towards that end teachers and administrators would have a deep
understanding of the skills that students need to be college and career ready and would be able to
support students attainment of the essential academic and non-academic skills. These students
would leave high school with the skills needed to obtain work and would be able to fully
participate in their communities.
Data Collections Process
The needs analysis data collection instruments were designed to answer the following
research questions to determine if instruction is needed to address the problem: 1) Do teachers
already have the knowledge, skills, and attitudes, to be able to implement the new alternate
assessment system (curriculum, instruction , assessment) aligned to the common core state
standards; 2) Do teachers already have the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to be able to
implement standards based instruction with this specific population? 3) To what extent is
standards based instruction currently being implemented in the pilot district and Montana for this
population? 4) What kinds of professional development and/or non-instruction based supports do
teachers identify is needed to be able to implement standards based instruction?
Data Collection Instruments
Two types of instruments were created to collect data for the needs analysis. A survey
(Appendix A) was created to gather information from the special education teachers in the
district where the professional development will be piloted and an interview was conducted with
the special education director in the same district. The survey was distributed electronically to
teachers by the special education director. The survey format was chosen because of the need to
compare data trends across the group of teachers. The anonymity of the survey format allowed
teachers the opportunity to respond openly to questions intended to determine teachers attitudes
Needs Analysis: Standards Based Instruction
7
towards implementing standards based instruction, current levels of implementation, and
opinions about the usefulness of standards based instruction for students with significant
cognitive disabilities. Teachers were asked to use a Likert scale to rate their experience creating
content instruction, understanding of topics related to standards based instruction, ability to apply
their understanding of those topics, and interest in attending professional development
opportunities for each topic related to standards based instruction. Teachers also indicated
professional development workshops in which they have previously participated. Two qualitative
questions were included: 1) teachers indicated the skills they felt were necessary to implement
standards based instruction and 2) teachers answered a general question about their previous
experience with professional development provided by the state or their local district. The
survey was also used to gather information for a learner analysis.
The interview format was useful to gather information to allow comparison of teacher
responses to the perceptions of the special education director who supervises the survey
respondents. The interview was a good way to ask question that were specific to just the special
education director. The person to person interaction of the interview format is useful in that it
allows for clarifying questions and exploration of new ideas and directions introduced by the
interviewee. The interviewee was asked to provide an overview of the professional development
workshops that have already been provided by the district, the skills that teachers need to
successfully implement standards based instruction, the sequence and types of instruction that
would be most useful, and the extent which standards based instruction is taking place in the
focus district.
There is currently no data available related to student achievement on an alternate
assessment aligned to the common core state standards in Montana. The new assessment is still
Needs Analysis: Standards Based Instruction
8
in development. The new alternate assessment will be operational in spring of 2015 with the
first academic achievement data available in the fall of 2015.
Sources of Data
The survey was sent out to special education teachers in one district in Montana where
the instructional unit will be presented. The survey was sent to about ten participants in the focus
district. Four special education teachers who work directly with students in their districts with
the most significant cognitive disabilities responded to the survey. One recently retired special
education teacher and one former special education teacher who now works at the state level
supporting teachers also completed the survey. An interview was conducted with the special
education director in the district where the instructional unit will be delivered. The special
education director is also a subject matter expert in differentiation, standards based IEPs, and
standards based instruction.
Data from Other Sources
One other source of data, available from the validity evaluation work for the NCSC
project was used. This source is a report on the Learner Characteristics Inventory (LCI) survey
that was completed as part of the NCSC project validity evaluation (Towles-Reeves, 2012).
Data from this report that was used in this needs analysis are: 1) the most prevalent instructional
settings where the students who participate in alternate assessment are served.
Summary of Results
Data Analysis Techniques
The survey consists mainly of Likert scale questions. The designer chose a 4 point Likert
scale to eliminate the midpoint option. The median and mode were calculated and are included
in the data tables. Median was used as the main data point for analysis. This designer feels that
Needs Analysis: Standards Based Instruction
9
the median is more useful than the mean because the median eliminates the outliers and takes
into account questions where one end of the scale or the other had no responses. The designer
reviewed questions and responses were there was no clear mode. The median for responses on
questions related to topics pertinent to standards based instruction were summarized in one table
so that topics could be rated from topics of greatest to least need for instruction. The median of
understanding and ability to apply were averaged to determine these rankings. The median for
interest was also included to determine if interest was inverse to topics of need. One question on
the primary classroom setting of teachers was compared to national data to see how the focus
district compares to national data from the NCSC project.
Open ended question responses were sorted by the response topic to find trends and
distinct topics; data tables report the number of responses pertaining to a particular theme and the
percentage of total responses. The main topics were also combined into main professional
development topics related to the NCSC professional development framework, with total number
of responses and percent of total number of responses indicated. Individual responses to open
ended questions were also considered and used according to their relevance to the research
questions.
The interview responses were reviewed and compared to the responses from survey
respondents to determine if teacher perceptions match with the perceptions of the special
education director or supervisor. Also the subject matter expertise of the interview respondent
provide a useful check on the agreement between the designer and the interviewee on the most
important topics and instructional needs to ensure successful implementation of standards based
instruction. Individual responses were each considered and used according to their relevance to
the research questions.
Needs Analysis: Standards Based Instruction
10
Limitations of the Data
The small sample size makes it more difficult to confidently draw conclusions from the
data. Outlier responses have a larger impact on the median than would happen with a larger
sample. Also, the needs analysis is most pertinent to one specific district in Montana. This
district has piloted some of the NCSC professional development modules that this designer
created so their understanding of the NCSC resources is higher than it would be in other places
in Montana. Responses to the survey are not necessarily representative of the responses from a
sample that would include a range of districts in Montana. The implication for creating an
instructional unit that could be used in any district/cooperative in the state of Montana is that the
needs analysis would need to be re-administered to include a better sampling from across the
state. Respondents may have selected moderate over little because selection of little would be
negative reporting of abilities. This may have led to over representation of moderate responses.
The designer took this into account in the analysis and used comparison with the interview
question responses and teachers open ended responses to check on the accuracy of this data.
Data Results
Table 1 represents data from the first needs analysis question on the survey. This Likert
item asked teachers to indicate the primary classroom setting where they teach. The categories
are: 1) self-contained with some special inclusion (less than 40% of the school day in a general
education setting, with some inclusion in specials like art, music, physical education); 2) self-
contained with some academic inclusion (less than 40% of school day spent in general education
setting, with some inclusion in academics like English language arts, mathematics, science, or
social studies); 3) resource room/ general education setting(40% to 79% of the school day in the
general education class setting); 4) general education inclusive/collaborative setting (at least 80%
of the school day); and 5) other. The data from the NCSC Learner Characteristic Inventory
Needs Analysis: Standards Based Instruction
11
(LCI) project (Towles-Reeves, 2012) is included in Table 1 for comparison sake. The total
number of respondents to the NCSC LCI survey represented 45,634 responses. The NCSC LCI
includes a category for special school, but since there is no such school in Montana it was not
included in the survey.
The majority of survey participant teachers indicated that they teach primarily in a self-
contained classroom setting with students participating in some special inclusion in classes such
as physical education, art, and music (fifty percent of respondents) this is slightly less than the
national percentage of sixty eight percent. Teachers in Montana reported that no students were
participating in the self-contained with some academic inclusion setting. The national percentage
for this setting is ten percent of students. Thirty three percent of Montana survey respondents
indicated that their students setting is the resource/general education setting. The national data
for this setting is five percent. This may be slightly inflated because of the small number of
respondents and some confusion amongst teachers about resource room versus separate setting.
The two settings are sometimes thought of as synonymous. One teacher reported that they teach
primarily in a collaborative/inclusive setting. The survey data and national data show that most
students are not accessing academic content in the general education setting.

Needs Analysis: Standards Based Instruction
12
Table 1
Primary Classroom Setting
Setting Number of MT
Respondents
MT
Survey
Percentage
National
Percentage
Self-contained with some special inclusion 3 50% 68%
Self-contained with some academic
inclusion
0 0% 10%
Resource room/general education setting 2 33% 5%
General education inclusive/
collaborative setting
1 16% 3%
Other 0 0% 1%
Special School --- --- 13%

Needs Analysis: Standards Based Instruction
13
Table 2 shows the data for the second question in the teacher survey which asked
respondents to rate their experience creating content instruction for both tested and not tested
subjects. Reading was separated into two categories: reading foundations and reading
comprehension. Teachers indicated moderate experience with most content areas except for
science between little and moderate experience and social studies-little experience. The areas
of most confidence are reading comprehension and mathematics. Only one topic had no mode:
science where the responses were equally spread between no experience to moderate experience.

Table 2
Experience Creating Content Instruction
Content Area No
Experience
Little
Experience
Moderate Highly
Experienced
Median Mode
1 2 3 4
Reading
Foundations
1 0 3 2 3 3
Reading
Comprehension
0 0 4 2 3 3
Writing 0 2 4 0 3 3
Mathematics 0 0 5 1 3 3
Science 2 2 2 0 2 ---
Social Studies 2 1 3 0 2.5 3


Needs Analysis: Standards Based Instruction
14
Table 3 shows the data for the third survey question for the needs analysis which asked
teachers to rate their understanding of topics pertinent to standards based instruction. The
designer chose these topics based on an analysis of the scope of topics related to the standards
based instruction: state standards (CCSS), the NCSC assessment system professional
development framework (curriculum, assessment, instruction, communicative competence, and
college and career readiness), standards based instruction and IEP writing, and collaboration/co-
teaching. Based on the median for each topic, teachers indicated that they have little
understanding of the NCSC Core Content Connectors (prioritized and simplified CCSSs) and the
NCSC instructional resources, little-moderate understanding of college and career ready skills
and communicative competence, and moderate understanding was indicated for all other topics
except for collaboration/inclusion where the median indicated moderate-high understanding. In
reviewing the mode there was only one response item where there was no clear mode:
communicative competence. The areas of lowest understanding for teachers are: NCSC CCCs,
NCSC instructional resources, communicative competence, and college and career ready skills.
The area of highest understanding is collaboration/inclusion.

Needs Analysis: Standards Based Instruction
15
Table 3
Understanding of Topics Related to Standards Based Instruction
Topic No
Understanding
Little Moderate High Median Mode
1 2 3 4
NCSC AA-AAS 0 2 3 1 3 3
NCSC CCCs 1 3 2 0 2 2
NCSC Instructional
Resources
1 4 1 0 2 2
Standards Based
Instruction
0 0 4 2 3 3
Standards Based
IEPs
0 1 3 2 3 3
Communicative
Competence
1 2 2 1 2.5 ---
College & Career
Ready Skills
1 2 3 0 2.5 3
Learner
Characteristics
0 1 3 2 3 3
CCSS 0 0 6 0 3 3
Co-teaching/
Collaboration
0 1 2 3 3.5 4

Needs Analysis: Standards Based Instruction
16
Table 4 show data for the fourth question pertinent to the needs analysis on the survey
which asked teachers to indicate their ability to apply knowledge of topics related to standards
based instruction to create instruction for students with significant cognitive disabilities who
participate in alternate assessments. NCSC CCCs, NCSC Instructional Resources, and
Communicative Competence were areas where teachers indicated little ability to apply
knowledge; little to moderate ability to apply knowledge in the areas of college and career ready
and learner characteristics of students with significant cognitive disabilities; moderate ability to
apply knowledge in the areas of NCSC Alternate Assessment, Standards Based Instruction,
Standards Based IEPs, Common Core State Standards (CCSS); and moderate to high ability to
apply knowledge in one area: collaboration/inclusion. The areas of highest need were NCSC
CCCs, NCSC instructional resources, and communicative competence followed by college and
career ready skills and learner characteristics. The area of lowest need was
collaboration/inclusion.

Needs Analysis: Standards Based Instruction
17
Table 4
Ability to Apply Knowledge of Topics Related to Standards Based Instruction
Topic No Ability Little Moderate High Median Mode
1 2 3 4
NCSC AA-AAS 0 2 4 0 3 3
NCSC Core
Content Connectors
1 4 1 0 2 2
NCSC Instructional
Resources
1 4 1 0 2 2
Standards Based
Instruction
0 0 5 1 3 3
Standards Based
IEPs
0 0 4 2 3 3
Communicative
Competence
1 3 1 1 2 2
College & Career
Ready Skills
2 1 2 1 2.5 ---
Learner
Characteristics
1 2 2 1 2.5 ---
CCSS 0 1 3 2 3 3
Co-teaching/
Collaboration
0 1 2 3 3.5 4

Needs Analysis: Standards Based Instruction
18
Table 5 represents data from the fifth survey question related to the needs analysis which
asked teachers to indicate their interest in participating in professional development on the topics
related to standards based instruction. NCSC instructional resources, standards based
instruction, and standards based IEPs were areas where teachers indicated moderate-high interest
in participating in professional development; moderate interest was indicated for participation in
professional development on the topics of NCSC AA-AAS, NCSC CCCs, communicative
competence, college and career ready skills, and learner characteristics; little-moderate interest
was indicated for collaboration/inclusion.
Needs Analysis: Standards Based Instruction
19
Table 5
Interest in Attending Professional Development Opportunities
Topics No Interest Little Moderat
e
High Median Mode
1 2 3 4
NCSC AA-AAS 0 1 4 1 3 3
NCSC CCCs 0 0 4 2 3 3
NCSC Instructional
Resources
0 0 3 3 3.5 ---
Standards Based
Instruction
0 0 3 3 3.5 ---
Standards Based
IEPs
0 0 3 3 3.5 ---
Communicative
Competence
0 0 5 1 3 3
College & Career
Ready Skills
0 0 4 2 3 3
Learner
Characteristics
0 1 4 1 3 3
CCSS 0 1 4 1 3 3
Co-teaching/
Collaboration
1 2 2 1 2.5 ---

Needs Analysis: Standards Based Instruction
20
Table 6 represent data from the sixth questions from the survey related to the needs
analysis which asked teachers to indicate the professional development topics where they had
already had the opportunity to attend professional development on topics related to standards
based instruction for students with significant cognitive disabilities. Sixty-six percent of
respondents indicated that they had participated in professional development on Standards
Based Instruction, the Common Core State Standards, and Co-teaching/Collaboration; thirty-
three percent of respondents indicated participation in Standards Based IEPs and Learner
Characteristics of Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities topics; sixteen percent
indicated participation in NCSC Alternate Assessment and College and Career Ready Skills
topic; none of the respondents had participated in opportunities on the NCSC Instructional
Resources or Communicative Competence topics. The areas of most professional development
participation are Standards Based Instruction, Common Core State Standards, and Co-
teaching/Collaboration.

Needs Analysis: Standards Based Instruction
21
Table 6
Previous Professional Development Participation
Topic Number of Respondents Percentage
NCSC Alternate Assessment 1 16%
NCSC Instructional Resources 0 0%
Standards Based Instruction 4 66%
Standards Based IEPs 2 33%
Communicative Competence 0 0%
College and Career Ready Skills 1 16%
Learner Characteristics 2 33%
Common Core State Standards 4 66%
Co-teaching/Collaboration 4 66%

Needs Analysis: Standards Based Instruction
22
Table 7 represents the analysis of teacher responses to an open ended question asking the
respondents to identify the skills most needed to implement the new alternate assessment system,
the common core state standards, and standards based instruction for students with significant
cognitive disabilities. The highest number of comments by the teacher identified instruction on
Standards Based Instruction and writing standards based IEPs as the most needed types of
instruction. The next highest identified areas of need are attitudes towards greater inclusion of
students with significant cognitive disabilities and differentiation. In looking at individual
comments to this open ended question (Appendix B), it was clear that teachers felt that
administration, general education/content teachers, and parents need information/instruction to
change attitudes about the value of greater inclusion and the ability of students who participate in
alternate assessments to learn academic content.

Needs Analysis: Standards Based Instruction
23

Table 7
Analysis of Teacher Identified Needs for Successful Implementation of Standards Based
Instruction
Response Topics Number of Comments Percentage
Standards Based Instruction 3 42%
Attitudes towards greater inclusion of
SwSCDs*
2 28%
Interconnection of CCSS, NCSC, and
Standards Based Instruction
1 14%
CCSS 1 14%
AA-AAS 1 14%
Online Assessment 1 14%
Accessing Resources 1 14%
Writing Standards Based IEPs 3 42%
Differentiation 2 28%


Needs Analysis: Standards Based Instruction
24
Table 8 represents the major professional development themes that emerged from the
open ended responses. When responses related to curriculum and instruction were combined
into one category, 73% or 11 of 15 of the comments related to this aspect of standards based
instruction.

Table 8
Major Themes in Teacher Identified Needs for Successful Implementation of Standards Based
Instruction
Response Major Themes Number of Responses Percentage
Assessment 2 13%
Curriculum & Instruction 11 73%
Attitudes towards greater inclusion of
SwSCDs*
2 13%
*Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities SwSCDs

Needs Analysis: Standards Based Instruction
25
Table 9 analyzes the responses to the open ended survey question that asked teachers to
indicate what their experience has been with professional development opportunities available in
their school, district, or from the state. This question was intended to elicit general information
on the quality and relevance of professional development offered in Montana. Some of the
responses are more applicable to the learner analysis and will be explored in that context. One
theme that emerged was the opinion that professional development has been too broad in its
approach and not specific enough to the student population and context of these teachers.
Teachers indicated that individualized professional development is desirable and necessary at
this point to be able to take broad knowledge and use it to implement standards based instruction
in the local context.
Table 9
Analysis of Open Ended Survey Response to Experience with School, District, and State PD
Theme Number of Responses
PD Specific to SwSCDs* and Special
Education
3
Individualized PD 2
*Students w Significant Cognitive Disabilities

Needs Analysis: Standards Based Instruction
26
Table 10 allows for side by side comparison of the responses across the three questions
that asked teachers to rate their understanding of, ability to apply, and interest in attending
professional development for the major topics related to standards based instruction for students
with significant cognitive disabilities. Areas where teachers had little or little to moderate
understanding and ability to apply in the instructional content have correspondingly moderate or
moderate-high interest for PD. The one area where interest remains high despite participation in
PD, and relatively high understanding and ability to apply understanding, is in standards based
instruction and standards based IEPs. The mean of the understanding and application shows the
following topics rated based on highest need for instruction: 1) NCSC instructional resources and
Core Content Connectors (curriculum); 2) Communicative Competence; 3) College and Career
Ready Skills; 4) Learner Characteristics; 5) NCSC AA-AAS, Standards Based Instruction,
Standards Based IEPs, and Common Core State Standards. The last topic:
Collaboration/Inclusion is the only topic where teachers indicated moderate-high ability and
understanding and low interest in further instruction.

Needs Analysis: Standards Based Instruction
27
Table 10
Comparison of Understanding, Application and Interest
Topic Understanding
Median
Apply
Median
Mean of
Understanding
and Application
Interest
in PD
Median
NCSC AA-AAS 3 3 3 3
NCSC Core Content
Connectors
2 2 2 3
NCSC Instructional
Resources
2 2 2 3.5
Standards Based Instruction 3 3 3 3.5
Standards Based IEPs 3 3 3 3.5
Communicative
Competence
2.5 2 2.25 3
College & Career Ready
Skills
2.5 2.5 2.5 3
Learner Characteristics 3 2.5 2.75 3
CCSS 3 3 3 3
Co-teaching/ Collaboration 3.5 3.5 3.5 2.5


Needs Analysis: Standards Based Instruction
28
Interview Summary
Professional development has taken place in the focus district on topics related to
standards based instruction and the new alternate assessment system. The topics provided have
included: the NCSC Alternate Assessment System Overview (Core Content Connectors, College
and Career Ready, Alternate Assessment Blueprint Overview, NCSC Instructional Resources),
Standards Based Instruction, Writing, Common Core State Standards, and Co-teaching. When
asked what skills teachers need to be able to successfully implement standards based instruction
for students in the focus district who participate in alternate assessments, the special education
director indicated that instruction is needed that addresses attitudes towards Standards Based
Instruction for this population, accessing the Montana Common Core Standards, familiarization
with how to access the NCSC curricular and instructional resources, standards based instruction
and IEPs, collaborative teaching, and Universal Design for Learning. The interviewee also
indicated that teachers need instruction that allows for practice applying knowledge of the topics
to create explicit instruction for the CCSS. In asking how much standards based instruction is
taking place in the district for students with significant cognitive disabilities, the interviewee
indicated that not a lot is taking place. The interviewee indicated that in order for standards
based instruction to be successfully implemented in the district it will be necessary to provide
professional development that allows teachers to apply their background knowledge to practice
creating instruction. The interviewee indicated that, it is one thing to write a standards based
IEP; it is another thing to work with the general education teacher to implement the instruction to
support the IEP and it is another thing to gather the materials and provide the instruction to
support attainment of the goal. Teachers also need to know how to create assessment tools that
help them to track progress towards attainment of the goal. The gist of the interview was that
Needs Analysis: Standards Based Instruction
29
even though teachers have had professional development on the basic concepts of standards
based instruction for the CCSS, they need instruction that utilizes strategies that will take
teachers beyond basic understanding of standards based instruction to application of the
understanding to create instruction within the context of their own classrooms.
Finding of Needs Analysis
The data collected as part of the needs analysis is organized and summarized below by
research question. This section is followed by a summary of recommendations related to
instruction that addresses the identified problem.
Research Question 1: Do teachers already have the knowledge, skills, and attitudes, to be
able to implement the new alternate assessment system (curriculum, instruction, and
assessment) aligned to the common core state standards?
The trend across questions in the survey related to the NCSC Alternate Assessment
System is that the NCSC curricular and instructional topics are the areas that have the highest
need for creation of professional development. Table 3 indicates that teachers have little
understanding of the NCSC Core Content Connectors (CCCs) and NCSC Instructional
Resources. Responses also indicated between little and moderate understanding of two other
NCSC professional development topics: Communicative Competence and College and Career
Readiness. Table 4 indicates that teachers have little ability to apply knowledge of the CCCs,
NCSC Instructional Resources, and Communicative Competence and between little and
moderate ability to apply knowledge of College and Career Ready Skills and Learner
Characteristics of students with significant cognitive disabilities. Table 5 indicates moderate to
high interest in participation in PD related to NCSC Instructional Resource and moderate
interest in all other NCSC topics (Alternate Assessment, Core Content Connectors,
Needs Analysis: Standards Based Instruction
30
Communicative Competence, College and Career Readiness, and Learner Characteristics of
Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities. Table 6 represents teachers prior professional
development participation. None of the survey respondents participated in professional
development in NCSC Instructional Resource topics and only one respondent indicated
participation in professional development on other NCSC topics including: Learner
Characteristics, College and Career Readiness, and Alternate Assessment. Table 7 and the
interview summary details NCSC topics of highest need for professional development.
Teachers and the special education director in the focus district indicated that there is a need for
instruction on how to access and use NCSC instructional and curricular resources to implement
standards based instruction.
Research Question 2: Do teachers already have the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to be
able to implement standards based instruction with this specific population?
Table 2 indicates that teachers have at least a basic grasp of content knowledge in the
main tested content areas: English Language Arts (reading foundations, reading comprehension,
and mathematics). It is not necessary to include content as a part of the scope of the instructional
unit because teachers have the basic understanding that is necessary to access the content of the
instructional unit and the collaborative skills to be able to work with content specialists to obtain
help with content knowledge. Tables 3 and 4 indicate that teachers have a moderate or basic
understanding of the topics standards based instruction and writing standards based IEPS. Table
7 indicates that sixty six percent of respondents have participated in professional development on
standards based instruction and thirty three percent of respondents have participated in PD on
writing standards based IEPs. Even though teachers have a basic understanding of these two
topics they still indicated (Table 5) moderate to high interest in participating in further training
Needs Analysis: Standards Based Instruction
31
on these two topics. This high interest can be explained by a closer look at the open ended
responses to the survey question where teachers were asked to identify instructional needs for
successful implementation of standards based instruction. Teachers indicated that there is a need
for a specific type of instruction in this area, instruction that instructs teachers on how to
implement standards based instruction for the specific population and isnt generalized to all
students. Teachers also indicated the need to have training that teaches how the NCSC resources
can help them to address their specific student needs. In the interview the special education
director indicated that learners need to have instruction that allows participants to pull together
and utilize resources to practice applying the concepts that they have already grasped to their
context and their students.
Research Question 3: To what extent is standards based instruction currently being
implemented in the pilot district and Montana for this population?
Table 1 indicates that the majority of students are not being served in general education
settings. This applies whether one is looking at data from the national level or from the survey
responses. Therefore there is little to no collaboration between general education teachers and
special education teachers taking place in schools. This may indicate that little standards based
instruction is taking place for these students. The special education director for the focus district
indicated in the interview that very little standards based instruction is taking place in her district.
Tables 3-6 indicate that teachers have had ample instruction in collaboration and have the
understanding and ability to apply that understanding to implement collaborative teaching for
inclusion of their students in the general education setting. Survey and interview responses
indicate that attitudes of administration and general education teachers have been a barrier to
inclusion of students who participate in alternate assessments in the general education setting in
Needs Analysis: Standards Based Instruction
32
academic content instruction. In open ended responses about needs, the teachers themselves feel
that instruction is needed for general education/content teachers to change attitudes about
achievement and this population. The special education director in the focus district indicates
that special education teachers may need instruction that includes training on how to work with
general education teachers and administration to change attitudes towards greater inclusion of
these students.
Research Question 4: What kinds of professional development and/or non-instruction
based supports do teachers identify is needed to be able to implement standards based
instruction?
In the open ended responses, Likert scale items, and the interview it was clear that
professional development that is specifically geared towards moving teachers beyond basic
understanding of standards based instruction to instruction that is focused on implementation of
standards based instruction using the NCSC instructional resources is needed. Open ended
responses also indicated that there is a need for professional development related to standards
based instruction that is specific to students who participate in alternate assessments.
Summary of Instructional Needs
This designer has determined that the instructional problem
1
that is analyzed in this needs
analysis is one that can be addressed by the design of instruction. Analysis of data from a survey
of special education teachers and an interview with a special education administrator and subject
matter expert support this finding and further define the needed content and focus of instruction.
The topics related to standards based instruction for students with significant cognitive

1
Many Special Education teachers in Montana have indicated that they do not have the knowledge and skills
necessary to implement standards based instruction for their students with the most significant cognitive disabilities
who participate in alternate assessments.
Needs Analysis: Standards Based Instruction
33
disabilities who participate in alternate assessment ranked in order of highest need to lowest need
are: 1) NCSC instructional resources and Core Content Connectors (curriculum); 2)
Communicative Competence; 3) College and Career Ready Skills; 4) Learner Characteristics of
Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities; 5) the NCSC AA-AAS, Standards Based
Instruction, Standards Based IEPs, and Common Core State Standards. Further the needs
analysis lead this designer to identify that though teachers have had access to training that
addresses standards based instruction, they have not had training that provides an explicit and
systematic approach to apply that knowledge to successfully implement standards based
instruction for students who participate in alternate assessment, nor have they previously had
instruction on how to access quality research based resources that can be utilized (such as the
resources created as a part of the NCSC alternate assessment project) to understand and
implement practices that work in their local contexts.
Goal Statement
The following goal state has been developed to address the instructional problem analyzed
in this needs assessment.
When provided with instruction on the NCSC Core Content Connectors, NCSC
interim and formative assessment tools, NCSC instructional resources,
systematic planning and implementation of standards based IEPs and instruction,
and universal design for learning for inclusion, the learners (special education
teachers who work with students who participate in the NCSC Alternate
Assessment) will be able to utilize the NCSC curricular and instructional
resources; applying knowledge of the NCSC AA-AAS System, the Common Core
State Standards and Standards Based Instruction, to successfully implement
Needs Analysis: Standards Based Instruction
34
instruction in both the resource and general education settings to ensure that all
students who participate in alternate assessments on their case load are-- to the
fullest extent possible--able to access , participate in, and progress in the
general education curriculum (Hitchcock, 2009). Subsequently students will
achieve higher academic outcomes, as measured by the NCSC Alternate
Assessment and have higher rates of participation in post-secondary programs,
higher rates of employment, and access to their local communities.
Needs Analysis: Standards Based Instruction
35
References
Hitchcock, C., Meyer, A., Rose, D., J ackson, R., (November 2009). Technical Brief: Access,
Participation, and Progress in the General Curriculum (PDF). Accessed September 4, 2014
http://aim.cast.org/sites/aim.cast.org/files/NCACTechBriefNov3.pdf

Think College: College Options for People with Intellectual Disabilities. (n.d.). Retrieved
September 02, 2014, from
http://www.thinkcollege.net/component/programsdatabase/?view=programsdatabase&Itemid=33
9
Towles-Reeves, E., Kearns, J ., Flowers, C., Hart, L., Kerbel, A., Kleinert, H., Quenemoen, R.,
Thurlow, M., (August 2012). Learner Characteristics Inventory Project Report: A Product of the
NCSC Validity Evaluation (PDF). Accessed August 23, 2014
http://ncscpartners.org/Media/Default/PDFs/Resources/LCI-Project-Report-8-21-12.pdf

Needs Analysis: Standards Based Instruction
36
Appendices
APPENDIX A: Standards Based Instruction for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities
Survey
APPENDIX B: Analysis of Open Ended Survey Question Responses
APPENDIX C: Interview Questions
APPENDIX D: Analysis of Interviews Questions

Needs Analysis: Standards Based Instruction
37
Appendix A
Standards Based Instruction for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities Survey
Live Form:
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1EJ vDvSDWOaQdVexvInJ dnRtRWjFPrbCNocIZX1xgLXA/vi
ewform?usp=send_form




Needs Analysis: Standards Based Instruction
38





Needs Analysis: Standards Based Instruction
39


Needs Analysis: Standards Based Instruction
40




Needs Analysis: Standards Based Instruction
41
Appendix B
Analysis of Open Ended Survey Question Responses
Table 1
First Open Ended Response Summary and Analysis
Addressed
with PD?
Need Topic

Based on your experience working with
students with significant cognitive
disabilities, what skills do you think teachers
in your school and or district need most in
order to implement the new alternate
assessment system, the common core state
standards, and standards based instruction
for this student population?
Yes training on interconnection
between, assessment, ccss,
standards based instruction
Basically, a better understanding of how are
interconnected.
Yes Training on
Differentiation/UDL
I think that teachers need the ability to
differentiate and have the skills to adapt the
standards to the cognitive level of individual
students without watering down the standard.
Yes Training on Standards based
instruction
Training on Standards Based Inst

Yes Accommodations/modification,
differentiation
One size does not fit all. Knowledge of
accommodations/modifications individualized
to student's needs.
YES/Audience:
Administration
Attitudes of administration
towards SBI and SBIEPs
Our particular district believes that EC students
should not be taught the standards and that
their IEP goals should not be based on grade
level standards. It leaves teachers feeling like
they have no resources and no idea what to
teach. I wish there was more support for
standards based IEPs and instruction.
YES Attitudes towards SBI and
SBIEPs, higher expectations
for SWSCD
Educating families and other teachers about
what options/outcomes are possible for SWD
that are moderate.
YES Accessing Resources Resources so that they don't have to reinvent
the wheel.

Needs Analysis: Standards Based Instruction
42

Table 2
Second Open Ended Response Summary and Analysis
Addressed
by
Instruction?
Themes What has been your experience with professional
development opportunities available in your school,
district, or from the state?
No
Types of PD identified webinars, fact to face, internet
Yes Specific to population,
location specific, building
and classroom specific,
one on one coaching
They have been good but I would like more specific to my
population. Many times a PD has been described on paper
as having this information but the workshop does not apply
and the time is wasted. I feel that it would be nice to have
more individualized PD such as on-site coaching as each
area of Montana, level of building and classroom is so
different. It would be nice to have some one on one time
with an expert to hash out new ideas as I am the only
teacher in my district in the high school life skills program.
Yes More specific training for
Special Ed
We have had great training from the state Striving Readers
and from Reading First. We may need mores specific
training in Sp Ed
Yes
Lacking Lacking....
Yes PD not sensitive to issues
that actually face
They have been repetitive and not very useful in
addressing issues we actually face.
No
Types of PD Identified Webinars, face to face trainings

YES Training on Technology for
assessment- clarification of
test platform
I also feel that teachers need to be tech savy
and have sufficient training in technology to
help students complete the alternate
assessment.

YES Training on CCSS Training on Common Core State Standards
YES Training on Alternate
assessment
Training on Alternate Assess
YES Training for SBI, SBIEPs I wish there was more training standards
based IEPs and instruction.

Needs Analysis: Standards Based Instruction
43
Appendix C
Special Education Administrator Interview

1. What is your current position?
2. What other education experience have you had?
3. Years of Experience as a professional Educator:
4. Grade Levels Taught:
5. Educational Background:
6. What professional development opportunities have taken place in your district?
7. What skills do your teachers need to successfully implement standards based instruction?
8. What format of PD is most effective in your district?
9. What kind of scope and sequence do you feel would lead to the attainment of the goal?
10. Where your teachers with implementation of standards are based instruction for
SWSCD?

Needs Analysis: Standards Based Instruction
44
Appendix D
Analysis of Interview Question Responses

Table 1
Interview Response Questions Analysis
Addressed by Instruction? Attitudes towards SBI Need to make that a part
of their belief system that
those things are important

YES MCCS How to access the MCCS

YES Resources for Familiarization
with CCSS
Need to have knowledge
of how to access
resources for how to
become familiar with
CCSS,
YES NCSC Alternate Assessment
System
NCSC
YES SBIEP Standards Based IEPs
YES Co-teaching Collaborative Teaching
YES UDL UDL
YES Where to find resources on
UDL, Co-teaching, SBIEP,
NCSC resources
Need to know where to
get that information

Instructional Strategy Practice Applying SBI in
instructional setting/work
setting
Need to practice, play
with all of those
things: apply these things

YES-Instructional Strategy Implementation of Explicit
instruction, CCSS, NCSC
Need to become familiar
with how to implement
explicit instruction for the
common core

Needs Analysis: Standards Based Instruction
45
YES But- Entry Level Skills
Beyond the scope of a 10 hour
instructional unit.
Knowledge/Expertise about
core content
Need the skills to use
explicit instruction in
teaching core content
reading, science, social
studies, mathematics, etc
YES Accessing Resources How to find instructional
materials

YES-But beyond the scope of the
the training-Audience is different
(could provide access to resources
for teachers to provide
information/training to these
stakeholders)
Training on how to impact
attitudes of administration
and teachers towards
inclusion in CCSS os
SWSCD.
Need to know how to
collaborate with the
general ed teacher and
know how to assuage the
gen ed teachers
discomfort teaching
SWSCD the CCSS.

Table 2
Suggestions for progression/focus of instruction
1. Get familiar
with the CCSS,
LPF, Background
knowledge
2. Need background on the
CCSS
3. and then apply it to practice
Catch a vision with how you do that .
4. It is one thing to
write a standards
based IEP
5. it is another thing to work
with a general ed teacher to
implement the instruction to
support the IEP
6. and it is another thing to gather the
materials and provide the instruction
to support attainment of the goal.