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Studer Education’s Straight A Leadership Needs Assessment helps measure leader perception of need on a scale of “no need” through “urgent need” in a school district. Leadership levels include school boards, executive/administrative teams, department directors, managers and supervisors, and school leadership teams.

Why Use? The purpose is to identify alignment, that is, whether leaders are both (a) on the same page with internal and external goals/strategies/actions and (b) perceive the same sense of urgency (Studer, Straight A Leadership; see also Kotter, A Sense of Urgency).

What Does It Tell Us? Data from the Needs Assessment allow one to evaluate whether the different levels of leadership have a consistent view (goals/strategies/actions) of the internal and external environment, in addition to a consistent perception of urgency (no need or urgent need). It is important to focus on both horizontal and vertical consistency or gaps/disconnects when analyzing the data. If there is alignment among the leadership groups, then one can expect the same type and consistency in behavior among the leaders.

What If It Finds No/Limited Alignment? The Needs Assessment is about determining what and where the disconnects are, not to say “this is bad,” but to say, “if there is a disconnect then how do we make the connection.” This is important because a disconnect highlights communication challenges such that people (leaders) are not on the same page.1

Monday’s What’s Right post highlights Dr. Matarazzo’s “Try This Tip” focused on applying data as feedback. She writes, “Making your data into feedback is ‘absolutely essential’ for the continuous improvement of our selves, our systems, and our results.” The Straight A Leadership Needs Assessment provides one opportunity to gather data to then apply as feedback, helping school leaders to “learn what needs to improve, strategize for how to make things better, and implement new actions” (Matarazzo).



Kotter, John. 2008. A Sense of Urgency. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press. Author video on YouTube.

Studer, Quint. 2009. Straight A Leadership: Alignment, Action, Accountability. Gulf Breeze, FL: Fire Starter Publishing.

1 Studer, Quint. 2012. Straight A Leadership: Alignment, Action, Accountability. Studer Group Webinar Series. Available online.

Dr. Melissa Matarazzo is a Research Fellow at Studer Education. Follow Dr. Matarazzo on Twitter at @LrngLdr and follow Dr. M’s weekly post “Try This Tip” here.

Interested in some feedback about your district? Try our free District Diagnostic Tool for your organization. Contact us for more information about our stakeholder feedback tools.

Our mission at Studer Education is to provide students with a great place to learn, teachers with a great place to teach, and parents with confidence that their children are getting a great education. Visit us online at http://studereducation.com. Studer Education is a division of Studer Group, ranked for the sixth straight year on the Best Small and Medium Workplaces by Great Place to Work® and a recipient of the 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.