The community assessment process builds on a series of interrelated steps. Each step is guided by a set of clearly defined expectations and responsibilities. The Community Assessment Interactive Overviews use an engaging quiz format to unpack these steps, refining background knowledge and building new understanding of how to use community data to guide decision-making and develop responsive Head Start programs.
Program leaders can use these interactive overviews to get up to speed quickly on a community assessment’s guiding regulations and foundational concepts. Trainers can use these tools to help participants identify gaps in understanding prior to a training or summarize learning after a training. While these modules are designed around an engaging quiz format, they are not graded, and no score or certificate is provided.
To be responsive, programs must understand the needs and characteristics of the children, families, and communities they serve. The community assessment helps you gain that knowledge. Do you know the foundational requirements and benefits of a community assessment?
Planning for the community assessment involves key stakeholders from the start and maps the entire process. A well-articulated plan ensures your community assessment is thorough, accurate, and efficient. Do you know how to plan and organize for your community assessment?
The primary questions that a community assessment team chooses to answer will affect how they gather data. It's important to prioritize these questions and identify the sources of data needed to answer them. Do you know how to develop primary questions and design data collection?
Data collection needs to be strategic. Logistical and cultural considerations impact how data is gathered. A program's ability to effectively manage data impacts the quality of a community assessment. Do you know how to design a data collection plan and create tools to gather data?
During the community assessment process, data is used to identify ongoing changes in the community and plan for the future. Analyzing the data, identifying trends, and making data-informed decisions are crucial steps. Do you know how to analyze data and use research findings to inform decision-making?
Community assessment reports help staff and stakeholders understand key findings and buy into strategic program plans. These reports should carefully consider how to make the data accessible, relevant, and engaging. Do you know how to effectively communicate the findings from your community assessment?
Resource Type: Article
National Centers: Program Management and Fiscal Operations
Audience: Directors and Managers
Last Updated: July 28, 2023