Comprehensive Needs Assessment

Throughout the 2020-2021 school year, Nebraska educators came together to revise the Comprehensive Needs Assessment (CNA), originally created by the NDE, in partnership with REL Central, Marzano Research, and Magnolia Consulting. The CNA is based on quality, evidence-based education practices for student success. The tool is aligned to AQuESTT and articulates the expected education practices under each of the domains, their tenets and the areas of focus supporting each tenet. When implemented fully, these education practices are intended to help your school achieve positive long-term outcomes.

The purpose of this tool is to help your school assess current practices, determine areas of strength, and identify priority areas for improvement. Your school team can use the needs assessment results to:

  • Examine root causes of areas in need of improvement,
  • Identify strategies and interventions to address root causes,
  • Determine action steps for implementing strategies and interventions,
  • Identify areas for professional learning, technical assistance, and resources to support implementation of strategies and interventions,
  • Set goals for continuous improvement and progress monitoring toward goals.

This tool can be used in three ways:

  • Full CNA: complete the comprehensive needs assessment which covers the six tenets and three domains of AQuESTT
  • Screener: complete the screener to identify which tenets to focus on
  • Individual tenet: Independently select the tenet you’d like to focus on

Access the CNA v. 2.0 here. It will force a copy and save to your google drive

  • This tool, in its current form, will not provide dynamic results. It is solely a word document.
  • Interested in learning more about our web-based CNA platform, email: 

The NDE’s Office of Coordinated School and District Support, in partnership with REL Central and Marzano Research, are launching a pilot study to test the Comprehensive Needs Assessment (CNA) 2.0. We are seeking participation from every ESU, with at least one ESU-District-School partnership for the pilot study. While the CNA is a school-level tool, we believe having an ESU and District partner for the school will be most optimal in providing ongoing support and assistance.

The CNA 2.0 Pilot Study has two main components. Component 1 is to gather feedback and reactions to the CNA tool and platform. Gathering user feedback and usability will ensure that we have a tool and platform that is responsive to user needs and will be a viable tool for all schools. Component 2 will focus on how the CNA is used in a continuous improvement process. This component will help us understand how schools use the CNA within a school year and what additional resources are needed to optimize the data the tool provides.

Component 1 of the pilot study will run approximately from mid-Sept 2021 through December 2021. Component 2 of the pilot study will begin approximately in Jan/Feb 2022.

You can sign up for one or both components! If you have any questions, please reach out to Shirley Vargas at

CNA Web App_beta version_UAT Kickoff_20211004Before we go live with the CNA 2.0, we must conduct an User Acceptance Test [UAT] to ensure its functioning appropriately. The two main questions we seek to answer are:

  • How do users experience the CNA Web App’s core features (e.g., access, scoring, reporting, consumption of resources)?
  • What issues or bugs did users encounter while using the CNA Web App?

Review the UAT Overview Guide to learn more information about the different roles you can try on the platform. If you missed the live session, you can review the recording. The UAT window starts: Monday, 10/4/2021 at 3:00 p.m. CT and ends: Friday, 10/8/2021 at 5:00 p.m. CT.

Campus Assessment User Acceptance Testing Overview

CNA Web App SY2021-22 Pilot

Video: User Acceptance Testing Kickoff Video

The NDE Comprehensive Needs Assessment (CNA) Tool is an Excel download that includes fictional data to start. You must enable macros for the file to work appropriately. Please read the “Overview” and “Administration Instructions” to determine which version of the tool your team would like to use. Additionally, the CNA Tool Resources, also an Excel download, serves as an appendix for the needs assessment. If you have resources you’d like to contribute to this document, please share them with me and I can add to this list and build our collective knowledge.

This tool is most powerful and transformative when used in collaboration with others from your school community. This can include but not limited to school/district leaders, teachers, support staff, ESU staff, etc.

For additional information, check out our 2019 NDE Day Presentation:

Updated November 21, 2022 10:18am