What is a transition assessment?  

A transition assessment is any assessment that occurs after a student turns 14.  The goal of an assessment is to answer any questions about a student that could help to inform an education plan or transition plan.  There is no single assessment that can provide all of the information needed for the transition process.  Transition assessment should be a combination of several assessments that provide a well-rounded picture of a youth’s strengths, interests, and any areas for support.   

It’s the law:  According to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the IEP must include “…appropriate measurable postsecondary goals based upon age-appropriate transition assessments related to training, education, employment and where appropriate, independent living skills”.   


Our Transition Assessment brochure  Can this link have “link center” taken out https://fcsn.org/linkcenter/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/sites/25/2017/08/dese_transition_assessment_brochure_web-sm.pdf + links to other languages 

More Information on Transition Assessment  

  • The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) explains what transition assessment means for school districts. 


Are there transition planning tools to help me get started?  

YES.  Transition from high school to adulthood is an on-going process of exploration and planning.  The timelines and guides below can help you get started.   

  • Start with the Family Guide to Transition Services (PDF) developed by the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission and the Federation for Children with Special Needs.(PDF)  It is also available in Spanish.  (PDF) 
  • The Arc of Massachusetts’ Transition Timeline helps families plan ahead and stay on track with transition milestones and progress.  
  • The Comprehensive Approach to Transition from the Association of University Centers on Disabilities is a useful resource to support youth in their transition to adulthood and community life.  
  • The Turning 18 Checklist will help you keep track of important steps in the transition process.   
  • Resource Guide for Transition Age Youth and Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ages 14-22) (PDF) 


  • Charting the LifeCourse Framework (CtLC): The Department of Developmental Services (DDS), the Arc of Massachusetts and many other organizations use this framework to offer person-centered planning on a student’s strengths and interests https://thearcofmass.org/lifecourse