Many families and transition-aged students can find the post-secondary transition process overwhelming. There is a lot to consider. There can be a lot of uncertainty navigating the possibilities of what life after high school will look like. Some families find using a transition timeline helps them keep track of important events along the way to a high school student’s transition to adult life. There are many examples of Transition timelines.
Examples of Timelines:
- Transition from School to Adult Life (source: The Arc of Massachusetts)
- Turning 18 Checklist (source: Autism Housing Pathways)
- A Resource Guide for Transition Aged Youth and Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Transition Timeline starts on p.2 (source: Autism Commission, MA Department of Health and Human Services)
- Transition Tool Kit from Autism Speaks
Transition Assessment is: “An ongoing process of collecting information on the student’s strengths, preferences and interests as they relate to the demands of current and future working, educational, living, and personal and social environments” (The Division on Career Development and Transition of the CEC citing Sitlington, Neubert, & Leconte, 2007).
There is no one tool or method appropriate for all students with disabilities. Like all students, students with disabilities are a diverse group with a broad range of strengths, support needs, abilities and interests.
Although IDEA requires that each student’s postsecondary goals should be based on age-appropriate transition assessment, specific descriptions of transition assessments are not in the law.
The individual needs of each student determine which transition assessments will be conducted. (Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education)
Educators need to become familiar with and use a variety of transition assessment tools and methods.
Both formal and informal transition assessments can provide useful information for transition planning. There is no one specific test that can give an IEP team everything they need to know to support a transition-aged student. As stated in IDEA, transition assessments need to be age-appropriate. Assessment outcomes will likely change over time as the student has more experience and continues to learn. Ask your school’s transition coordinator about what assessments may be appropriate.
Formal transition assessments are standardized instruments that have guidelines for administering, scoring, and interpreting, and have been tested for reliability and validity. Scores can be compared across student populations.
Informal transition assessments allow assessment of student performance over time. They are useful in designing and evaluating the effects of instructional interventions. In addition, informal assessments can be used to collect data from a variety of individuals in the student’s life (e.g. family, teachers, friends, employers, coaches), using a variety of non-standardized methods. Informal transition assessments are not standardized and lack formal reliability and validity measures; therefore they are less structured than formal assessments and do not allow comparison with other students.