Center on Community Living & Careers, Indiana Institute on Disability & Community, Indiana University
How do you conduct transition assessment? It is a big process and can feel really overwhelming. Yet understanding the knowledge and skills each student has currently and what they still need to learn in the future is critical to the success of their educational experiences and life after high school. One way to make the process seem less daunting is to use a set of questions or a framework to guide your work, but we will talk about that more in a minute. For now, here are a few initial questions to get you started in thinking about how to do transition assessment.
Each of these questions has its own set of considerations. Taking the time to answer the question "Why?" will save you time in the long run. Ask yourself, the following questions before you move forward with the assessment.
The second question is important for you to think about, since the information you collect will be used in the IEP. Ask yourself,
See what you think about the examples below. Did the teacher in these examples ask themselves about what they hoped to get out of the assessment before they decided to give it?
After deciding why you are doing the assessment and what information you will gain from the assessment, ask yourself:
Check out the free assessment tools we've gathered for you by clicking on the words Tools & Matrix on the left side of your screen.
How do you decide which tool to use?
In thinking about any assessment, practical reality is always an important factor too. For instance:
The framework for transition assessment and planning process uses 4 key questions developed by Sitlington & Clark in 2006. These questions are meant to assist students, teachers and Case Conference Committee members with learning about a student's strengths, preferences, interests and needs as they relate to each of their measurable postsecondary goals, annual goals and transition services and activities. Since transition assessment is an ongoing process, you should use these questions all the time.
These questions form the basis of a transition assessment plan as suggested by Sitlington, Neubert & Clark and are the way to link the assessment to each student's Individualized Education Program. On the right side of your screen in the Handouts section you will see the Annual Transition Assessment Planning Form that contains these questions. It is a resource for you to use when you are thinking about assessment for an individual student.
Here are the 4 questions and essential sub-questions for educators to consider when conducting the transition assessment and planning process with students on an ongoing basis.
Click on the red words that say "click here for the answer", to interact with the graphic.
Teachers also need to have an understanding of the steps or actual process used to conduct transition assessment. Click on the presentation below for an overview of the steps in the age-appropriate transition assessment process. Remember that assessment is a cyclical process, so even though this information is presented in a linear fashion it is in reality, an ongoing process.
Every student is a unique whole individual. When a team is thinking about each student and what age-appropriate transition assessments might give them the information they need to make informed educational decisions, they need a guide for doing so.
In 2010, Sitlington, Neubert & Clark wrote about all the knowledge and skill domains a team should consider when planning transition assessment. Within the domains, students, families and educators are responsible for determining each student's strengths, preferences, interests and needs. Gathering accurate information about these domains can lead to more effective transition planning and better outcomes for students after they leave school.
The focus of transition assessment is unique for each student and the type of tool a teacher chooses to use depends on what information is needed. Sometimes you are looking for information on knowledge and skill levels as they will impact the student in meeting their postsecondary goals. Other times you may want to know a student's interests or preferences or the supports they may need to succeed. At times you may want to select a standardized test because you need information about a student's abilities, or aptitudes.
Other questions that need to be answered about how students apply what they have learned in real-life settings call for data gathering in less formal ways. Often teachers use assessments that they author themselves or that are occuring in other places in the school like general education classes and guidance activities. Click on the presentation below to find out more about the different types of transition assessment tools.
Sometimes teachers may not realize that transition assessment information is right under their noses!Throughout each school day students complete a variety of assignments. What they do, write and say might be useful to include as a part of the transition assessment for that student. Look at this example and see if you can pull useful transition assessment information from this High School English writing assignment!
Can You Analyze This?
Student strengths, preferences, interests and needs must be "matched" to the expectations of current and postsecondary environments in the areas of education and training, employment, and independent living. Whether the current and future settings are in an educational, communtity or employment setting, each environment and subenvironment must be assessed and compared to the student's knowledge and skills. What are the considerations for looking at an environment?
Checkout the Transition Assessment Matrix link on the right side of your screen for many tools that will help you with this, and try the sorting activity below for a little practice!
Environmental analyses will give the team the information they need to help the student get the right supports to succeed in the enviroment(s). The goal of the match is to make sure that students understand what is expected of them in terms of knowledge and skills as well as where they stand currently with respect to them.
The team then needs to be sure that the information gathered is used in the transition IEP to design a program for the student that has the services and activities the student needs to meet their postsecondary goals. If information about an environment is gathered and there is a disconnect between the students level of performance currently and where they want to end up when they leave school, then more instruction is called for and/or a reconsideration of the postsecondary goals. The chart below illustrates this concept.
There are four words that can help you begin the process of age-appropriate transition assessment and the first letter of each word is B V E F. Can you guess what they stand for? Click on the button in the presentation below for the answer.
When you look across the literature about transition assessment, there are a number of suggestions made that are meant to ensure that your work is compliant with federal and state mandates and of quality! Highlights from these recommendations are listed below.
Find more Tips in the Transition Assessment Guide in the Handouts section on the right side of your screen!
One thing that we have not yet addressed is what transition assessment looks like across the school years. Does assessment look different for a 14 year old than it does for a 21 year old? Our students change and grow everyday and their assessment needs change along with them.
Go to the next section to find out more about the timeline for transition assessment!