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.
- Do I need this information?
- Will it be useful to the student and other team members to help them make informed decisions about the future?
- Has it already been done?
- Does it need to be done again?"
The second question is important for you to think about, since the information you collect will be used in the IEP. Ask yourself,
- What will I do with the information if I get it?
- Will it result in information that is directly applicable to the student's postsecondary goals, annual goals and transition services and activities?
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:
- What tools are out there in the universe of transition assessment and
- Which one is the right one to use for a particular student and a specific skill area and/or setting, student characteristics (e.g., disability, cultural factors, age etc.)
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?
- Get a copy of the tool, read it and read the manual.
- Look online for reviews or articles about it.
- Talk with others who are familiar with its use if possible.
- Think about questions that a student would want to know about themselves as a way to guide the selection of assessment methods. The National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center (NSTTAC) proposed this set of questions as helpful to the process.
In thinking about any assessment, practical reality is always an important factor too. For instance:
- Who will be administering the assessment tool is one consideration. That depends on the coordination of who (staff, family, student, employer) and when (schedules and settings).
- Will more than one person be doing the assessment?
- How many times does the assessment need to be done?
- How many places?
- How familiar are you and the student with the settings and services that they will access when they leave school? Do you have ongoing relationships with adult service providers, vocational/technical schools, community colleges and universities so that you can guide the transition assessment and planning process effectively?
- Does your school have a copy of the assessment you want to use? Can you borrow it? Otherwise cost might be a problem.