Through program evaluation, administrators and other improvement teams can determine if the district's program philosophy is guiding curriculum development, curriculum implementation, and service delivery. The key to quality program evaluation is the critical analysis of district/school data to assess the district's/school's strengths and specific needs.
What data exists?
Reviewing national transition data provides a "big picture" of transition and the national trends in student outcomes.The National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS2) surveyed a national sample of students who were 13 to 16 years of age in 2000 as they moved from secondary school into adult roles. They were 21 to 25 years old at the final data collection in 2009. Fact sheets and newsletters can be downloaded from the NLTS2 website of survey outcomes.
The U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) collect data on how States progress monitor their implementation of IDEA. OSEP has 20 indicators that measure various parts of IDEA. The Indiana Department of Education collects and generates reports for each individual school and district in Indiana on items such as graduation rate, dropout rate, attendance, ECA scores and ISTEP+ scores. This data can be retrieved on their website on DOE Compass or by clicking HERE.
Local transition data is also collected by The Indiana Department of Education, Division of Special Education when it conducts a yearly survey of former students at one year after graduating/exiting high school. (This is a survey is for Indicator 14 which we mentioned in Part 1: Talking about Transition.) Review the Results of the 2011-2012 Post-High School Follow-Up Survey for your district by clicking HERE.
The importance of conducting post-secondary services or program needs assessment was also highlighted in Kohler's Taxonomy (1996). When reviewing the results of your district with administrators, improvement team, or department, it is important for you to think about the data and how you have prepared students for adulthood. You may consider questions such as:
- What are your district's strengths?
- What are your graduates' strengths after high school?
- What are your district's challenges?
- What are your graduates' challenges after high school?
- How might you better prepare students for success?
Reviewing the answers to these questions, as well as other data, will assist you in making decisions regarding curricular needs and transition activities that will benefit your students. In Part 2: Teaching for Transition, we provided you with a number of evidence-based practices and resources that will help you meet the needs identified through your surveys/needs assessments. For example, if you identified a need to improve your instruction to meet the needs of all learners, you will find helpful resources on Differentiated Instruction (DI), Universal Design for Learning (UDL), and Universal Design for Differentiated Instruction (UDDI) to assist you.
What data is still needed?
Conducting an additional needs survey or assessment of transition programs and services may be required to get a complete picture of your classroom, department, building and/or district. In order to make data-based decisions, there are multiple tools currently available which could be used or modified to collect quality data. Below are two examples:
- Are you already on a collaborative team and want to evaluate your team's performance? Click HERE to download a quick assessment of your team.
- Assess how your school is delivering transition curriculum and services. Based on the Taxonomy of Transition Programming, The National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center (NSTTAC) has created a toolkit to assist you in determining what is working, what is not working, and what needs to be replicated or changed. To download NSTTAC Evaluation Toolkit Second Edition by clicking here.