Center on Community Living & Careers, Indiana Institute on Disability & Community, Indiana University

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This training was created by the Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center (INSTRC), Center on Community Living and Careers , Indiana Institute on Disability & Community, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.

INSTRC is part of the Indiana Resource Network funded by the Indiana Department of Education



Welcome to the Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center's Module on Transition Assessment.  The material in this module is meant to familiarize teachers with transition assessment and give them the resources they need to implement transition assessments for youth 14 years and older. The module has lots of examples and resources to help teachers with designing and carrying out quality transition assessments and includes:

Let's get started!



Transition Assessment Fundamentals

This section will answer the "5W" questions of transition assessment. We will explore:




What Does Transition Services Mean?

Any training on transition assessment must begin with a discussion of transition services. After all transition assessment is meant to give the IEP team information they can use to plan good transition activities and services for each individual student that will lead to the postsecondary outcomes the student and family desires.



Roll Over Here if you want to see some examples of transition services and activities. 

Transition Assessment: A Working Definition

Transition assessment is gathering information to guide the transition planning process and the development of the postsecondary goals and the transition services and activities the student will receive. A policy statement from the Council on Exceptional Children's, Division on Career Development and Transition (DCDT). The policy states that transition assessment is:

The ongoing process of collecting data on the individual's needs, preferences and interests as they relate to the demands of current and future working, educational, living, and personal and social environments. The process should begin in middle school and continue until the student graduates or exits high school. Information from this process should be used to drive the IEP and transition planning process and to develop the SOP document detailing the student's academic and functional performance and postsecondary goals. (Sitlington, Neubert, Laconte 2007, pp. 2-3).

Roll Over Here for more information about this working definition. 


And Remember...Quality assessment happens on an ongoing basis across the year....and each assessment builds upon the previous.


Transition Assessment Legal Definition

Article 7 has clear guidelines for teachers carrying out transition assessment and planning.


Roll Over Here for more information about Article 7 and transition assessment.


 Definition Clarifications

When you are gathering information about a student's strengths, interests, preferences and needs, have you ever been confused about the differences between those terms? You are not alone. Check out the definitions below.




The term, "needs" could use additional clarification. Article 7 says teachers must consider the unique needs of the student that result from disability and make sure that each student can access the general curriculum to meet the standards for all students. Click on the box below for the exact wording.




 The words age-appropriate are found throughout the definitions. Although not specifically defined in law or rule, age appropriate means that the transition assessment is aligned with the student's chronological age NOT their developmental age. So when teachers are planning transition assessments for youth between the ages of 14 and 21, the assessments should be typical of other students without disabilities in the same age range.

 Legal requirements are important because they are what drives educator's practice in terms of compliant assessments and provide the foundation for quality assessments.


Why Do We Conduct Transition Assessment?


Click on the slideshow to see more reasons why we do transition assessment.



The When, Where and Who of Transition Assessment

The student and family are always at the center of the transition assessment process and gathering useful information can happen all the time! Every student in special education has different strengths, interests, preferences and needs. That means that a variety of tools will be used by many different people depending on where the student is headed and what the team needs to find out. The chart below illustrates examples of when transition assessment can happen, where it can happen and who might be doing the assessment.




How Does Transition Assessment Fit Into The IEP Process?

 Sometimes it is hard to see the forestForest.png  for the trees. Transition assessment information should be used to build the big picture of who a student is and where they want to be both for the current year and for future years.







In Indiana, the Department of Education has developed a Transition IEP Flowchart so that teachers can see how to create a compliant quality Age Appropriate Transition Assessment and Indiviudualized Education Program for each student. Let's briefly overview the process as it applies to Transition Assesment.


Check Out the link in the Handouts box on the right side of your screen and it will take you directly to the Transition IEP: A Self-guided Tutorial on What You Need to Know to Write Quality Compliant Transition IEPs for more in-depth information on the IEP process.

  Transition IEP Flowchart.png

The Indiana Transition IEP Flowchart & Transition Assessment


The starting point each year of a student's IEP is always the present level of performance of academic and functional achievement including age appropriate transition assessment. Remember that the law says team members must consider a student's strengths, interests, preferences and support needs when considering postsecondary goals. So, gathering information about these four parts of a whole student are the center of the age-appropriate transition assessment.

Once the information has been gathered, the next task is to summarize the results of the assessment. The summary is what should help the team generate the postsecondary goals. It is very important in your summary to identify the name of the assessment, the date it was given, and what information you and the student gained from doing the asessment.

The results and summary of the age-appropriate transition assessments help develop or refine the measurable postsecondary goals. Teachers are required to write measurable postsecondary goals in the areas of education/training, employment, and if appropriate independent living skills.

Based on the data from the present levels of performance inlcuding transition assessments, determine the annual goals (objectives and benchmarks) and transition services and activities to be carried out for the upcoming year.

The route that a student will take to reach his/her postsecondary goals means the course of study must be aligned so that the student will succeed in meeting their goals.



Age appropropriate transition assessments are the glue that holds the process together!

The integral part of transition asessment and the IEP process is the assessment process itself. Teams must decide: what to assess and why, who will do the assessment and when, and how what is learned will be summarized so that it can be used to make sure that the student keeps moving in the direction of their postsecondary goals. In the next few sections we will be discussing how the assessment process.

Go to the next Section of the training to learn about how to do transition assessment.