Assess for Success: A Practitioner's Handbook on Transition Assessment


Patricia L. Sitlington, Debra A. Neubert, Wynne H. Begun, Richard C. Lombard & Pamela J. Leconte

  • Citations
  • Add to My List
  • Text Size

  • Chapters
  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
  • Subject Index
  • Copyright

    View Copyright Page


    The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004) directly addresses transition assessment. It also mandates that each student be provided with a Summary of Performance (SOP) before he or she exits the school system. Both of these additions hold tremendous potential for integrating the results of transition assessment into the transition planning process for the student—via the Individualized Education Program (IEP).

    Preparing for transition into all aspects of adult life is like taking a long trip. To proceed effectively it helps to have an itinerary, a timetable, and a map. As with any trip, it is important to make frequent progress checks to be sure you are still on the right road and are moving along at the speed you anticipated. Also, frequent progress checks allow for orderly course corrections, side trips, and changes in destination. Transition assessment is an individualized, ongoing process that helps students with disabilities and their families define appropriate personal destinations or goals and check progress along the way.

    The vision for life beyond school should begin to be conceived in the elementary and middle school years. IDEA 2004 mandates that by age 16 the IEP must reflect a clear timetable and itinerary for accomplishing specific goals. (We believe that this process should start much earlier—and no later than age 14.) Assessment is crucial in establishing this timetable and in keeping the IEP team on track. However, deciding what to assess and how assessment data will be collected and used can be a challenge.

    This is the second edition of this handbook, and we have made a number of changes in this edition. This handbook is designed to be used by everyone on the IEP team, including the student, family members, general and special educators, and adult providers, as they assist a student of any disability and functioning level in defining his or her vision of the future and in reaching this vision. The assessment process described in this handbook builds upon a variety of information emphasizing the use of transition assessment techniques and community-based settings in gathering the information needed for transition planning.

    The first chapter provides an overview of the transition assessment process, including its purpose and the laws requiring that transition assessment be carried out. Chapter 2 approaches transition assessment within the context of career development and provides a checklist and set of assessment questions to help teachers pinpoint where along the awareness, exploration, preparation, and assimilation career path a student is functioning.

    Chapter 3 presents the role of the student in the transition assessment process and the development of self-determination skills to assist the student in this role. The focus of Chapter 4 is on integrating the results of transition assessment into the IEP. Sample case studies and transition goals are provided. Chapter 5 discusses the role of the individual, family members, special education and general education teachers, support staff, and adult service providers in the assessment process.

    Chapter 6 then presents an overview of methods that practitioners can use to collect information about the student's needs, strengths, preferences, and interests throughout the transition planning process. This chapter also presents methods of gathering information about the demands of current and potential future living, working, and educational environments. The final chapter presents a format for making the best match between the demands of these environments and the needs, strengths, preferences, and interests of the student. This chapter also presents questions that need to be asked during the transition process and procedures for developing an assessment plan.

    Transition assessment is not a magical process. It is simply assisting students in identifying where they would like to live, work, and learn when they become adults and in determining the supports, accommodations, and preparation they will need in order to reach their goals. We hope that this handbook will help you as you assist students in this process.


    Our appreciation goes to the individuals with disabilities with whom we have worked and to their family members and the professionals who work with them to make the transition to adult life as smooth as possible. They have shown us how critical the assessment process is in this transition. We also acknowledge the major contributions of those graduate students at the University of Northern Iowa who assisted with editing and coordinating the many components of this handbook. These individuals include Sonya Elzey, Crystal Stokes, and Heather Trilk. Our thanks also go to our colleagues who supported us during the writing of this handbook.

    Thanks, too, to the following reviewers of this edition for their suggestions and comments: Gary Clark, Bob Loyd, and Jeanne Repetto. Finally, we extend our appreciation to Kathleen McLane, Mary Dang, Beth Bernstein, and Halim Dunsky for their editorial assistance in getting this handbook into its final form.

    About the Authors

    Patricia L. Sitlington is Professor and Coordinator of the graduate emphasis in Career/Vocational Programming and Transition at the University of Northern Iowa. She has been a secondary classroom teacher and State Department staff member, as well as program consultant. She has written extensively in the field of transition, and is coauthor of Transition Education and Services for Students With Disabilities, a major textbook in the field. Her main research interests include assessment, outcomes studies of young adults with and without disabilities, and cross-disciplinary collaboration.

    Debra A. Neubert is Professor in the Department of Special Education at the University of Maryland in College Park. She has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in secondary special education and transition services for the past 20 years and has directed numerous personnel training grants from the U.S. Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services. As Principal Investigator of On-Campus Outreach, a federally funded outreach project, she investigated practices and outcomes for students ages 18 to 21 with significant disabilities who receive special education services at postsecondary sites. Her research interests include transition assessment and case management for students with disabilities exiting the school system and access to postsecondary education for students with disabilities.

    Wynne H. Begun is Director of Special Education in the Blue Valley School District in Overland Park, Kansas. Wynne earned her doctorate from the University of Kansas. She is a past president of the Division on Career Development and Transition. Wynne has been instrumental in developing innovative, nationally recognized programming in the area of transition throughout her career. She is especially proud of the Blue Valley ACCESS Program that serves students ages 18 to 21.

    Richard C. Lombard is Professor of Special Education at University of Wisconsin—Whitewater. He has authored or co-authored more than thirty articles in professional journals with an emphasis on transition assessment, vocational evaluation, community-based transition models, and inclusion. Dr. Lombard served as President of the International Division on Career Development and Transition (DCDT) in 1999–2000. He currently serves as the Sweden Exchange Coordinator for UW-Whitewater and Umea University in Umea, Sweden. His international service includes work in Sweden, Australia, Nepal, India, and Trinidad.

    Pamela J. Leconte earned her EdD from George Washington University (GWU) in Washington, DC. She directs the Collaborative Vocational Evaluation Training program at GWU and is Assistant Research Professor. She has worked in community rehabilitation, public schools, and university settings, and has served in leadership roles in a number of national and state professional associations.

  • Appendix A: Summary for Postsecondary Living, Learning, and Working

    Appendix B: Selected Commercially Available Tests/Assessment Procedures

    Appendix C: Community Assessment Form

    Dates of Assessment _____

    Compiled by _____

    City/County/Community _____

    The headings in Community Assessment are aligned with postsecondary outcomes specified in the definition of transition services from IDEA 2004. In addition, transportation is included to encourage optimal independence for students with disabilities.

    Student Identification Information

    1. Community Resources

    (List organizations, services/activities, Web site/telephone)

    • Recreational resources
      • Parks and recreation services
      • YMCA, gym facilities
      • Community theatres/arts facilities
      • Museums, local attractions
      • Movie theatres
      • Libraries
      • Other
    • Religious resources (List organizations and services and Web site or telephone)
    • Consumer resources (List organizations/businesses and services and Web site or telephone)
      • Medical services
      • Health services
      • Social services
      • Grocery stores, banks
      • Other
    2. Services for Individuals with Disabilities

    (State and/or local name, services, Web site/telephone, address)

    • Vocational rehabilitation
    • Developmental disabilities
    • Mental health services
    • Social Security benefits office
    • Local adult service providers (not-for-profit agencies)
    • Other
    3. Employment Resources

    (List organization/business, type of services, contact information, Web site/telephone)

    • Sources for job openings
      • One-stop career center
      • Local newspapers
      • Web sites for community or state listings
      • Employment offices
      • Vocational rehabilitation
      • Secondary work-study teachers
    • Examples of businesses within a 5-mile radius of the student's home
    • Community adult service providers:
      • Which of the adult service providers (identified in 2E) fund individual job coaching?
      • Which of the adult service providers (identified in 2E) fund supported employment?
      • Which of the adult service providers (identified in 2E) fund day habilitation programs?
    4. Postsecondary Education, Vocational Education, Adult and Continuing Education
    TypePrograms/activitiesWeb site or telephone
    4a. Programs or services for students ages 18 to 21 funded by local school systems
    4b. Community college
    4c. Colleges or universities
    4d. Continuing education (local school system)
    4e. Continuing education (community college)
    4f. Public career/technical schools
    4g. Private career/technical schools
    4h. Apprenticeship programs
    4i. Other
    5. Independent Living

    (List name of organization that provides residential services in the locale and Web site/telephone)

    • Agencies
      • Social services
      • Department of housing
      • Developmental disabilities
      • State Medicaid waivers
      • Other
    • Which of the adult service providers (identified in 2E) provide residential options or services to support individuals with disabilities to live independently?
    6. Transportation Information

    What type of transportation is availabel to reach employment and community resources? Start your search on the Internet. Using Google, type city, county, or state and special transportation (also try paratransit or specialized transportation for people with disabilities).

    Useful Web sites:

    • Public transportation (attach appropriate information)

    (If public transportation is availabel, please attach appropriate schedule.)

    • Taxi service
    CompanyTelephoneAccommodations or special services voucher programs

    How does the student access special services and or fares?__________________________________

    • Other transportation services (e.g., carpools)
    Copyright © 2007 by M. S. Moon and D. A. Neubert. All rights reserved. Reprinted from Assess for Success: A Practitioner's Handbook on Transition Assessment, 2nd ed., by Patricia L. Sitlington, Debra A. Neubert, Wynne H. Begun, Richard C. Lombard, and Pamela J. Leconte. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, Reproduction authorized only for the local school site or nonprofit organization that has purchased this book.

    Appendix D: Job Analysis Form

    Appendix E: Vocational Training Analysis Form

    Part 1: Career and Technology Programs Overview

    Before you complete the vocational training analysis, visit the guidance department or identify a person in the school who can assist you in obtaining the following information:

    • Describe the career and technology programs at this school (vocational-technical education, career/technology, tech-prep, school-to-careers). Attach a brochure or other program material if availabel. Have the programs' (names and/or content) changed substantially in the past 2 to 3 years?
    • Describe the type of school these programs are offered in: technology center, vocational high school, 2 years at high school and then 2 years at community college.
    • In what grade(s) do students typically enroll in these programs?
    • How do students in this school system find out about these programs?
    • Do students receive any type of support services while enrolled in these programs if they require assistance?
    • Other comments/points of interest:
    Part II: Analysis of Vocational-Technical Education Program

    DATE _____

    General Information

    Program Description

    List the major objectives of your program (you can attach a copy of the course syllabus or objectives if availabel from the instructor).

    Do students learn a “code” in your program (e.g., an electrician's or plumber's code) or must they pass a state examination at the end of their training (e.g., cosmetology state board)?

    Describe the safety rules and tests that must be followed and passed for entrance into your program.

    Prerequisite Skills

    Describe the types of prerequisite skills that the instructor would like students to have as they enter the vocational program.

    Educational Skills

    Behavioral Skills (Check Those That Are Critical.)

    Physical Skills (Check Those That Are Critical.)

    Instructional Methods

    Describe the teaching methods you use, including materials (audiovisuals, workshops, hands-on activities) and structure (small groups, lecture, discussion).

    What kinds of assignments do students have to complete in this program (e.g., worksheets, papers, computations, demonstration/laboratory projects)?

    Describe the ways students are tested:

    Support Services

    What support services are availabel to students with special needs (students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds or students with disabilities)? Describe any such services, including the availability of vocational support service teams, resource teachers, etc.

    Are there any additional support services (or cooperative efforts) that you think are needed for students with special needs to be successful in your program?

    _____ No

    _____ Yes (Please describe.) _____

    What type of jobs do students tend to get after exiting this program? Are there specific postsecondary programs some students transition to?

    Is there a person at this school designated to help career and technology students find employment? (If yes, describe.)

    In your opinion, is this career and technology instructor willing to work with students with disabilities? Explain. What would you change (in the curriculum, competencies, collaboration strategies) to facilitate students with disabilities in entering and completing this program?

    Copyright © 2007 by F.G. Smith. All rights reserved. Reprinted from Assess for Success: A Practitioner's Handbook on Transition Assessment, 2nd ed., by Patricia L. Sitlington, Debra A. Neubert, Wynne H. Begun, Richard C. Lombard, and Pamela J. Leconte. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, Reproduction authorized only for the local school site or nonprofit organization that has purchased this book.

    Corwin Press

    The Corwin Press logo—a raven striding across an open book—represents the union of courage and learning. Corwin Press is committed to improving education for all learners by publishing books and other professional development resources for those serving the field of PreK-12 education. By providing practical, hands-on materials, Corwin Press continues to carry out the promise of its motto: “Helping Educators Do Their Work Better.”

    • Loading...
Back to Top

Copy and paste the following HTML into your website