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Transition Assessment Defined

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  • The Division on Career Development and Transition of the Council for Exceptional Children defines transition assessment as an “…ongoing process of collecting data on the individual’s needs, preferences, and interests as they relate to the demand of current and future working, educational, living, and personal and social environments. Assessment data serve as the common thread in the transition process and form the basis for defining goals and services to be included in the Individualized Education Program (IEP)” (Sitlington, Neubert, & LeConte, 1997; p. 70-71).
  • Federal law requires “appropriate measurable postsecondary goals based upon age appropriate transition assessments related to training, education, employment, and, where appropriate, independent living skills” (§300.320[b][1]).

Transition assessment should drive the IEP process.

Transition assessment information is a component of the Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (PLAAFP) and is critical in guiding the development of the transition IEP.

As with any assessment, transition assessment should always be documented in the IEP to include:

  • The name of the assessment
  • Date the assessment was administered/reviewed/interpreted
  • Who administered/reviewed/interpreted the assessment
  • A summary of the results of the assessment to include how current skills may impact attainment of postsecondary goals (PSGs).

To guide the transition process, school personnel should use the results of a variety of assessment information to determine a student's strengths, needs, preferences, and interests. The IEP team (including the student) should also use this assessment information to identify appropriate PSGs and create a comprehensive, realistic transition plan that includes transition services, courses of study, and measurable annual goals that are developed and linked to move a student toward attainment of the PSGs.


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