Transition Assessment

What is transition assessment?

The Division on Career Development and Transition (DCDT) 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 demands 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)” . 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]).

What are the types of Transition Assessments

Transition assessments can be formal or informal and can include: behavioral assessment information, aptitude tests, interest and work values inventories, intelligence tests and achievement tests, personality or preference tests, career maturity or readiness tests, self-determination assessments, work-related temperament scales, and transition planning inventories. Formal assessment typically involves using a standardized procedure for administering, scoring, and interpreting an assessment.

By clearly defining how an assessment is administered, scored, and interpreted, this allows a student’s score to be interpreted relative to other students (e.g., norms), although not all standardized assessments are norm-referenced. Informal assessment procedures are less structured and do not allow comparison with other students.  However, because informal procedures allow assessment of student performance over time, they are useful in designing and evaluating the effects of instructional interventions. In addition, informal assessment includes data to be collected from a variety of individuals (e.g., parents, teachers, employers) using a variety of non-standardized methods. (DCDT Fact Sheet)

Whatever type of transition assessments you use, remember that the results need to help:

  • develop realistic and meaningful IEP goals and objectives
  • make instructional programming decisions
  • provide information for the present level of performance related to a student’s strengths, interests, preferences, and needs
  • learn about individual students, especially their strengths outside of academics and their career ambitions (Kortering, Sitlington, & Braziel, 2004)
  • help students make a connection between their individual academic program and their post-school ambitions, and  
  • inform the Summary of Performance. (DCDT Fact Sheet)

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Are you interested in learning more about transition assessments for students with complex support needs? Then consider signing up for our next series session on November 9th!

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