Transition Assessment

Transition assessment is defined using the Division on Career Development and Transition (DCDT) of the Council for Exceptional Children definition of transition assessment which is “…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 serves 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. 7071).

“Age-appropriate” means a student’s chronological, rather than developmental age (Wehmeyer, 2002).

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)

What are the types of Transition Assessments

Transition assessments can be formal or informal. A 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, an 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)

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