According to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), transition planning for students with disabilities is to include a "coordinated set of activities for a student designed within an outcome-oriented process...". A collaborative effort in which various professionals have shared responsibility for planning and implementing a student's program is clearly the intent of the law. And with the recent amendment to include general educators in the IEP development process, teachers should begin to see increased opportunity for exchanging curriculum and instructional information as part of the transition planning process.
To create a collaborative transition planning process, important sharing of information must take place between general and special educators. Teachers in general education settings must be aware of a student's ability, instructional needs, preferences, and future goals as reflected in the IEP. Similarly, IEP managers need a thorough knowledge of general and vocational education course information including:
Entry level skill requirements
Testing options and grading criteria
Performance standards and learner outcomes
Comprehensive curriculum knowledge enables the transition planner to identify which skills a student needs in order to enter a particular program and which skills should be prioritized on the IEP. Increased knowledge of a student's preferences, interests, and future goals better prepares the general education teacher to encourage that student to strive for what he or she truly wants out of life.
This important information can be most efficiently gathered by face-to-face interactions between special and general educators (Sitlington et al., 1996). Sitlington and her colleagues recommend the program inventory as an effective procedure for recording curriculum and instructional information and suggest that inventories be completed for all general and vocational courses within the school district. A sample program inventory is provided in the Assess for Success handbook available from the Council for Exceptional Children. To borrow a copy of this excellent guide on transition assessment, contact Mr. Tracy English, Transition Specialist, at T/TAC William and Mary, (757) 221-1708.
Sitlington, P., Newbert, D., Begun, W., Lombard, R., & Leconte, P. (1996). Assess for success: Handbook on transition assessment. Reston, VA: The Council for Exceptional Children.