Transition Time Writing the Summary of Performance

by Dale Pennell, C.A.S.

Summaries of Performance must be written for students with disabilities when their eligibility for special education services is terminating because they are graduating from high school with a regular diploma or when they are exceeding the age of eligibility for special education services. Under these circumstances the local education agency (LEA) "shall provide the child with a summary of the child's academic achievement and functional performance, which shall include recommendations of how to assist the child in meeting the child's postsecondary goals" (Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004, Section 614(c)).

LEAs may also write Summaries of Performance for students who are dropping out of school, earning a GED, or graduating with a Modified Standard Diploma, Special Diploma, or Certificate of Attendance before their eligibility for services terminates. Otherwise LEAs must locate these students prior to their deadlines for eligibility and write their Summaries of Performance.

In addition to summaries of academic achievement and functional performance, useful information that may be incorporated into the Summary of Performance (SoP) includes:

  • A description of how the student's disability has impacted academic achievement and functional performance

    The student's vocational or extracurricular achievements

  • Special awards the student has received

  • The diploma the student has earned

  • Results of the student's most recent evaluation for special education services

  • The student's postsecondary goals

The required recommendations to assist students following their departure from high school should relate directly to students' postsecondary goals. Consider the examples below.

Example 1

Postsecondary Education Goal: By June 2009, Maria will complete the requirements to earn an Associate's Degree in Accounting.

SoP Recommendation: Provide the Disabilities Services Office at your community college with the documentation required to determine your eligibility to receive instructional accommodations you require.

Example 2

Integrated Employment Goal: By September 2007, Patrice will be employed as a hairdresser.

SoP Recommendation: Contact your rehabilitative services counselor for employment assistance once you have received your state license.

Example 3

Independent Living Goal: By May 2008, Augustine will live in a group home.

SoP Recommendation: Complete Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center's Independent Living program before you move into a group home.

Students with disabilities and their families rely heavily on educational professionals for support lost when they leave high school. Educators possess information and life experiences students lack. Often they possess knowledge of supports unknown to parents. Sadly, sometimes educators are the only support system on which some students can rely. Local education agencies have invested heavily in these students and want them to be successful once they leave school. The recommendations contained in a Summary of Performance reflect task analyses or plans that will enable students to successfully pursue their postsecondary goals after they leave high school.

Date: May/June 2006