Transition Time The Requirement to Conduct Transition Assessment

by Debbie Grosser, M.Ed., and Dale Pennell, C.A.S.

"Beginning not later than the first IEP to be in effect when the child turns 16 and then updated annually thereafter, the IEP must include appropriate measurable postsecondary goals based upon age-appropriate transition assessments related to training, education, employment, and independent living skills, where appropriate." (boldface for emphasis) (IDEA 2004)

What is transition assessment?

Clark (1998) defines transition assessment as a "planned, continuous process" through which information is gathered and organized to support students with disabilities in achieving success in their transitions to adult life. Further, it is a structured, coordinated effort that begins in middle school and involves the collection of data related to a student's strengths, needs, preferences, and interests relative to his/her postsecondary goals (Sitlington, Neubert, Begun, Lombard, & Leconte, 2007).

What is the scope of the transition data to be collected?

Part A of the IDEA 2004 definition of transition services identifies seven domains of adult life for which secondary schools must prepare students. It follows that current transition assessment data must be available that reflects these domains, which include:

  • Postsecondary Education

  • Vocational Education

  • Integrated Employment

  • Continuing/Adult Education

  • Adult Services

  • Independent Living

  • Community Participation

Clark and Patton (2006) note that IDEA 2004 requires assessment in both academic and functional areas to support success in the transition domains.

What is the purpose of transition assessment?

IDEA 2004 now requires individualized education program (IEP) teams to use the transition assessment data to develop postsecondary goals that reflect students' strengths, interests, and preferences. Additionally, transition assessment data inform the development of appropriate transition services (Clark, Patton, & Moulton, 2000).

In coming issues of Link Lines ...
November/December 2007
February/March 2008
April/May 2008

Collecting and Summarizing Transition Assessment Data in the

Present Level of Performance

Using Transition Assessment Data to Develop Postsecondary Goals

Using Transition Assessment Data to Design Transition Services


Clark, G. M. (1998). Assessment for transition planning. Austin, TX: Pro-Ed.

Clark, G. M., Patton, J. R., & Moulton, L. R. (2000). Informal assessments for transition planning. Austin, TX: Pro-Ed.

Clark, G. M., & Patton, J. R. (2006). Transition planning inventory, updated version: Administration and resource guide. Austin, TX: Pro-Ed.

Sitlington, P. L., Neubert, D. A., Begun, W. H., Lombard, R. C., & Leconte, P. J. (2007). Assess for success (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Date: September/October 2007