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Domain Two

Transition Assessment

Transition assessments guide the development of postsecondary transition goals in the IEP.  The transition goals then guide in the development of the annual IEP goals.


IDEA 2004 states:

Beginning not later than the first IEP to be in effect when the child turns 16, or younger if determined appropriate by the IEP Team, and updated annually, thereafter, the IEP must include:

  1. Appropriate measurable postsecondary goals based upon age appropriate transition assessments related to training, education, employment, and where appropriate, independent living skills.

  2. The transition services (including courses of study) needed to assist the child in reaching those goals

{Section 614(d)(1)(A)(i)(VIII)}

Transition assessment is defined by the Council for Exceptional Children's Division on Career Development and Transition (DCDT) 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 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) (Sintlington, Neubert, & Leconte, 1997, p. 70-71).  The process should include both formal and informal assessments.  Both the Special Educator and the School Psychologist assess the student.  The role of the school psychologist is to provide the assessment information critical to creating and implementing appropriately designed transition plans that focus on identifying the independent living, vocational, and self-advocacy skills necessary for an individual with disabilities to live productive and fulfilling lives  (Kellems, Springer, Wilkins, & Anderson, 2016).  Self-determination is seen as a central organizing concept throughout all aspects of transition services, including assessment practices, for students with disabilities (Field & Hoffman, 2007).  Wehmeyer (1992) identified the component elements of self-determination as:

  • choice-making skills

  • decision-making skills

  • problem-solving skills

  • goal-setting and attainment skills

  • self-regulation/self-management skills

  • self-advocacy and leadership skills

  • positive perceptions of control, efficacy, and outcome expectations

  • self-awareness

  • self-knowledge


The purpose of transition assessment is to:

  • Identify students’ strengths, preferences, interests and needs.

  • Determine post-school goals and options

  • Develop relevant learning experiences (instruction) and transition service needs

  • Identify supports (linkages) needed to accomplish goals

  • Evaluate instruction and supports

  • The assessment process is ongoing throughout the school year.  It's not done by one person, during a short period of time to prepare for the IEP


Transition assessments are done in 3 areas:

  1. Employment

  2. Education/Training

  3. Independent Living

The goal of transition assessments is:

  • Make informed decisions and choices

  • Take charge of the transition process in terms of planning and execution of the plan

  • Understand the skills needed for post-school environments

  • To help students and families develop an integrated picture of themselves and their future roles

Assessments drive the IEP and transition planning process to ultimately develop the Summary of Performance (SOP) detailing the student’s academic and functional performance and postsecondary goals for postsecondary adult life.  Assessment data are best used when they inform educational goals and objectives developed for the student.  Active involvement by students and families in the assessment process should go beyond participation in preparing the IEP and become incorporated into ongoing assessment used throughout the educational program (Field & Hoffman, 2007).

National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (NTACT) has developed the following model to provide teachers with a process for incorporating assessment into the transition planning process: From Assessment to Practice: A Model for Teachers.  This model provides educators with six instructional practices and predictors for improved post-school success.  In addition, it gives specific examples for each of the steps for students with moderate-severe disabilities, mild-moderate disabilities and mild disabilities.  Also included is another resource from NTACT: Age Appropriate Transition Toolkit.  The following components are included in this toolkit: how to conduct an age appropriate transition assessment, sample instruments, survey of transition assessment planning practices, transition assessment implementation timeline, informative links and other sources of information.












Explain transition assessment results to students and families

Apply transition assessment results to students’ transition plans

Use a variety of formal and informal assessment methods during transition planning

Use assessments to identify students’ strengths, interests, and preferences

Conduct assessments for critical transition outcomes (i.e., postsecondary education, employment, independent living

Modify or adapt assessments when current measures are not applicable for a student

Match interests, preferences, and strengths of students with jobs or careers

Evaluate usefulness of current transition assessments

Coordinate or conduct assistive technology assessments for transition when needed for a student

Develop accommodations and modifications for state and district testing

Support students in taking state and district assessments

Teacher Training

One part of my job as the Transition Specialist for our district is to train our Secondary Education Specialists on exemplary Transition practices.  In order to write a transition plan in the IEP for a student, the best place to start is with assessments.  Assessment data serves as the common thread in the transition process and it forms the basis for defining goals and services to be included in the Individualized Education Program (IEP).  This PowerPoint presentation is the one I use to train our teachers on assessment.

Competencies: 2.1, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5

Transition Assessment Samples

The student I chose for my Transition Assessment Running Project was Justin.  Justin was 21 years old and was residing in a residential behavioral health center as an order of the Los Angeles County Court system.  Justin had dropped out of high school his junior year, made lots of poor decisions and ended up in jail. This placement was his opportunity for a second chance.  Justin qualified for special education services with Specific Learning Disability in long-term sequential memory and attention; he also has process deficits in planning and executive functions, self-regulation, comprehension, sensory motor integration and spatial organization skills.  In addition, has a diagnosis of Tourette’s Syndrome for which he takes daily medication and was diagnosed with ADHD in fourth grade. At the behavioral facility, he was also diagnosed with Schizophrenia. Since Justin has not had much success in school a variety of assessments were used to discover his strengths, preferences, interests, and needs. I chose both formal and informal assessments.  The formal assessments used were: Woodcock Johnson IV, Conners’ Adult ADHD Rating scale, Employability Skills-Employability Skills Inventory, and 16 Personalities. The informal assessments I used were C.I.T.E. Learning Styles Inventory, VIA Character Strengths, What I Want From a Career, Happiness Survey, Getting to Know Your Anger, Values Inventory, and RIASEC Test. Accommodations that Justin needed were: clarify vocabulary meaning, extended time, repeated directions, visual and oral directions and read the question out loud if needed.  He did not require assistive technology or any low incidence services, equipment and/or materials. There are no cultural expectations for the formal or informal assessments that would impact the assessment results. Justin is not an English Language Learner.

Competencies: 2.1-2.9

IEP Goals 

This artifact demonstrates how IEP Annual goals and Transition goals are developed based on the assessment data.  In addition I've included the accommodation page to show the accommodations that this student will receive for testing and academic courses.  Assistive Technology was not needed for this student.  State and district assessments accommodation were not used because this student is out of the testing range.

Competencies: 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4,2.5, 2.7, 2.8, 2.10

Assistive Technology

The purpose of assistive technology in the school setting is to provide technology for students with disabilities that are educationally necessary in order to access curriculum and meet their IEP goals.  Assistive technology is not only used in an educational setting.  For people with disabilities, it can be the difference between living independently, working, getting an education, having a social life, or not.  Assistive technology can improve the quality of life for a people with disabilities.  Assistive technology is any device, software, or equipment that helps people with disabilities work around their own challenges so they can learn, communicate, and function in their daily lives better.  In our district, our Speech Language Pathologists assess students to determine whether or not assistive technology would benefit the student academically.  The two students I included here have very different assistive technology needs.  I have worked closely with both of them, and I have seen the difference that assistive technology has made in their lives both academically and socially.

Statewide Testing Accommodations and Modifications

The California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) System provides a full range of assessment resources for all students, including those who are English learners and students with disabilities. These resources ensure that the assessments meet the needs of all students. Teachers are encouraged to review these resources early in the school year and provide opportunities for students to experience these resources throughout the year in classroom instruction and assessment.

Some resources are embedded into the technology platform for the computer-administered CAASPP tests. Other resources are considered non-embedded since they are provided by the local educational agency (LEA). The following list defines the four different categories of student accessibility resources:

  • Universal tools are available to all students on the basis of student preference and selection.

  • Designated supports are available to all students when determined for use by an educator or team of educators (with parent/guardian and student input, as appropriate) or specified in the student’s individualized education program (IEP) or Section 504 plan.

  • Accommodations must be permitted on CAASPP tests to all eligible students if specified in the student’s IEP or Section 504 plan.

  • Unlisted resources are non-embedded and shall be made available if specified in the eligible student’s individualized education program (IEP) or Section 504 plan and only on approval by the California Department of Education (CDE), (California Department of Education, 2018).

During a student's IEP, statewide testing accommodations and modifications are determined by the IEP team.  They are personalized to meet the need of the individual student.  The Usability, Accessibility and Accommodations Guidelines are included here.


Babich, A.M., Burdine, P., Albright, L., & Randol. (1976). Wichita, KS: Murdoch Teachers Center. Republished 2003 by WVABE. C.I.T.E. Learning Styles Instrument. Retrieved from

Barakat, Janet. “ Transition Assessment, The What, When, Why, and How of Transition Assessment.”Middle School and High School Secondary Transition Training, Pomona Unified School District. 08 September 2016, Mendoza Center, Pomona, CA. Special Education Training.

California Department of Education. (2018) Matrix One: CAASPP System Accessibility Resources. Retrieved from

Conners, K.C. (2008). Conners 3rd Edition. Multi-Health Systems, Inc., North Tonawanda, NY

Field, S., & Hoffman, A. (2007). Self-Determination in Secondary Transition Assessment. Assessment for Effective Intervention, 32(3), 181-190. doi:10.1177/15345084070320030601

Hills, P., Argyle, M., (n.d.). The Oxford Happiness Questionnaire. Elsevier Ltd. Personality and Individual Differences, 33(7), p. 1080-1081.

Holland, J. L. (1950). The riasec test. Retrieved from

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 2004, 20U.S.C. 1400 et seq. (2004) (reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1990).

Jew. W., & Tong, R. (1976), Values Inventory. Janus Job Planner (p. 5), Janus Book Publishers.

Kellems, R. O., Springer, B., Wilkins, M. K., & Anderson, C. (2015). Collaboration in Transition Assessment: School Psychologists and Special Educators Working Together to Improve Outcomes for Students With Disabilities. Preventing School Failure: Alternative Education for Children and Youth,60(3), 215-221. doi:10.1080/1045988x.2015.1075465

Life Management Skills II, (1993), Getting to know your anger. Wellness Reproductions and Publishing, Incorporated.

Liptak, R. (2006). Employability Skills Inventory. St. Paul, MN: JIST Works.

Liptak, R. (2010). Career Personality Inventory. St. Paul, MN: JIST Works.

Liptak, R. (2016) Life Skills Inventory.St. Paul, MN: JIST Works.

National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (NTACT). (n.d.).  From assessment to practice: A model for teachers. Retrieved from

NERIS Analytics Limited, 16 Personalities. Retrieved from

Newman, J. W. (1992). What color are you. Adapted from The Pace Organization.

Rogala, J. A., Lambert, R., & Verhage, K., (1992), What I want from a career. Developmental Guidance Classroom Activities, Center on Education and Work.

Sitlington, P. L., Neubert, D. A., & Leconte, P. J. (1997). Transition assessment: The position of the Division on Career Development and Transition. Career Development for Exceptional Individuals, 20, 69–79.

Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. (2018) Usability, Accessibility, and Accommodations Guidelines. Retrieved from

Student postsecondary transition interview. Retrieved from

VIA Institute On Character, (2001) Via Character Strengths. Retrieved from

Walker, A., Kortering, L., Fowler, C., Rowe, D., Bethune, L., Terrell, M., (2016). National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (NTACT). Age appropriate transition assessment toolkit (4th ed.). Retrieved from

Wehmeyer, M. L. (1992). Self-determination and the education of students with mental retardation. Education and Training of the Mentally Retarded, 27, 302-314.

Woodcock, R. W., McGrew, K. S., & Mather, N. (2016). Woodcock-Johnson VI Tests of Achievement. Itasca, IL: Riverside

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