What is Secondary Transition?
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA 2004) defined transition as: Transition means a coordinated set of activities for a child with a disability that is designed to be within a results-oriented process, that is focused on improving the academic and functional achievement of the child with a disability to facilitate the child's movement from school to post-school activities, including:
- Postsecondary education
- Vocational education
- Integrated employment (including supported employment)
- Continuing and adult education
- Adult services
- Independent living
- Community participation
Transition is based upon the individual child’s needs, taking into account the child’s strengths, preferences and interests; and includes instruction, related services, community experiences, the development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives, and if appropriate, acquisition of daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation. (IDEA 2004, [34 CFR 300.43 (a)] [20 U.S.C. 1401(34)])
One change in IDEA 2004 was the revision from age 14 to 16 for commencement of the transition process. For many students a natural transition point takes place at age 14, and the regulations do not prevent earlier transition planning.
The law reads:
“Beginning not later than the first IEP in effect after the (student) turns 16 or younger if determined appropriate by the IEP Team, and updated annually thereafter, the IEP must include... ” (IDEA 2004)
Transition Assessment and Postsecondary Goals
The IEP must include a statement of appropriate measurable postsecondary goals based upon age appropriate transition assessments related to training, education, employment and where appropriate, independent living skills; the transition services (including courses of study) needed to assist the (student) in reaching those goals;[CFR 300.320(b) and (c)] [20 U.S.C. 1414 (d)(1)(A)(i)(VIII)].
Transition assessment is an ongoing and coordinated process that begins in middle school onward, and assists students with disabilities to identify and plan for post-school goals and adult roles. (Sitlington, P. Neubert, D. Begun, W. , Lombard, R., Leconte, P.(2007) (Corwin Press) Measurable postsecondary goals are based on information obtained from transition assessments and/or vocational evaluations.
Summary of Performance
For a child whose eligibility under this part terminates under circumstances described in clause (i), a local educational agency shall provide the (student) with a summary of the child's academic achievement and functional performance, which shall include recommendations on how to assist the (student) in meeting the (student)'s postsecondary goals. Sec. 614 (c) (5) (B) (ii)
The Summary of performance is designed to assist the student as they transition from high school to post-high school. School divisions provide this information prior to the student's exit or graduation.
State Performance Plans
Section 616 (b) of the reauthorized IDEA requires states to develop and submit a State Performance Plan (SPP) to the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). The SPP consists of twenty indicators and the format consists of targets for each indicator, as well as activities intended to improve results for students with disabilities. It is now required that states improve the way transition planning is developed within IEPs and students' actual outcomes will be measured annually.
Two indicators from the SPP directly relate to transition:
- Indicator 13
- “Percent of youth with IEPs aged 16 and above with an IEP that includes appropriate measurable postsecondary goals that are annually updated and based upon an age appropriae transition assessment, transition services, including courses of study, that will reasonably enable the student to meet those postsecondary goals, and annual IEP goals related to the student's transition service needs. There also must be evidence that the student was invited to the IEP Team meeting where transition services are to be discussed and evidence that, i appropriate, a representative of any participating agency was invited to the IEP Team meeting with the prior consent of the parent or student who has reached the age of majority. ”
- Indicator 14
- “Percent of youth who had IEPs, are no longer in secondary school and who have been competitively employed, enrolled in some type of postsecondary school, or both, within one year of leaving high school.”
20 U.S.C. 1416(a) (3) (B)
- Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1997, P.L. 105-17, 20 U.S.C. §1400 et seq.
- Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004, P.L. 108-446. [34 CFR 300.43 (a)] [20 U.S.C. 1401 (34)]
- Kochar-Bryant, C., Shaw, S. and Izzo, M. Transition and IDEA 2004 (2007). Pearson Education, Inc. P. 21
- No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, P.L. 107-110.
- US Department of Education: State Performance Plans (20 U.S.C. 1416(a) (3) (B))