Transition Assessment

Individualized, age-appropriate transition assessment is integral to the development of the IEP for students aged 14-22 and is required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Transition Assessment is:

  • An individualized, ongoing process of data collection on a student’s needs, preferences, interests
  • A mix of formal and informal assessment tools
  • A method to help guide the development of postsecondary goals
  • A process that is determined by guiding questions
  • Support student in creating a vision for their future;
  • Understand students’ needs, strengths, interests and preferences; and
  • Provide information regarding abilities and current levels of performance

Transition Assessment informs IEP goals and services to help students prepare for their postsecondary settings and demands.

  • Non-prescriptive
  • Individualized
  • Question driven process
  • Help students refine and communicate vision and needs
  • Any and all assessments conducted with Special Education students 14+ can be considered transition assessment
  • Ongoing Transition Assessment (oTA): Occurs throughout each year. Formative and summative assessment data may be compiled for annual IEP document within the Strengths and Key Evaluations section.
  • Transition Assessments (TA) conducted during the 3-yr re-evaluation process may answer any additional questions.

Regardless of timing, the assessment information is used to further identify students’ visions; Transition Planning Form and IEP goals.

  1. What do we already know about the student?
  2. What gaps exist?
  3. Gather information from all involved
  4. Determine appropriate tools

Any assessment that is conducted when a student on an IEP is aged 14-22 can be viewed as a transition assessment, in that it provides information which can be used to discern the student’s vision; understand the student’s needs, strengths, preference, and interests; and measure progress towards the acquisition of skills. Some examples include:

Because Transition Assessment information is embedded throughout the IEP, everyone is ultimately involved in the process. Team members provide and gather input from the whole village! This may include:

  • Student
  • Parents/family
  • Clinical Staff
  • Transition Coordinator
  • Special Educator
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Speech/Language Pathologist
  • Guidance Counselors
  • Team leader
  • Regular Educators
  • Paraprofessionals
  • and more!

DESE’s Technical Assistance Advisory: Transition Assessment in the Secondary Transition Planning Process

(1) DCDT Position Paper

(2) NSTTAC Age Appropriate Transition Assessment Toolkit

(3) Transition Coalition Assessment Reviews