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Iowa Model for Transition Assessments

Transition Assessment is an ongoing, coordinated, systematic process that:

  • Collects/gathers relevant (appropriate) information/data on a student’s interests, preferences, strengths and needs as they relate to the student’s postsecondary expectations for living, learning, and working;
  • Begins at least by the year the student turns 14 years of age and continues until the student graduates or ages out;
  • Provides data from which to plan and make decisions that assist the student to move to postsecondary activities of living, learning, and working;
  • Involves input from student, family, school personnel, and other relevant stakeholders such as adult agencies, related services personnel (the IEP team).

The process for assessing an individual’s transition needs simply requires the IEP team to answer the following four questions:

  1. Does the student have a postsecondary expectation in each one or more of the following areas: living, learning, and working?

    Outcome: Identify a reasonable expectation based on assessment information for each postsecondary area.

    YES, the student has one or more postsecondary expectations and it is possible to answer questions about those postsecondary expectations (living, learning, and/or working). Go to question #2.

    NO, the student does not have a postsecondary expectation in each of the three postsecondary areas, therefore, the IEP team must continue to explore possible postsecondary expectations (see questions a and b below). For younger students who are just beginning the transition process this exploration may actually be the focus of the transition services provided during the year.

    1. Is there enough information about student/family interests and preferences to loosely identify postsecondary expectations? (What are their interests/preferences?)

      • Yes, answer #1 above and continue assessment process.
      • No, continue to question b
    2. What is needed to be able to identify postsecondary expectations and answer questions 2 through 4? Possible approaches include:

      • Identify/develop student and family interests and preferences
      • Identify student strengths
      • Use resources available in the community to identify strengths, interests, and preferences (family, community organization workers, religious groups, etc.)
      • Provide work and community exploration experiences

    How do I assess for this information? Where do I go?

    • Cell 1 (Living)
    • Cell 2 (Learning)
    • Cell 3 (Working)
  2. What are the essential knowledge, habits, attitudes, and skills that any individual needs for these postsecondary expectations? (Standards for postsecondary living, learning, and working)

    Outcome: Identify the essential skills for postsecondary living, learning, and working.

    There are many ways to answer this question including the involvement of representatives of adult services, community college and college offices for disability supports, and community agencies and organizations. Many of the assessment tools are criterion-referenced and provide a list of essential skills in each of the postsecondary areas. Some career choice systems, such as CHOICES, provide information about essential skills for specific careers/jobs.

    How do I assess for this information? Where do I go?

  3. What are this student's current attitudes, habits, basic skills, critical thinking and application skills?

    Outcome: Determine the student's current skills through assessment to determine discrepancy.

    The Age Appropriate Transition Assessment Matrix identifies suggested areas of assessments. An adequate assessment includes some information about the student in each cell, but does not require formal assessment in each area. IEP teams are encouraged to consider the R-I-O-T model in developing an individual student’s assessment plan.

    How do I assess for this information? Where do I go?

    • Cell 4 (Living - Basic Skills)
    • Cell 4 (Living - Attitudes/Habits/Self Awareness)
    • Cell 10 (Living - Critical Thinking/Application Skills)
    • Cell 5 (Learning - Basic Skills)
    • Cell 8 (Learning - Attitudes/Habits/Self Awareness)
    • Cell 11 (Learning - Critical Thinking/Application Skills)
    • Cell 6 (Working - Basic Skills)
    • Cell 9 (Working - Attitudes/Habits/Self Awareness)
    • Cell 12 (Working - Critical Thinking/Application Skills)
  4. What is the discrepancy between the essential skills and the student’s current skills?

    Outcome: Identify the student’s current skills and the skills, supports, services and activities the student needs in order to pursue the identified postsecondary expectation.

    The skills a student currently has and will need for the next transition become the two most important types of information for planning instruction, supports, and activities in the development of the IEP.