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Transition

How to Measure Success

What are the benchmarks by which we measure a successful transition for our students? Nowhere in the history of education for children has the focus on “outcomes” been more pronounced. Setting high standards (both content and performance) for students is integral to the intent of The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 [PL 107-110], and currently drives policy making decisions at all levels. While standards-based reform places a strong emphasis on the core academic areas, we know that academics alone are not the only educational outcomes that matter. The National Center of Education Outcomes (NCOE) identified eight domains of viable Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 1997 (IDEA) outcomes (Ysseldyke et al, 1998):

  • Presence and participation
  • Accommodation and adaptation
  • Physical health
  • Social/emotional adjustment
  • Independence and responsibility
  • Contribution and citizenship
  • Satisfaction
  • Academics and functional literacy

So what does legislation say to guide us in preparing our students for adulthood? According to a summary provided by Turnbull, et al (2003), the IDEA of 1997 & 2004, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act (DDABRA) of 2000, when looked at in combination, support the following key outcomes for individual’s with disabilities:

  • Equal opportunity – providing reasonable accommodations so that individuals can participate in programs available to any interested person
  • Full-participation – ensuring integration and prohibiting segregation, which in the educational arena includes access to the general education curriculum and placement in the least restrictive setting
  • Independent living – includes empowerment and participatory decision-making, and autonomy or the right to exercise choice or decision-making in what happens to or for that individual
  • Economic self-sufficiency – under IDEA, the transition components of the IEP guide us towards considering employment options for students beginning at age 14
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