Transition Assessment

Documents & Files
Transition Assessment Chart
Transition Assessment Chart PDF

Transition assessment is the foundation upon which transition goals and services are based. Nuebert and Leconte (2013) explain that, “for several decades, youth with disabilities have faced challenges transitioning from school to employment, post-secondary education, and community living” (p. 72). Transition assessment is widely defined as follows:

"Transition assessment is an on-going process of collecting information on the student's strengths, needs, preferences and interests as they relate to the demands of current and future living, learning, and working environments. This process should begin in middle school and continue until the student graduates or exits high school. Information from this process should be used to drive the IEP and transition planning process and to develop the SOP [Summary of Performance] document detailing the student's academic and functional performance and postsecondary goals" (Sitlington, Neubert, Begun, Lombard and Leconte, 2007, pp. 2-3)

Age-Appropriate Transition Assessment
Age-appropriate transition assessments refer to the collection of data on the student’s needs, preferences and interests. Transition assessments should be completed each year and the information can be used in the transition IEP. Transition assessments can cover many areas, including employment, self-determination and self-advocacy, independent living and study skills.

Planning is a key step in transition assessment

Guiding questions that assist in developing a transition assessment plan include the following:

Transition assessment instruments may be either formal or informal.

Transition assessment should include record reviews to incorporate current information, goals, and results from prior testing, planning, and activities.

(Timmons, Podmostko, Bremer, Lavin, & Wills, 2005)

Record reviews will help ensure that students are not needlessly retested for information that is readily available. Additional guidelines for transition assessment include:


Age Appropriate Transition Assessment Fact Sheet (pdf)
This Fact Sheet, jointly developed by the Division on Career Development and Transition and the National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center, contains information on formal and information transition assessments, conducting an age appropriate transition assessment, and selecting assessment instruments.

Age Appropriate Transition Assessment Guide (4th edition) (pdf)
The third edition of this guide from the National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center contains comprehensive information on transition assessment including frameworks for assessment, selecting age-appropriate assessment instruments, and examples of transition assessments.

Career Planning Begins with Assessment: A Guide for Professionals Serving Youth with Educational and Career Development Challenges
The downloadable guide contains information on selecting career-related assessments, determining when to refer youth for additional assessment, and issues such as accommodations, legal issues, and ethical considerations. Also contains a glossary of terms and information on developing interagency assessment collaborations.

Casey Life Skills Assessments
On-line assessments in English, Spanish, and French for the domains of home life, work life, housing and money management, and more. Also contains customized learning plans and teaching resources.

Child and Adolescent Scale of Participation (CASP)
This  assessment measures the extent to which children participate in home, school, and community activities as reported by family caregivers. It was designed as part of the Child and Family Follow-up Survey (CFFS) to monitor outcomes and needs of children with traumatic and other acquired brain injuries (ABI). A youth report version is also available. The CASP is provided with open access for download.

National Deaf Center - Transition Resources
This webpage includes information on transition/life skills checklists and resources.

Vocational Assessment: A Guide for Parents and Professionals (pdf)
Written by the National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities, this article covers assessment types, benefits, uses, timing, trends, and other related information.

Vocational Fit  Assessment
This assessment, often used by Project SEARCH sites, is a valid and reliable assessment of student abilities and internship demands that facilitate job matches.

Related Reading

Clark, G. M., Patton, J. R. & Moulton, L. R. (2000). Informal assessments for transition planning. Austin. TX: Pro-Ed. May be ordered from

Whitfield, E.A., Feller, R.W., & Wood, C. (2009). A counselor's guide to career assessment instruments. (5th ed.). Broken Arrow, OK: National Career Development Association.


Division of Career Development and Transition and National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center. (n.d.). Age-appropriate transition fact sheet. Ithaca, NY: DCDC & Charlotte, NC: NTACT. Available at

Sitlington, P.L., Neubert, D.A., Begun, W.H., Lombard, R.C., & Leconte, P.J. (2007). Assess for success: A practitioner’s handbook on transition assessment. (2nd ed.) Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. May be ordered from

Timmons, J., Podmostko, M., Bremer, C., Lavin, D., & Wills, J. (2005, October). Career planning begins with assessment: A guide for professionals serving youth with educational and career development challenges. Washington, DC: National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth, Institute for Educational Leadership. Available at

Walker, A.R., Kortering, L.J., Fowler, C.H.. & Rowe, D. (2010). Age-appropriate transition assessment guide. (4th ed.). Charlotte, NC: National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center, Univerisity of North Carolina at Charlotte. Available at /AgeAppropriateTransitionAssessment Toolkit2016_COMPLETE_11_21_16.pdf

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