Study: Postsecondary Transition Programs Lack Effectiveness Evidence

Despite the emphasis on transition planning in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, relatively little research on transition programs meets What Works Clearinghouse standards for evidence of effectiveness, according to a report released this month, "Improving Post-High School Outcomes for Transition-Age Students with Disabilities: An Evidence Review."

For the review, researchers compiled information on studies conducted between April 2008 and June 2011 that offered direct measures of students' post-high school outcomes as evidence of the program's effectiveness. That restriction meant that the report authors, by design, did not include studies that offered indirect assessments, such as "vocational self-awareness" or job satisfaction. Only 43 studies conducted in that time frame met the standard.

The research found that community-based work programs were found to have potentially positive effects on postsecondary education outcomes, though the effect on students' employment outcomes were mixed. Functional life skills development programs had potentially positive effects on independent living outcomes.

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