Age-Appropriate Transition Assessment

What Is AATA?

Transition Assessment Tools (information adapted from National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center Age-Appropriate Transition Assessment Tool Kit)

Transition assessments can be either formal or informal.

Formal assessment:

  • Standard process or procedure
  • Generally results in a score that is interpreted by a professional in relation to a specific student
  • Results should include an explanation of potential implications for the student's future plans

Informal assessment:

  • Less structured
  • Often descriptive in nature
  • Best if used over time to compare and identify change or progress
  • Can be collected from a variety of individuals, including parents, paraprofessionals, and others who know the student well

Examples of Formal Assessment Tools

  • Adaptive Behavior/Daily Living Skills Assessments

    Purpose: To help determine the type and amount of personal assistance a person may need related to home-based support services, special education and vocational training, supported work, special living arrangements, or personal care.

  • General and Specific Aptitude Tests

    Purpose: To measure a specific skill or ability and relate the resulting information to career and work. Can measure general knowledge and a wide range of skills or test a very specific area such as musical or clerical ability.

  • Interest Inventories

    Purpose: To provide information about an individual’s preferences for certain careers, occupational activities, or types of work.

  • Intelligence Tests

    Purpose: To assess general cognitive abilities.

  • Achievement Tests

    Purpose: To measure learning of general or specific academic skills.

  • Temperament Inventories/Instruments

    Purpose: To identify students’ disposition towards various types of careers and work to assist in designing a program of career development.

  • Career Maturity or Employability Tests

    Purpose: To assess developmental stages or skills on a continuum.

  • Self-Determination Assessments

    Purpose: To help identify student readiness to make decisions about adult life by determining strengths and needs related to decision-making and choice-making and accepting responsibilities.

  • Transition Planning Inventories

    Purpose: To help identify students’ goals, awareness, strengths and needs related to various aspects of adult living (employment, postsecondary schooling and training, independent living, interpersonal relationships, and community living). This information is used to create an accurate list of transition goals and steps necessary to attain a satisfying quality of life.

Examples of Informal Transition Assessment Methods

  • Interviews and Questionnaires

    Purpose: To gather information to be used to determine a student’s strengths, needs, preferences, and interests relative to anticipated post-school outcomes.

  • Direct Observation (Also known as community-based or situational assessment)

    Purpose: To gather information within the natural environment (e.g., school, employment, postsecondary, or community setting) about what student can do, what interests/motivates the student, how he/she performs, what supports are needed, etc.

  • Curriculum-Based Assessments

    Purpose: To gather information about a student’s performance in a specific curriculum and to develop instructional plans accordingly. Includes the use of task analyses, work sample analyses, portfolio assessments, and/or criterion-referenced tests.

  • Environmental Analysis (Also known as ecological assessment and/or job analysis)

    Purpose: To carefully examine environments where the student is typically involved in activities as a way to identify types of accommodations that could help the student perform the necessary functions of a particular job.

For more information and examples of tools, visit the National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance (NSTTAC) Age-Appropriate Transition Assessment Toolkit