Sara McDaniel, Lindsay Rentschler, Delia Kan, and the NTACT Knowledge Development Team

California State University, East Bay, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

What are Exit Exam Requirements / High School Diploma Statuses?

Meeting high school exit exam requirements and earning a high school diploma have been identified as a predictor of post-school success for youth with disabilities (Mazzotti et al., 2016; Test et al., 2009). Specifically, passing exit exams and obtaining a high school diploma are correlated with students’ likelihood of pursuing postsecondary education and gaining employment post-graduation, based on the current level of evidence which indicates that these are a promising…


Nioyonu Olutosin, M.Ed, Sheida K. Raley, Ph.D., and the NTACT Knowledge Development Team

E.L. Haynes Public Charter School, University of Kansas, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Inclusion advocates in the special education field emphasize the importance of systemic transformation for equitable education for all students, including secondary students engaging in transition planning. From this perspective, inclusive practices mean much more than students’ with disabilities presence in general education classrooms; rather, this reframing defines inclusion as “the distribution of available evidence-based supports and services to students who need them to successfully engage the teaching/learning process, regardless of the nature of…


Lauren Bruno, Holly Whittenburg, and the NTACT Knowledge Development Team

Washington State University and University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Successful employment outcomes for students with disabilities remain low, indicating a need to enhance career training and explore options for students with disabilities in K-12 and postsecondary education settings. Work study is one type of experience that has been identified as an essential program characteristic that leads to improved post-school outcomes (Test et al., 2009). Work-study is defined as a specified sequence of work skills instruction and experiences designed to develop students’ work attitudes and general work behaviors by providing…


Matthew D. Wood, M.A., LeeAnn Wagner Cica Ed.D. NCC, and the NTACT Knowledge Development Team

University of Northern Colorado, STRIVE Autism Transition Consulting and Coaching, University of North Carolina at Charlotte3

What is your plan after you graduate? For some students that is an easy question to answer. For others thinking about life after high school is an overwhelming and daunting task. Planning for post-secondary education, employment, and independent living is crucial for students with disabilities, as 28% of students with disabilities do not finish high school (National Longitudinal Transition Study-2, 2005). One of the first steps for students with…


Christina M. Gushanas, Ph.D., Tracy E. Sinclair, Ph.D., BCBA, and the NTACT Knowledge Development Team

Sam Houston State University, University of Connecticut, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

The vast majority of students will transition from high school directly to work, with only a small number entering traditional college settings (i.e., 2- or 4-year programs; Stone, 2017). However, students with disabilities often struggle with obtaining and maintaining employment after high school (Goodman et al., 2020; Newman et al., 2011). The need for occupational courses to explore career interests and skills necessary for future success is important for students with disabilities…


Josh Taylor, Lynn Roper, Ph.D., and the NTACT Knowledge Development Team

Virginia Commonwealth University, Cedarville University, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Transition programming was introduced and refined in reauthorizations of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA; 2004) during the 1990s, thus refocusing the purpose of special education in secondary grades to prepare students for work, post-secondary education, and living in the community (Yell et al., 2006).

According to Rowe et al. (2015), “a transition program prepares students to move from secondary settings (e.g., middle school/high school) to adult life, utilizing comprehensive transition planning and education that creates individualized…


Michelle Kalos, Michelle Oja, and the NTACT Knowledge Development Team

University of Northern Colorado, Indiana Department of Education, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Having social skills in high school is a predictor of postsecondary education and employment success for students with disabilities (Test et al., 2009). Social skills are defined as “behaviors and attitudes that facilitate communication and cooperation and include skills such as understanding social conventions, social problem solving when engaged in social interaction, body language, speaking, listening, responding, verbal, and written communication” (Rowe et al., 2015).

For students with disabilities, explicit instruction and experiences in developing social…


Jennifer Lillis, M.Ed., Elisabeth L. Kutscher, Ed.D, DCDT- CEC Publications Committee, and the NTACT Knowledge Development Team

Boston University, George Washington University, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Community experiences during high school are an important predictor of postsecondary success in the area of employment (Test et al., 2009; White & Weiner, 2004). Community experiences have been defined as “activities occurring outside of the school setting, supported with in-class instruction, where students apply academic, social, and/or general work behaviors and skills” (Rowe et al., 2015, p. 120). …


Magen Rooney-Kron, M.Ed., Joshua M. Pulos, M.Ed., BCBA, and the NTACT Knowledge Development Team

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Oklahoma, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Across the country, students with disabilities aspire to achieve the same post-school employment goals as students without disabilities, including employment opportunities that align with their interests, preferences, and strengths (Zimmer-Gembeck & Mortimer, 2006). Students typically identify their employment interests and preferences during the first stage of career development, also known as career awareness (Brolin, 1997). According to Rowe et al. (2015), career awareness is “learning about opportunities, education, and skills needed in…


Ashley Voggt, Wen-Hsuan Chang, Catherine Fowler, and NTACT Knowledge Development Team

In-school and post-school outcomes in the areas of education, employment, and independent living for individuals with disabilities are poor in comparison to their same-age peers without disabilities (Lipscomb et al., 2017; U.S. Department of Labor, 2019). An effort that improves outcomes in all areas of transition involves providing student support to youth while in high school (Mazzotti et al., 2016; Test et al., 2009). Rowe et al. (2015) defined student support as a network of people (e.g., …

NTACT: the Collaborative

NTACT:C is a Technical Assistance and Dissemination project, funded by the OSEP and the RSA, Cooperative Agreement Number H326E140004.

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