Skip to content - The Official Portal for North Dakota State Government
North Dakota: Legendary. Follow the trail of legends
Go to the Department of Public Instruction Home Page
About DPI DPI Homepage DPI Contact Information DPI Employment opportunities DPI News DPI Forms Search the DPI website

Programs and Services
State Standards
Education Legislation
Administrative Rules
Frequently Asked Questions

Appendix B
Secondary Transition IEP Process

IDEA 2004 regulations require that transition services be incorporated into the Individualized Education Program (IEP) for a student with disabilities no later than the first IEP to be in effect by the time the student turns 16. However, transition planning may occur for a student at a younger age if it is deemed appropriate by the IEP team.

Transition planning is an ongoing and results-oriented process that promotes relevant instructional experiences within the least restrictive environment, with community based experiences.

Transition drives the IEP process to prepare the student for the changes and demands of life after high school and is directed by the postsecondary goals of the student. Transition planning also allows the entire community, especially the family, the school, and the adult service agencies to share responsibility in the transition of the student.

Transition services are defined in IDEA 2004 as a coordinated set of activities for a student with a disability, designed within a result-oriented process, and focused on improving the academic and functional achievement of the student. This coordinated set of activities should facilitate the student’s movement from school to post-school activities. These post-school activities may include postsecondary education, vocational education, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, and/or community participation.

Transition services are based on the individual student’s needs, taking into account the student’s strengths, preferences, and interests. Students’ success will depend on their active participation in the setting of postsecondary goals and planning a coordinated set of services to achieve those goals. The IEP team must develop an educational program plan designed to prepare the student for whatever he/she desires to do after high school. It must be updated annually thereafter, and include:

  • Measurable postsecondary goals based upon age appropriate transition assessments related to education or training, employment, and if appropriate, independent living. The course of study (multi-year description of the courses and educational experiences needed to assist the student in reaching their postsecondary goals).
    • This includes identification of graduation requirements of the district and anticipated month and year of graduation of the student. If the student will not exit secondary school with a regular high school diploma, the team must identify the anticipated alternative document approved by the district that the student will receive upon completion of high school.
    • At age 17, a discussion and documentation of the Transfer of Rights.
  • The coordinated set of strategies and activities needed to assist the student in reaching those postsecondary goals, including interagency responsibilities, and linkages, if appropriate. These strategies and activities should encompass: instruction, related services, community experiences, the development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives, and when appropriate, the acquisition of daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation.
  • For students who are finishing high school due to graduation with a regular diploma or due to exceeding the age of eligibility, the school must provide the student with a summary of the student’s academic achievement and functional performance. This summary of performance must also include recommendations on how to assist the student in meeting his/her postsecondary goals.

Transition IEP Sequence

If transition planning is to be effective, all of the discussion and decision making in the IEP must be based on the postsecondary goals of the student. In other words, all of the components of the IEP must be reviewed – that is, the present levels of academic achievement and functional performance, transition services statements, annual goals, least restrictive environment, related services, and participation in regular education as interrelated components.

Transition IEP Sequence

  • Page 1 of the IEP
  • Review or revise Measurable Postsecondary Goals
  • Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance
  • Review or develop Transition Services
  • Course of Study & graduation requirements
  • Transfer of Rights (at age 17)
  • Coordinated Set of Strategies and Activities/Agency Collaboration & Responsibilities
  • Annual Goals & Objectives, when appropriate.
  • Adaptations of Educational Services
  • Description of activities with students who are not disabled
  • Least Restrictive Environment Justification
  • Special Education & Related Services

This rational and sequence is a shift from the previous process of using a three page attachment to document transition services.

For transition to be discussed and documented accurately and logically, it is critical to understand the flow of the process as described in the Transition IEP Sequence. Following the recommended sequence allows the IEP team to address long term plans and identify services to be provided by both the school district and other agencies, without duplication of topical discussions.

The team should discuss in sequence, the student’s post secondary goals, the present levels of academic achievement and functional performance, courses to be taken, strategies and activities needed to assist the student in reaching his/her post secondary goals, the unmet needs of the student, and then finally develop and prioritize appropriate annual goals.

Postsecondary Goals

The team should begin its discussion surrounding a transition IEP by considering the student’s long range plans after high school and to what extent supports will be necessary in the areas of education or training, employment and, independent living skills, when appropriate for the student. This section differs from the Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (PLAAFP). Measurable postsecondary goals are defined as observable outcomes that a student wishes to attain after exiting high school or is no longer eligible for services. A measurable postsecondary goal is not the process of pursuing or moving toward a desired outcome.

The PLAAFP identifies a student’s current status. As a student gains skills and knowledge and moves towards graduation, there should be less variance between the two sections. Postsecondary goals are required in the following areas: Education or training; Employment, and where appropriate for the student, Independent Living.

Section 300.320 (b)(1)-
Appropriate measurable postsecondary goals based upon age appropriate transition assessments, related to training, education, employment, and where appropriate, independent living skills…


Education/Training is defined as enrollment in (a) community or technical college (2-year program), (b) college/university (4-year program), (c) compensatory education program, (d) a high school completion document or certificate class (e.g., Adult Basic Education, General Education Development [GED]), (e) short-term education or employment training program (e.g., Workforce Investment Act [WIA], Job Corps, Vocational Rehabilitation), or (f) vocational technical school, which is less than a two year program.

  • Employment is defined as (a) competitive, (b) supported, or (c) sheltered.

Competitive employment is work (a) in the competitive labor market that is performed on a full or part-time basis in an integrated setting and (b) is compensated at or above the minimum wage, but not less than the customary wage and level of benefits paid by the employer for the same or similar work performed by individuals who are not disabled.

Supported employment is competitive work in integrated work settings, or employment in integrated work settings in which individuals are working toward competitive work consistent with the strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice of the individuals, for individuals with the most significant disabilities for whom competitive employment has not traditionally occurred; or for whom competitive employment has been interrupted or intermittent as a result of a significant disability; and who, because of the nature and severity of their disability, need intensive supported employment services.

Sheltered employment refers to “an accredited occupationally-oriented facility, including a work activities center, operated by a private nonprofit agency, which, except for its administrative and support staff, employs disabled persons certified under special provisions of federal minimum wage laws.”

  • Independent Living or life skills are defined as “those skills or tasks that contribute to the successful independent functioning of an individual in adulthood” (Cronin, 1996) in the following domains: leisure / recreation, maintain home and personal care, community participation.

Examples of Measurable Postsecondary Goals
Example 1:

Upon completion of high school, Jane will enroll in courses at the Pacific Community College.

  • Participation in postsecondary education is the focus of this goal.
  • Enrollment in a community college can be observed, as Jane enrolls in courses or does not.
  • Enrollment at a community college occurs after graduation.


  • Jane will work in an on-campus part-time job while in college.
  • Obtaining employment is the focus of this statement.
  • Working part-time is an explicit outcome that can be observed.
  • The phrase, “while in college” indicates that the goal will occur after Jane has graduated from high school.

Example 2:

After graduation, Lisa will complete the non-degree program at Wilmer College.

  • Completing a postsecondary education program is the focus of this goal.
  • The goal is stated as occurring after Lisa is no longer receiving services in high school.
  • The education goal is consistent with Lisa’s postsecondary goals (PSG) of employment and independent living.

After graduation, and through the assistance of VR and the staff of the non-degree program, Lisa will obtain part-time employment on the campus of Wilmer College.

  • Obtaining part-time employment is observable.
  • This employment goal is consistent with Lisa’s PSGs of education and independent living.

Independent Living:
Upon completion of high school, Lisa will learn to utilize the public bus system.

  • Participation in independent living skill development, specifically community participation, is the focus of this goal.
  • Use of the bus can be measured, as in Lisa performs the necessary activities or does not perform the activities.

*The above examples are adapted from the National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center document: Examples & Nonexamples for Web-Based Indicator 13

It is not necessary to specify a student’s major for a goal to be measurable. However, increased specificity in postsecondary goal statements (when the student articulates this information) can improve the relevance of services provided during high school. Students may be uncertain of their vocational future at the time transition planning is initiated. It is therefore important to begin early the dialogue regarding opportunities and early planning.

Age appropriate transition assessments and other opportunities for career awareness and exploration, will assist the student in gaining a better sense of his/her strengths, preferences, and interests, as the student develops postsecondary plans.

Annual revisions of the Transition IEP when the postsecondary goals of the student have not changed from the previous annual IEP:

Scenario 1: The student identifies at the IEP meeting, that after graduation from high school, he/she wants to pursue training in the area of welding. Throughout the next school year the student takes coursework in welding and at the next annual IEP meeting, proclaims that he/she is still interested in pursuing a career in welding. The team then would review the IEP plan identifying progress and continued needs, updating the transition services and annual goals needed for the next year to continue to assist the student in reaching his postsecondary goals.

Annual revisions of Transition IEP when the postsecondary goals of the student have changed from the previous annual IEP:

Scenario 2: Circumstances may change to the extent that at the next annual IEP meeting, the student reports that after taking a welding course at the high school, he/she is no longer interested in welding as a career. The student is now interested in computers. The team would then revise the postsecondary goals section to reflect the change. Keeping this new information in mind, the team would continue through the Transition IEP sequence with the new postsecondary goals as the focus throughout the revision of the annual IEP plan.

When a student is unrealistic in a vocational choice (i.e., a student identified with mental retardation expressing an interest in becoming a physician), the team should question the student further to identify ‘why’ the student is interested in that particular job. It may be that the student does not know exactly what a physician does or the training that is required for the job. It may be that working in a hospital and wearing the uniform of hospital personnel is what interests the student most. In that event, the team can explore a number of jobs performed in a hospital and one that may be suitable for the student. Thus, the IEP should address appropriate planning to include job shadowing or further career exploration.

Age Appropriate Transition Assessments

The Division on Career Development and Transition (DCTC) of the Council for Exceptional Children defines transition assessment as an “ …ongoing process of collecting data on the individual’s [strengths] needs, preferences, and interests as they relate to the demands of current and future working, educational, living, and personal and social environments”. “Age appropriate” means a student’s chronological, rather than developmental age (Wehmeyer, 2002).

While the specific transition assessments used to determine appropriate measurable postsecondary goals will depend on the individual needs of the student, the broad purposes include the following:

  • To determine the skill levels the student has achieved.
  • To assist the student in identifying interests, preferences, strengths, and abilities in relation to postsecondary goals.
  • To develop and write practical and achievable postsecondary goals.
  • To provide information to develop annual IEP goals for the transition component of the IEP.
  • To determine appropriate placements within educational, vocational, and community settings that may facilitate the attainment of the post-secondary goals.
  • To determine the accommodations, supports, and services necessary to attain and maintain postsecondary goals.
  • To determine and facilitate self-determination skills.

The results of transition assessments should be used in making recommendations for instructional strategies, accommodations in instruction, and environments to meet the students’ strengths and needs. The results also should help students make a connection between their individual academic program and their post-school ambitions.

Transition assessment results should become a part of the following:

  • Integrated Written Assessment Report
  • Present Levels of Academic Achievement & Functional Performance in the IEP

Transition assessment information should be reviewed and updated each year.

For more information on transition assessments and examples of types of formal and informal transition assessments, please see the NDDPI Transition website located at:

Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (PLAAFP)

The Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance must address the academic and functional skills the student possesses and the skills the student must acquire to achieve his/her postsecondary goals. Student input into the IEP process is guaranteed by the PLAAFP requirements for documentation of the student’s strengths, needs, preferences, and interests, and identification of how this information was obtained. The PLAAFP must also include a current summary of relevant data on the student in the following six domains:

Jobs and Job Training:

the acquisition of skills for work or other meaningful adult activities, such as work habits, career exploration, community work experience and training.

Questions to ask:

  • If holding a part time job, describe where s/he works, what s/he does, # hrs/week working, any reported difficulties, does s/he like the job, personal accomplishments of job (friendships, abilities, new tasks, money, etc)?
  • Will s/he continue with job, has it lead to any vocational interests, has this employment overall enhanced student’s life?
  • Does the student have any employment needs?
  • If not holding a part time job, state why/why not, does s/he want to work?
  • What are the parental expectations regarding employment during high school?
  • Is there any related assessment information relevant to this area?
  • Is there any disability related interference to employment?

Recreation and Leisure:

the initiation and development of group and/or individual recreational and social skills and activities (e.g. hobbies, socialization, etc.).

Questions to ask:

  • What does s/he do? List both recreation and leisure activities, both group and individual, in and away from school, and with whom the activities are done with (friends, family, relative, alone, etc).
  • Is s/he satisfied with these activities and his/her proficiency?
  • What are some of the student’s accomplishments?
  • If not involved, is it by personal choice?
  • Is that ok with her/him and parents?
  • Is there any activity s/he would like to do that they are not doing?
  • Is there any pertinent related information relevant to her/his status (PE class, therapies)?

Home/Independent Living:

the skills necessary to fully participate in life in the home, including cooking, money management, personal grooming, etc.

Questions to ask:

  • What are her/his living arrangements, role and responsibilities in that environment?
  • Strengths or weaknesses?
  • Is s/he satisfied with current status?
  • Parental expectations?
  • Is there any impact as a result of the disability?
  • Is there any relevant coursework available (Family and consumer science classes, etc.) or of interest?
  • Are there things s/he should be doing (age/peer appropriate) that s/he is not doing in the current living situation?

Community Participation:

the skills needed to access community resources including people, public places and activities such as transportation and government agencies, activities or organizations the student may want to incorporate into his or her adult life.

Questions to ask:

  • What type of activities does s/he do to access community (i.e., banking, errands, mall, entertainment, church…)?
  • What activities outside of school is s/he involved in – what does s/he contribute to the community (church, volunteer activities, etc)?
  • To what extent is s/he independent in local community?
  • What method of transportation does s/he use?
  • Does s/he want to do more?

Postsecondary Training and Learning Opportunities:

education and/or training that occurs over a lifetime (e.g., preparation for and application to technical institutes, community colleges, universities, adult and community education).

Questions to ask:

  • Address if her/his current post secondary goals include additional training – what work has been done to prepare or investigate that need?
  • Parental goal for planning or outcome?
  • What has or what will be done to provide her/him with career planning and exploration tools if this is a possible area of need in this year?
  • Will s/he need any post-secondary education or is employment possible without at this time?
  • Has s/he prepared for ACT/SAT?
  • Visited any college?
  • Talked with any other students?
  • Visited with Guidance counselor?
  • Is there any assessment information?
  • Does an assessment need to be completed?

Related Services: transportation and such developmental, corrective and other supportive services as are required to assist a student with a disability to benefit from special education.

Questions to ask:

  • Are there developmental, corrective, and other supportive services that are required to assist the student with a disability to benefit from special education and to fully participate in the regular curriculum?
    • Include transportation, speech/language, audiology, interpreting, psychological, physical and occupational therapy, recreational therapy, social work, counseling, health services, orientation and mobility, etc.

Definition of related services –
300.34(a) … transportation and such developmental, corrective, and other supportive services as are required to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education and includes speech-language pathology and audiology services,  interpreting services services, psychological services, physical and occupational therapy,  recreation, including therapeutic  recreation, counseling…..
Related services also include school health services and school nurse services, social work services in schools, and parent counseling and training.

Keeping in mind the desired postsecondary outcomes, the team should discuss and summarize the student’s present levels of academic achievement and functional performance in each of the areas previously described. Additionally, the team should consider also the relationship between the six transition domains and the student’s skills and abilities in the eight areas described below.

Communication: What communication skills does the student have that would allow him/her to interact in various settings, such as a recreational or job training site?

Emotional: What are the emotional issues that might affect this student in personal or public interactions?

Academics: How does the student presently use math, reading or other academic skills in each of the domains?

Technology: What is the student’s past and present use of, or need for, assistive technology as it applies to the domains?

Transportation: What does the student presently use or know how to use, and/or need to use, in the future?

Interpersonal/Social: How does the student use these skills? What needs exist to develop these skills?

Medical/Physical: Are there medical or physical concerns that impact the level of performance?

Advocacy/Legal: What are the student’s abilities to know and exercise his or her rights in each of the transition domains?

If the IEP team determines no needs within any of the transition areas, a statement describing the current level of functioning and the basis upon which that decision was made (including measurements) must be included in the IEP as illustrated in the following example. The term “NA” is not an appropriate response nor is it appropriate to leave this section of the IEP form blank. In this way, the team assures that the planning process addressed all areas that are critical to successful post-school outcomes for an individual student and does not make false assumptions based on disability.


The team, including Josh and his parents, agree that specific skill training in the areas of JOB/JOB TRAINING is not needed. Josh works independently part time after school and on Saturdays at a local garden shop/nursery, receives positive evaluations from his employer, completes job related paperwork (time sheets, order forms, etc.), demonstrates appropriate social skills with co-workers and customers, and arranges his own transportation to/from work. Prior to this, Josh was involved in two summer jobs through JTPA and has had four community job shadow experiences. His postsecondary goal is to work in the field of horticulture. He plans to continue his present work on a part time basis while attending college next year. This was determined by employer/work evaluations and student report.

Section 300.320(b)
…beginning not later than the first IEP to be in effect when the child turns 16, or younger if deemed appropriate by the IEP Team, and updated annually, thereafter, the IEP must include – the transition services (including courses of study) needed to assist the child in reaching those postsecondary goals.

Transition Services

The definition of transition services in the IDEA 2004 explains how improving a student’s academic and functional achievement will improve the transition from school to adult living.

300.43 Transition services means a coordinated set of activities for a child with a disability that--
(1) is designed to be within a results-oriented process, that is focused on improving the academic and functional achievement of the child with a disability to facilitate the child’s movement from school to post-school activities, including postsecondary education, vocational education, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community participation;

Course of Study

Once the postsecondary goals have been developed and the present levels of academic achievement and functional performance discussed, the team should have an understanding of the student’s vision for the future. The purpose of this requirement (Course of Study) is to identify courses and educational experiences that will lead to graduation and student desired post- school outcomes.

All anticipated coursework for the remaining high school years is to be identified as thoroughly as possible. That is, the IEP team will enter its best estimate of anticipated coursework for grades 9-12 for a ninth grade student. For a junior, the team will enter anticipated coursework for both 11th and 12th grades, and so on. It is recommended, but not necessary, to identify coursework taken during previous years, if that coursework had not previously been recorded. However, an up-to-date accounting of the number of credits the student has earned at the time of the IEP meeting is essential.

This information is reviewed and updated each year, as changes are made and the postsecondary plans of the student become more refined. The documentation of credits earned by the student should equal or exceed the number of credits required for graduation.
Many schools currently utilize a course plan or program of study for all students to identify which classes must be taken to complete high school. It is appropriate to use this as an attachment to the IEP rather than duplicating the information in this section, as long as the information identifies the school year, grade level, courses, and credits.

Before the IEP team identifies classes for any student, the team should discuss:

  • What knowledge, skills, and behaviors do we want the student to obtain?
  • What instructional strategies will the teacher use to make sure the student acquires the knowledge, skills, and behaviors?
  • After the class, how will the student demonstrate the acquired knowledge, skill, and behavior?

The IEP team should see a correlation between the postsecondary goals and the Course of Study. For example, if a student expresses interest in employment and a post-secondary program that will require a liberal arts focus, the curriculum for high school should identify those classes required to enter a liberal arts program (i.e., two years of language, four credits of math, science, etc.).

When the regular curriculum offerings are inappropriate for a student, individualized programming may be designed through an individual education planning process. Specific course offerings should address the unique learning needs of each individual student. Under such circumstances, The Functional and Community-Based Curriculum may be appropriate. This curriculum designed particularly, for students who participate in the North Dakota Alternate Assessment, is most appropriate for those students with mental retardation, significant learning or emotional disabilities. In some individual student situations, the courses may also be appropriate for students with autism, hearing impairments or deafness (HI), or visual impairments (VI). The intent of the Functional and Community-Based Curriculum is twofold: 1) provide standard credit and instruction for completion of applicable functional course work using the foundation of the local school community partnership; and 2) promote collaboration of general and special educators working together to meet the individual needs of the students. More information about the Functional and Community-Based Curriculum and a list of course topics may be found at

Focusing on the course of study as described above promotes the concept that the high school program focuses on post-school results. Consequently, the courses taken by the student may be more meaningful to the student and at the same time, may motivate the student to complete his/her education.

Documentation of Graduation Requirements:

The right to a free appropriate public education (FAPE) applies until a student successfully completes a secondary education program and graduates with a signed standard high school diploma, or when a student exceeds the age of eligibility at 21. The right to FAPE continues to apply to students with disabilities who have been awarded a certificate of completion or attendance or a General Educational Development (G.E.D.) credential instead of a standard high school diploma unless they have exceeded the age of eligibility.

The IEP needs to address the following questions about the student’s ability to meet graduation requirements.

  1. What is the total number of credits required by the district for graduation? What is the student’s anticipated month and year of graduation? Identification of this information allows the team to plan accordingly for graduation within an identified timeframe while accommodating the student’s educational needs. Addressing these questions leaves no doubt about if and when a student will be graduating with his/her class.
  2. Will the student exit high school with fewer credits than required by the district for a high school diploma?
  3. If yes, identify the alternate document approved by the district the IEP team anticipates the student will receive. If the student will not be receiving a regular high school diploma, the IEP team must identify any alternate document approved by the district that the student will earn.

For some students earning course credits through either the regular curriculum course offerings and/or the Functional and Community-Based Curriculum may not be appropriate. The IEP team must discuss the programming and services best suited to the student’s needs based on the student’s postsecondary goals.

Transfer of Rights

In North Dakota, state law considers a person to be an adult on the 18th birthday; that is, the person is of “legal age” and assumes the role of an adult. This means the student is no longer under the natural guardianship, or custody and supervision, of parents. It also means that a person who is 18 years old is responsible for making his or her own decisions, including those about school.

The guaranteed rights previously afforded to parents to make decisions, review records, and attend meetings, become the responsibility of the student at age 18 unless parents or other adults become guardians. The exception to this occurs if parents petition the state district court for legal guardianship. Parents often seek the assistance of an attorney to accomplish this. If guardianship is awarded, the parents continue to make decisions regarding their child.

The IDEA states that no later than one year before the age of majority the IEP must include a statement that the student has been informed of the rights that will transfer to the student upon reaching the age of majority. Having this information at age 17 allows the team, especially the student and parents, to discuss the implications of educational guardianship and initiate the process in a timely manner. Court schedules and associated costs to the family are important issues that may need to be considered over a period of time.

At the age of 18, the school must notify the parent and student of the transfer of rights. This notification may occur on the Parent Prior Written Notice Form. Upon meeting with the student and assuring that the student understands his/her rights, the student shall be asked to sign the Student Transfer of Rights form. A sample of this form and the procedure is included.

Section 300.320(c)….
Beginning not later than one year before the child reaches the age of majority under state law, the IEP must include a statement that the child has been informed of the child’s rights, under part B of the Act, if any, that will transfer to the child on reaching the age of majority under section 300.520.

Coordinated set of Strategies & Activities Needed to assist the Student in Reaching the Postsecondary Goals

This section of the IEP is formatted to serve as a worksheet for addressing student needs in the areas of instruction, employment, community experiences, independent living, related services, and if necessary, daily living and functional vocational assessment.
The team will identify at least one strategy or activity for each postsecondary goal of the student. For each strategy or activity needed the team will also identify the agency responsible, the agency’s responsibility and the timeline for these responsibilities.


Instruction: The use of formal techniques and qualified instructors to impart knowledge; typically what is provided in the classroom or other sites to relay instruction or the application of instructional materials.  The strategies and activities can include, but are not limited to, such things as:  a) Broad curricular areas of needed coursework, educational experiences, and skill training; b) Activities and strategies that are necessary to prepare for and take part in college, continuing education, adult living, etc.

  • Examples: Learn about time management, enroll in parenting classes in __ grade, visit college campuses and meet with student support services, enroll in Self-Advocacy/Self Awareness classes.

Community Experience: Activities provided outside the school building in natural community settings that prepare the student for participation in community life.  These experiences should encourage the student to participate in the community, including social, recreational, government, transportation, shopping, or other opportunities.

  • Examples: Obtain a driver’s license, explore volunteer experiences, register with selective service, learn to use public transportation, shopping or apartment living experiences, banking, use of public services.

Employment: Instructional objectives, activities, techniques and services that lead to a job or career; can be provided by school or other entities to include student interest, relevancy of disability and nature of job interests, supports, necessary skills and abilities to succeed, emerging or missing skills, employee behaviors, academic, social and vocational needs, and accommodations.

  • Examples: career awareness program, take the ASVAB, JTPA, co-op program, work-study, apprenticeship, Job Corp, participate in job shadowing, explore supported employment options.

Related Services: Developmental, corrective and other supportive services that may be required for the upcoming school year are addressed in another section of the IEP.  Related services in this section has to do with determining if the related service needs will continue beyond school, identifying any agency that might provide those services, identifying how the student and parent can access those services, and connecting the student and parent to whomever will provide those services before the student leaves the school system.          

  • Examples: learn about postschool providers for speech therapy, complete an assistive technology evaluation, apply for a mentor through a local, non-profit agency for counseling of substance abuse and delinquency. 

Adult Living & Post School: Activities and strategies that focus on important adult responsibilities such as voting, paying taxes, renting a home, accessing medical services, raising children, etc. which prepare students to live as independently as possible.

  • Examples: Self advocate at work, maintain checking/savings account, select community club, pass drivers test, communicate appropriately in social and/or work settings, complete forms. Post-secondary educational activities could include learning effective study habits, job shadowing, ACT/SAT accommodations, college applications, etc.

Daily Living: Activities adults do every day to have access to society, provided by schools or other entities.

  • Examples: Utilize community resources, medical/medication management, meal preparation, housekeeping, use of personal care attendant, use/maintenance of adaptive technology, developing personal relationships.

Functional Vocational Assessment: Assessment process that provides information about job or career interests, aptitudes and skills.  This can include observations, formal or informal measures and should be practical.  Information gathered through a functional vocational assessment can be used to refine educational experiences, courses of study, and employment strategies.

  • Examples: Contact agencies that provide functional vocational assessments in the community, conduct formal aptitude tests such as VALPAR and WRIOT

Source: *O’Leary and Collision, February 2002.  Transition Services: Helping Educators, Parents and Others UnderstandPostSchool Outcomes, Course of Study and Coordinated Set of Activities.

Student needs, interests, and preferences are the basis for developing this coordinated set of strategies and activities as a long-range multi-year plan that identifies and specifies what must be done to prepare the student for adult life. Using this section as a worksheet, the team “brainstorms” and categorizes all identified needs from the PLAAFP (into the appropriate category in the column titled “Needs & Activities”. The identification of who is fiscally responsible creates clear planning opportunities. Education alone can not provide everything needed to prepare each student for adult life, but a coordinated and collaborative effort with all necessary partners may be successful. The IEP team will identify the strategy or service needed, make decisions about agency responsibility (provider/payer) and document accountability including timelines. Priority is given to the most critical needs, but planning for future years is also included.

If the team concurs that no needs exist in any one of the required areas, the team must document the rationale. For example, if the team concludes employment services are not necessary because the student has successfully maintained part time employment with no impact as a result of the disability, and no future needs are identified, the team should make a statement to that effect.

When this section is completed, the team should be able to identify the school’s responsibilities, including those specific to special education, that are then prioritized as the IEP goals. It should be kept in mind, however, that not every need that is the responsibility of the school automatically becomes an annual goal on the IEP. The team must make a decision about whether a particular activity constitutes a need for special education services or supports which would then become an annual goal.

This section should be a comprehensive “snapshot” of what is required for the duration of a student’s education to assist the student in reaching his or her postsecondary goals.

Although the evaluation of daily living skills and functional vocational assessments are to be considered only as appropriate, information from the evaluation process becomes critical for transition age students. This information enhances the development of goals and objectives for the student’s IEP.

Section 300.43(a)(2)
Is based on the individuals child’s needs, taking into account the child’s strengths, preferences, and interests; and includes— instruction, related services, community experiences, the development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives, and if appropriate; acquisition of daily living skills and provisions of a functional vocational evaluation.

Agency Collaboration and Responsibilities

The student’s IEP should contain a statement of interagency responsibilities or any linkages required to ensure that the student has the transition services needed from outside agencies and that representatives from those agencies are invited to attend the IEP meeting. The IDEA 2004 requires the school to ensure designated agency participation at the IEP meeting. Written parental consent is also now required, before the school invites representatives from other participating agencies to attend an IEP Team meeting. A sample form to request parental consent to invite other agencies to the IEP meeting is available on this website.

It is critical to remember that planning for student needs with agencies takes a coordinated effort. Schedules, workloads, and responsibilities vary with different agencies and personnel. It is important to contact adult service providers as soon as possible and allow sufficient scheduling time to attend IEP meetings. It is also important to provide essential information to others prior to the meeting. This will enhance their contribution and participation in the discussion, planning, and decision making.

Best practice suggests meeting with the various providers at the beginning of each year to discuss school expectations, meeting dates, schedules, and responsibilities. If an adult service provider representative is not able to attend the IEP meeting, consider a conference prior to the meeting so the student’s case manager can obtain agency information and input. The team should be specific about what information is needed from the provider and what outcomes are anticipated in order to avoid any discrepancy in services. If a student has not yet been found eligible for other agencies’ services, the process should be completed before the IEP meeting, rather than after, so the team can identify and prioritize services. Despite all efforts, in some cases, the IEP meeting may have to be rescheduled to accommodate changes in schedules for all agencies.

Documentation of other agency responsibilities and timelines should be documented in the transition services section, “Coordinated Set of Strategies & Activities Needed to Assist the Student in Reaching their Postsecondary Goals. If an agency identified by the IEP team fails to provide the services designated in the IEP, the IEP team must reconvene as soon as possible to identify alternate strategies and amend the IEP as necessary. The school must document the dates of reconvened IEP meetings and results.

Section 300.321(b)(3)
To the extent appropriate, with the consent of the parents or the child who has reached the age of majority, the public agency must invite a representative of any participating agency that is likely to be responsible for providing or paying for transition services.

Section 300.324(c)
If a participating agency, other than the public agency fails to provide the transition services described in the IEP, the public agency must reconvene the IEP Team to identify alternative strategies to meet transition objectives for the child set out in the IEP.

Annual Goals

Annual Goals are “statements that describe what a student with a disability can reasonably be expected to accomplish (e.g., master some skill or knowledge [not an activity]) within a twelve month period in the student’s education program.

For each postsecondary goal in the students IEP, there must be at least one annual goal included that will help the student make progress towards the stated postsecondary goal.
One annual goal may link to more than one measurable postsecondary goal.

Annual Goal examples that directly relates to the Postsecondary goal examples on page 4 of this appendix:

Example 1A: Given the Pacific Community College information, Jane will demonstrate knowledge of the college’s admission requirements by verbally describing those requirements and identifying admission deadlines with 90% accuracy by November, 2008.

Example 2A: Given a bus schedule adapted with pictures, Lisa will select the correct start time and stop time for five scenarios of activities presented to her with 80% accuracy.

  • Study skill goals may logically lead to education/training, employment, and independent living goals.
  • Behavioral skills goals may logically lead to education/training, employment and independent living goals.
  • Academic skills goals may logically lead to education/training, employment and independent living goals.

When the Transition IEP is completed in the above suggested sequence it becomes reflective of both the annual and the long-term educational needs, which forms a plan for seamless services after high school. The suggested Transition IEP form and instructions for completing the form are included on this website.

 Summary of Performance

An additional new requirement of the IDEA 2004 for providing transition services to students with disabilities is the “Summary of Performance” (SOP). When a student exits special education services due to graduation with a regular diploma or due to exceeding the age of eligibility, a comprehensive evaluation is no longer required. The local education agency must now give the student a summary of his/her academic achievement and functional performance as it relates to the student’s measurable postsecondary goals. The SOP is not a new set of evaluation and the student’s assessment data. It is, as its name implies, a summary of existing data and of performance in the academic and functional areas. These are two critical areas of student performance. As the team addresses each area it is vital to include the specially designed instruction, accommodations, modifications, and assistive technology that were utilized in high school to assist the student in making progress. This information can be invaluable to enhance a student’s self-knowledge and self advocacy as he/she transitions into new environments with new requirements and demands.

The SOP must also include recommendations on how to assist the student in achieving the student’s measurable postsecondary goals. These recommendations should answer the following questions, “what do I do next?’ and “whom should I call?” after the student leaves the school setting. When the team is completing the Recommendations section, the following should be considered:

  • The supports and accommodations the student has benefited from in school and in the community.
  • The supports and accommodations that are recommended in post-school life to assist the student in achieving his/her postsecondary goals.
  • The specific skills/abilities necessary for the student to achieve the intended goal(s) (e.g., level of support and/or academic adjustments for reading required for college coursework versus those required for employment).
  • The intended goal and the students needs/functional limitations(e.g., plans to go to college but needs to continue developing self-advocacy skills needed to obtain supports and services).
  • The adult agencies and individuals supportive of the student that may have a role in supporting student achievement of post school goals (e.g., College Disability Support Services). Provide specific contact information for individuals and agencies if available.

Section 300.305(e)(3)
For a child whose eligibility terminates under circumstances described in paragraph (e)(2) of this section, a public agency must provide the child with a summary of performance of the child’s academic achievement and functional performance, which shall include recommendations on how to assist the child in meeting the child’s postsecondary goals

Student Input in the SOP: The student should actively participate in developing the SOP in collaboration with school professionals. Asking the student what supports and services have helped him/her to be successful in high school and about what services or supports will be needed in the future, can help promote self advocacy. In addition, involving the student in the development of the SOP may enable the student to gain a clearer understanding of his/her disability and how it will impact postsecondary activities. The information gained from the student may be included as an optional section on the SOP form.

The Summary of Performance must be completed during the last year of high school. The specific timing during that last year is based on the individual needs of the student as specified in the transition plan. This will vary depending on the student’s postsecondary goals.

Does the student need the information in the SOP to apply for college?

  • Then the SOP may be done in the fall.

Will the information be needed to provide the employer with the most current information?

  • Then the SOP may be done in the spring.

Secondary Transition and the North Dakota State Performance Plan:

The IDEA 2004 places greater emphasis on accountability of the state and local education agencies for improving the educational and functional outcomes for youth with disabilities. All states are now required to develop a six year special education State Performance Plan (SPP). The purpose of the SPP is to plan for the improvement of outcomes for youth with disabilities. Each year the state must also submit an Annual Performance Report (APR) to show how a state is progressing toward the targets established in the SPP. Appendix A of the Guidelines: Individualized Education Program Planning Process for Special education in North Dakota summarizes the three monitoring priorities of the SPP and the twenty indicators for which states must provide baseline data, projected targets, and activities to achieve those targets.

Although all twenty indicators impact the outcomes for youth with disabilities, Indicators 1, 2, 13, and 14 directly measure outcomes or services that influence results for high school aged youth.

Indicator 1: Percent of youth with IEPs graduating from high school with a regular diploma compared to percent of all youth in the State graduating with a regular diploma.

Indicator 2: Percent of youth with IEPs dropping out of high school compared to the percent of all youth in the State dropping out of high school.

Indicator 13: Percent of youth aged 16 and above with an IEP that includes coordinated, measurable, annual IEP goals and transition services that will reasonably enable the student to meet the post-secondary goals.

Indicator 14: Percent of youth who had IEPs, are no longer in secondary school and who have been competitively employed, enrolled in some type of post-secondary school, or both, within one year of leaving high school.

Each year school districts will be asked to submit data regarding each of these four indicators. For indicators 1 and 2, this will be the number of youth that graduated with regular high school diploma and the number of youth that dropped out of high school from each district in the state. For Indicator 13, district internal monitoring teams will review the IEP files of youth 16 -21 using the North Dakota Internal Monitoring Transition Requirement Checklist.

Indicator 14 data will be obtained though the North Dakota Follow-Up Study Interview Process. Districts will be requested to continue to conduct the NDDPI Exit Surveys with youth who are exiting secondary school. Because Indicator 14 requires states to follow up with all students who had IEPs while in secondary school, up-to-date contact information for the student will be vital. The State Education agency will need to rely on this up-to-date contact information students provide to the school district at the time of exit.

horizonal rule

Home    |    Programs & Services    |    Resources    |    Grants    |    State Standards    |    Education Legislation

Administrative Rules    |    Links    |    Frequently Asked Questions    |    Site Map   

This site is best viewed with Internet Explorer 7.0 or higher

Get FireFox    Get Google Chrome   Get Microsoft Internet Explorer     Get Adobe Acrobat Reader

Visit the Adobe website for PDF accessibility tools.

Send mail to if you have any questions or comments.

North Dakota Department of Public Instruction
Kirsten Baesler, State Superintendent
600 E. Boulevard Avenue, Dept. 201
Bismarck, North Dakota 58505-0440

Disclaimer Statement