Special Education

Questions and Answers on Individualized Education Program (IEP) Development, The State's Model IEP Form and Related Documents

Measurable Post-secondary Goals and Transition Needs

The following questions and answers address some of the important issues raised by requests for clarification of the federal and State requirements for IEPs.  This document will periodically be updated.  This guidance does not impose any requirements beyond those required under applicable law and regulations.  This document supersedes any previously issued guidance on this topic.

If you have questions regarding the IEP form and related requirements, you may submit them to the following mailbox:  SEFORMS@nysed.gov.


  1. How can the Committee assist the student to increase self-awareness and identify obtainable measurable post-secondary goals?

    In NYS, the assessment process relating to transition goals and services begins with the Level 1 career assessment at age 12.  This assessment is used to determine vocational skills, aptitudes and interests.

    Beginning with the first IEP to be in effect when the student turns age 15, the Committee must consider age-appropriate transition assessments and the student’s strengths, preferences and interests to identify the student’s measurable post-secondary goals.  The Committee can assist the student with identifying strengths, needs, interests, and preferences and consider these when exploring career areas and courses of study.  The school should provide the student with meaningful opportunities to explore his/her career interest areas, such as job shadowing or school-to-work experiences. 

    In addition, each student, including each student with a disability as appropriate, must have an annual guidance review where post-secondary goals can be discussed with the student.  The Career Plan is another process available to NYS students to increase self-awareness and guide the student to identify obtainable post-secondary goals (http://www.p12.nysed.gov/cte/careerplan/).

    The school may also consider utilizing a person-centered planning approach.  Person-centered planning is a problem-solving process designed to assist individuals in planning for their future.  For more information about person-centered planning, see http://www.pacer.org/tatra/resources/personal.aspexternal link.

    For technical assistance on transition planning, contact the transition specialists with the Regional Special Education Technical Assistance Support Centers (RSE-TASC) found at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/techassist/rsetasc/memo909.htm.

  2. Other than the State Performance Plan (SPP) Indicator 14, is there a NYSED expectation/plan for districts to regularly measure the achievement of these measurable post-secondary goals?
    No.
  3. When would measurable post-secondary goals related to independent living skills not be appropriate?
    Many students with disabilities have the skills, knowledge and supports necessary to live independently as adults.  If the Committee determines that there is not a need in this area, then the IEP does not need to include a post-secondary goal for independent living.  In making this determination, the Committee should consider the student’s level of independent skills in such areas as shopping, managing a budget, renting an apartment, driving or taking public transportation, engaging in community-based recreational activities, etc.
  4. How are a student’s employment aspirations documented in his/her IEP?
    A student’s employment aspirations would be documented in an IEP under the heading of measurable post-secondary goals.
  5. Should a student’s transition assessment be documented in an IEP?
    Yes.  The present levels of performance of the student should include information based on results from age-appropriate transition assessments.
  6. Does there need to be a statement regarding transition needs in EACH section of the Present Levels of Performance?
    No.
  7. How do we distinguish between instruction and course of study?
    According to federal guidance from November 16, 2006, “Instruction is a component of a transition program that ‘the student needs to receive in specific areas to complete needed courses, succeed in the general curriculum and gain needed skills’ (Storms, O’Leary, & Williams, 2000, Transition Requirements: A Guide for States, Districts, Schools, Universities and Families. University of Oregon, Western Regional Resource Center, p.28).  Courses of study are ‘a multi-year description of coursework (necessary) to achieve the student’s desired post-school goals’” (Storms, O’Leary, & Williams, 2000, Transition Requirements, p.8).  For example, courses of study could include a specific CTE sequence leading to an industry credential.  You can find this guidance at the NSTTAC website, in the SPP 13 Checklist FAQ document. See question 16 at http://www.nsttac.org/pdf/i13checklistqa.pdfPDF document.

Last Updated: March 28, 2014