Special Education

Student Exit Summary

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summary FOrm Word
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The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) §614(c)(5) and State regulations (§200.4(c)(4)) require the local educational agency (LEA) to provide a student with a disability with a summary of the student’s academic achievement and functional performance, which must include recommendations on how to assist the student in meeting his or her postsecondary goals.  This Student Exit Summary must be provided to a student whose eligibility for special education services terminates due to graduation from secondary school with a regular diploma or due to exceeding the age eligibility for a free appropriate public education (FAPE) under State law. This includes students exiting school with a Regents, local, and Individualized Education Program (IEP) Diploma.  The New York State Education Department recommends that a Student Exit Summary also be completed for students exiting with a High School Equivalency Diploma.

what is the purpose of the student exit summary?

The purpose of the Student Exit Summary is to provide the student with a written report that provides essential information to consider as the student transitions from secondary school.   The Student Exit Summary should be a useful and relevant document that summarizes individual student abilities, skills, needs and limitations and provides recommendations to support successful transition to adult living, learning and working. The Student Exit Summary should be designed to assist the student in establishing eligibility for reasonable accommodations and supports in postsecondary settings, the workplace and the community and to aid the student in accessing adult services as appropriate. It should help the student better understand the impact of his/her disability and articulate individual strengths and needs as well as supports that would be helpful in post-school life.

nys sample student exit summary

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) has developed a sample form to assist LEAs in meeting the requirements for the Student Exit Summary. LEAs may choose to develop their own form, but all pertinent information must be included. The sample form includes the Summary of Academic and Functional Achievement (Part I) and the Post-Secondary Goals and Recommendations for Supports (Part II). Guidance for completing this suggested form is included in this document.

who should be involved in completing the student exit summary?

The Student Exit Summary should be completed through a team process that includes the student, family and a number of school personnel including the special education teacher, general education teacher, school psychologist and/or related services personnel who know the student best. If appropriate, adult agency personnel should be included in discussions. LEAs should establish a system to manage this process so that a quality document is completed. Development of the Student Exit Summary is a student-centered process. Conversations with the student and family should drive this process.  For a student in a board of cooperative educational services (BOCES) or nondistrict program, the LEA will need to collaborate with that program to determine who will complete the Student Exit Summary.

when should this information be provided to the student?

The Student Exit Summary should be completed during the final year of high school but must be completed and provided to the student prior to school exit.

what information should be considered in preparing the student exit summary?

Each student’s Student Exit Summary should be personalized and based on his/her current abilities, strengths, skills, needs, and functional limitations. Much of this information can be found in the student’s IEP and progress reports for the student’s final school year.  

The Student Exit Summary may serve a variety of functions for the student (e.g., assisting with eligibility for adult vocational rehabilitation services, financial benefits, and residential placements; supplementing documentation necessary for accommodations in college; and summarizing skills and strengths necessary for successful employment). Therefore it is important that this document accurately reflect the student across all settings. Information should be presented in such a way as to document the student’s abilities, skills, strengths and interests as well as the student’s needs and limitations with an emphasis on the supports or compensatory strategies that have been effective for the student.

The following information should be considered when preparing the Student Exit Summary:

  • Employability Profile;

  • Career and Technical Education Skills Achievement Profile;

  • Career Plan;

  • Transcripts;
  • Functional Behavior Assessments;
  • Adaptive Behavior Assessments;
  • Psychological Assessments;
  • Strength Based Assessments;
  • Information from the student and family, pertinent school staff and agency personnel regarding student abilities, strengths, skills, needs and limitations;
  • Supports, accommodations, environmental modifications, and compensatory strategies that have been beneficial in supporting student success;
  • Assistive technology devices and assistive services that have been helpful to the student. Include both low tech (e.g. velcro, laminated communication boards) and high tech items (e.g. commercial communication systems; speech recognition software) from which the student has benefited;
  • Individual student needs/functional limitations (eligibility for adult services, supports and benefits is often based on deficiencies rather than strengths);
  • Individual student strengths/skills so an employer or postsecondary institution etc. has a clear understanding as to what the student can offer;
  • Challenges the student might encounter in postsecondary school, employment or independent living; and
  • Community agencies and adult service providers to whom the student may already be connected noting the status of those connections (e.g. application completed, eligibility established, acceptance into a program etc.).
part i: summary of academic achievement and functional performance

The sample form for the Summary of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (Part I) provides information on the student’s present levels of performance and needs with respect to:

  • academic achievement, functional performance and learning characteristics;

  • social development; and

  • physical development.

Academic Achievement, Functional Performance and Learning Characteristics means the student’s current functioning, strengths, abilities, interests, and needs in subject and skill areas, including, as appropriate:

  • activities of daily living (e.g., personal care, preparing meals, household activities, managing resources);

  • level of intellectual functioning (e.g. general intelligence, attention, memory, problem-solving ability, language functioning);

  • adaptive behavior (e.g., the effectiveness with which the individual copes with the natural and social demands of his or her environment; how the student makes judgments and decisions);

  • expected rate of progress in acquiring skills and information (e.g., the pace in which a student learns new information or skills, in consideration of factors such as those associated with the student’s levels of cognitive skills, interests, age and history of rate of progress); and

  • learning style (e.g., how the student learns best such as through visual or auditory modalities, hands-on approaches, cooperative learning, repetition).

Consider the following:

  • Academic Skills/Needs- Math; reading; writing; applying learning standards including the Career Development and Occupational Studies Standards (CDOS); note taking; writing reports; using complex math; comprehending technical information and text books; acquiring, retaining and applying complex concepts; beginning and completing tasks; maintaining attention to tasks; learning new tasks; generalizing skills; adapting to new situations; managing time; applying organizational and study skills; understanding own learning style; using computers and assistive technology; comprehending technical information; understanding safety/workplace signs; using tools & technology in the workplace; Include information from student transcripts, standardized assessments passed and at what level. Consider environmental modifications, specialized equipment, and alternate formats for text.

  • Problem Solving Skills/Needs - Skills required for different environments as well as general and specific situations; goal setting and self-determination; creative thinking; understanding expectations; anticipating challenges; and making decisions.

  • Communication Skills/Needs - Understanding and ability to use language to make needs known; preferred method of communication; communication systems and other communication supports used.

  • Technology and Managing Information Skills/Needs- Technology across all situations-home, work, community and lifelong learning; ability to use internet and web based applications; accessing community organizations; adaptive equipment.

  • Career Development and Employment Skills/Needs- Paid and unpaid work experiences; career interests; career exploration; job training; etc.

  • Transportation Skills/Needs - Ability to get around the community - walking, biking, driving, taxi, subway; drivers license; access to a car; reading subway/bus schedules etc.

  • Personal Management Skills/Needs- Acquiring and using information to obtain supports and services; managing finances and schedules, benefits information and planning; marketing and preparing meals; identifying accommodations; obtaining housing; balancing leisure, work and learning needs.

Social development means the degree and quality of the student’s current functioning, strengths, abilities, interests, and needs with respect to:

  • relationships with peers and adults,

  • feelings about self, and
  • social adjustment to school and community environment.

Consider the following:

  • Interpersonal Skills/Needs - Interacting with peers and authority; accepting supervision; maintaining self control; working as a team or independently as needed; resolving differences; asking for assistance.

  • Self-Advocacy and Self-Determination Skills/Needs- Student awareness of how his/her disability affects his/her functioning; student ability/willingness to seek and use supports and accommodations.

Physical development means the degree and quality of the student’s current functioning, strengths, abilities, interests, and needs with respect to:

  • motor and sensory development,

  • health,
  • vitality, and
  • physical skills or limitations that pertain to the learning process.

Consider the following:

  • Personal Management Skills/Needs - Medical and mental health management; medication administration; physical ability to negotiate the environment; physical limitations & ability to function in post school setting.

  • Independent Living/Activities of Daily Living Skills/ Needs - Managing health, medications & chronic or episodic medical conditions; impact of health on stamina, endurance and strength, household management; self care; accessibility of housing; negotiating the environment.  

part ii: post-secondary goals and recommendations for support

The Post-Secondary Goals and Recommendations for Support (Part II) section of this sample form summarizes the student’s goals for postsecondary education and/or training, employment and independent living and provides recommendations to assist the student in meeting those goals.

The student’s individual Post-Secondary Goals as summarized in this section include the Measurable Post-Secondary Goal statements (formerly Post School Outcomes statements) from the student’s IEP. Because the Student Exit Summary is likely to be completed several months after the annual review in which the student’s Post-Secondary Goals were originally developed, it would be important to discuss those goals with the student and family and update and/or revise those goals as appropriate to ensure that they remain the plans the student intends to pursue upon school exit.

what should be considered when noting post-secondary goals?

Post-Secondary Goals for the student should be individualized and tied directly to the student’s abilities, strengths, interests and are noted in terms of:

  • post-secondary education and/or training (two or four year college, career and technical training, continuing and adult education courses and day habilitation);

  • employment (integrated part or full time competitive or supported employment etc.); and

  • independent living (participation in the community, access to adult services and activities of daily living etc.).

what information should be considered when developing recommendations to assist the student in reaching his or her post-secondary goals?

Recommendations to Assist the Student in Meeting Post-Secondary Goals should be directly tied to the students’ post-school plans for training, education, employment, and independent living skills and reflect the skills, abilities, needs and functional limitations noted in the Summary of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance.  When completing the Recommendations section, consider the following:

  • 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 individual post-school plans; 

  • the types of supports and accommodations that may be available through adult service providers;

  • the specific skills/abilities necessary for the student to achieve the intended goal (e.g., level of support and/or accommodations for reading required for college coursework versus those required for employment);

  • the intended goal and the student’s needs/functional limitations (e.g., plans to go to college but needs to continue developing self-advocacy skills needed to obtain supports and accommodations); and

  • 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 Center). Provide specific contact information for individuals and agencies if available.

additional resources:

For technical assistance on the Student Exit Summary and transition planning and services contact your Regional Transition Coordination Sites at:


Some federal and State agencies that provide adult services/benefits include:

Other resources helpful when transitioning to adult services include:


Last Updated: March 28, 2014