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IES Grant

Title: Transition Outcomes for Special Education Secondary Students: Project Choices
Center: NCSER Year: 2009
Principal Investigator: Campbell, Dennis Awardee: University of South Alabama
Program: Transition to Postsecondary Education, Career, and/or Independent Living      [Program Details]
Award Period: 8/1/2009 through 07/31/2012 Award Amount: $1,300,093
Type: Development and Innovation Award Number: R324A090307

Purpose: The purpose of this project is to address the need for ready access to information for parents, students, schools, and community agencies regarding transitional and community support programs. The goal of this project is to develop an online system that will assist in developing valid transition and educational plans toward improved adult outcomes for students with disabilities. The research team will develop an interactive, web-based data system, Choices, to help guide students with disabilities and their families through the transition process.

Project Activities: Researchers will build upon an existing system prototype to fully develop the Choices system. The team will rely on database and website usage data, user observations, and questionnaires to fully refine the database systems based on successive implementations. Parents and students will be trained to use this system as a tool to effectively advocate for a successful high school transition process.

Products: The products of this project include a fully developed Choices data system designed to improve the transitions of students with disabilities, two training modules, published reports, and presentations.

Setting: The research will take place in a large school district in Alabama composed of urban, suburban, and rural settings.

Population: The participants for this study include 14–17 year olds with disabilities and their parents in the school district. In addition, research participants include community agencies, teachers, and administrators involved in the transition process for students with disabilities.

Intervention: The intervention, Choices, is a transition planning information system. This system will include a database of student and family information, community supports and services, and curriculum guides. Students, parents, and teachers will use the system to match personal goals and aspirations with specific adult outcomes and training programs to attain them. The system includes searchable fields for community sites, activities and associated skills requirements, and available supports to assist adult outcomes. The Choices model will be designed to be flexible so that it can be adapted to new communities with different demographics, opportunities and resources.

Research Design and Methods: Design research will be used to develop the Choices database with feedback from participants informing revisions to the system.

Control Condition: There is no control condition.

Key Measures: Data collection for the study involves user logs and observations of participants using and interacting with the data system. In addition, the team will judge consumer satisfaction by using questionnaires that focus on ease of use, time commitment, and relevance. The Choices system will generate a Student Transition Report for each student and researchers will also collect students' IEP and transition plan documents.

Data Analytic Strategy: Data from user logs and observations will be coded to identify issues to be addressed in revisions to the Choices intervention. User questionnaire data will also be summarized and coded to identify and address issues related to ease of use, time commitment, and relevance. Student Transition Reports will be qualitatively analyzed to determine if student objectives are appropriate based on surveys of students, parents, and teachers.

Publications from this project:

Campbell, D., Baxter, A. & Ellis, D. (2013). The Choices Project: Piloting a secondary transition planning database. In R. McBride & M. Searson (Eds.), Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference 2013 (pp. 4998–5002). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.