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Evaluation of Transition Supports for Youth with Disabilities

Contract Information

Current Status:

Possible transition strategies and design options are being explored.


September 2019 – May 2022



Contract Number:



American Institutes for Research
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Social Policy Research Associates
Quality Information Partners


Students with disabilities continue to lag their peers in high school graduation, enrollment in postsecondary education, and employment more than a decade after the 2004 reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). A central goal of IDEA is to help students with disabilities prepare for their transition from secondary school to further education, work, and independent living. To achieve this goal, IDEA requires the provision of transition services focused on improving students' academic and functional achievement in accordance with their individualized education program. Although studies suggest the importance of certain types of preparation for students with disabilities, there is limited evidence about the effectiveness of those or other strategies to promote post high school outcomes.

The evaluation will address the following questions:

  • What is known about the effectiveness of transition strategies? And for whom?
  • What transition strategies are feasible to examine with an impact study?
  • What are possible parameters for designing rigorous impact studies?

The study will summarize available evidence on the effectiveness of transition supports and interview transition stakeholders to identify promising transition strategies and methods for studying them. ED will make a decision by 2021 about conducting an impact study based on this work.

Key findings will be available after the study report is published.

The systematic evidence review is expected in 2021 and will be announced on