Post secondary school outcomes for youth with disabilities are poor. For example, the National Longitudinal Transition Study 2 Wave 3 data indicated students continue to live with their parents, did not attend post secondary education and had high rates of unemployment as compared to their non disabled peers, after exiting school. The National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center had been identifying evidenced based practices to help improve these and other outcomes. The Council for Exceptional Children was also looking for evidenced based practices in Special Education.
The purpose of this study was to conduct a systematic review of the secondary transition correlational literature using recommended quality indicators to identify in-school predictors of improved post school outcomes for students with disabilities.
This study is a systematic review. The included studies were undertaken in various locations and settings.
One hundred and sixty two articles were identified for review. Sixty three passed an analyses and were passed on for further review. Among these, 35 were excluded which left 28 articles for comparison against a quality of evidence checklist for correlational research. This resulted in 22 articles for final review. Three were exploratory studies and the others were a priori studies related to students with disabilities.
The remaining studies were examined for the following: population, sample size, predictor variables, postschool outcome variables, type of statistical analysis used, relationships among variables, significance levels, and data that allowed for calculation of effect sizes. It was not possible to extract conclusions across studies, so the researchers chose to convert significant relationships to standardize effect size measures to allow comparisons. Various conversions were calculated.
The interventions were various transition practices.
There were no comparison or control conditions.
A review of the literature identified 16 evidence-based in school predictors of post-school outcomes. These include: career awareness, community experiences, exit exam requirements/high school diploma status, inclusion in general education, interagency collaboration, occupational courses, paid employment/work experience, parental involvement, program of study, self advocacy/self determination, self-care/independent living skills, social skills, student support, transition program, vocational education and work study. Some negative findings were also found. Two studies reported negative relationships between secondary transition predictors and one or more post school outcomes. Among the 16 predictor categories: inclusion in general education, paid employment and work experience, self care/independent living, and student support improved outcomes in all 3 post school outcome areas.
The results from this review provide information to help practitioners improve post school outcomes for students with disabilities. Combining knowledge gained from this review with evidenced based instructional practices should provide state and local education agencies with a foundation to improve programs and thereby increase post school outcomes.