A collaborative follow-up study on transition service utilization and post-school outcomes

Authors: Baer, R. M., Flexer, R. M., Beck, S., Amstutz, N., Hoffman, L., Brothers, J., Stelzer, D., & Zechman, C.
Year Published 2003
Publication Career Development for Exceptional Individuals
Volume 26
Number 1
Pages 7-25
Publisher Sage
Background In spite of nearly 20 years of research on postschool outcomes, local schools rarely use these data to drive their improvement efforts. A number of school-based activities have been shown to improve postschool employment, such as employment experiences and community-based learning; however, in many schools these activities have not been adopted.
Purpose The purpose of this study was to examine characteristics related to transition service utilization and postsecondary outcomes, and identify program- and student-related variables that best predicted full-time employment.
Setting Settings were multiple school systems in Ohio.
Sample The study sample consisted of 140 randomly selected former special education students who had exited school in either 1997 or 2000.  Dropouts were excluded because they could not be tracked.  The sample was 59% male, with the majority having educational diagnoses of either learning disability (49%) or intellectual disability (28%); however, most disability diagnoses were in the sample.
Data Collection Data for the study were collected through two main sources:  School records and a postschool survey.  The survey collected information regarding employment, postsecondary education, independence, and other areas of adult life. Bivariate correlations were run between student-related variables, program-related variables, and postschool outcomes. A logistic regression model was developed to predict work and postsecondary education outcomes from student characteristics and secondary participation.
Control The comparison condition in the study was not having received the interventions.
Findings Related to employment, the logistic regression analysis showed that vocational education, work study participation, attending a rural school, and having a learning disability were the best predictors of full-time employment after school exit. Participation in work/study and vocational education each increased the likelihood of employment two-fold. However, other school-based vocational services, such as job shadowing, career fairs, in-school jobs, etc. were not predictive of post-school employment.
Conclusions Work/study and vocational education may be significantly correlated with postschool outcomes because they screen out students with more severe disabilities, but also may have been due to work/ study and vocational programs being more comprehensive and better integrated into the general curriculum than other school-based services.  The finding that other work-related school programs were not correlated with positive postschool outcomes may have been because they were uncoordinated with the student’s area of study.
URL http://cde.sagepub.com/content/26/1/7.refs?patientinform-links=yes&legid=spcde;26/1/7
Disabilities Intellectual disabilities | Specific learning disabilities
Populations Transition-age youth (14 - 24) | Female | Male
Outcomes Employment acquisition | Full-time employment
NIDILRR Funded No
Research Design Observational
Peer Reviewed Yes