What criteria is most fundamental in achieving positive post-secondary outcomes for students with moderate to severe disabilities at the high school level?

The purpose of this study was to determine which criteria are most attended to in practice with high school students to yield positive post-secondary outcomes throughout the high school to adult transition planning process for students with moderate to severe disabilities. This study analyzed and evaluated four to five years worth of transition plans for eight southern California high school graduates on six specific criteria researchers have identified as fundamental in helping to ensure positive post-secondary outcomes. The IEPs were for young adults who currently were involved in a functional vocational program that placed emphasis on employment and community experience. In conjunction with evaluating the archival records for the inclusion of the six criterions, participants were each given student questionnaires that consisted of 12 open-ended questions relating to their experiences regarding the six identified criteria. Results indicated that the program designed for these students did not, overall, lead to the outcomes identified as important in the literature. However, it was also discovered that this type of program was highly esteemed by the participants for helping them meet future demands. Suggestions are made as to what criteria may truly be most fundamental to the planning process from the student perspective. Key Words: Criteria, functional/vocational program, IDEIA 2004, positive post-secondary outcomes, transition planning