Using Portfolios as a Resource to Support Transition into Post-Secondary Programs for Students with Disabilities

The purpose of this project is to review current transition practices for students with disabilities, and to present a curriculum guide which meets areas lacking in current transition instruction. Research establishes that there are deficits in student preparedness for post-secondary programs. In transition training, an intense focus has been placed upon legal implications and measurable student outcomes, without emphasizing the need to teach students how to make choices and self-advocate for the future. Research further indicates that the most successful transition training programs are based upon teaching self-determination skills such as problem solving, self-assessment, goal setting, and self-advocacy. (Cobb & Alwell, 2009; Lindstrom et al. 2007; Campbell-Whatley, 2008). A transition curriculum which embraces these best practices, Building Transition Portfolios, is presented in this project. This curriculum project includes a guidebook of lesson plans designed to provide support to teachers in leading students through the process of developing self-awareness, functional goal setting skills, and employment preparedness. As students progress through the curriculum, a personal portfolio of work is created, called a Transition Portfolio. Implications for this model are examined, and developed as the end product of this project.