The Transition Grid

What is the Transition Grid?

To understand answer this question, let's look at the definition of transition services in IDEA:

Transition services means a coordinated set of activities for a child with a disability that—

(1) Is designed to be within a results-oriented process, that is focused on improving the academic and functional achievement of the child with a disability to facilitate the child’s movement from school to post-school activities, including postsecondary education, vocational education, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community participation;

(2) Is based on the individual child’s needs, taking into account the child’s strengths, preferences, and interests; and includes—

(i) Instruction;

(ii) Related services;

(iii) Community experiences;

(iv) The development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives; and

(v) If appropriate, acquisition of daily living skills and provision of a functional vocational evaluation.

(b) Transition services for children with disabilities may be special education, if provided as specially designed instruction, or a related service, if required to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education.

Let's Dive Deeper into the Definition...

A number of key words in the definition above capture important concepts about transition services:

  • Activities need to be coordinated with each other.
  • The process focuses on results.
  • Activities must address the child’s academic and functional achievement.
  • Activities are intended to smooth the young person’s movement into the post-school world.
Big picture

So...if you think about it...

The Transition Grid is just an outline of HOW we are supporting the student in reaching their goals!

Instead of questioning what you should type in the grid, think of what you are doing to support that student in their postsecondary goals. There is your answer! It is that easy! Those are the things that you put in the grid.

Look At The Following Example...

Big picture
When we look at the above grid, it should reflect transition services as stated in IDEA. The set of activities should be coordinated over the years to support the student's post school goals.

By reviewing this grid, we can conclude that Phillip needs to continue to work on writing and editing. This would be beneficial for him to have mastered before college/additional training. The other activities listed in the grid provide additional support to ensure success.

The courses of study also support Phillip's Post-Secondary Goals. If the courses do not align with his goals, the IEP team needs to discuss the necessary changes.

Just remember...

  • At least ONE service (measurable annual goal) and at least ONE activity is needed under each Post-Secondary Goal area (unless it has been determined not necessary).

  • Best Practice is at least 3 activities per Post-Secondary Goal area.
Big picture
Post Secondary Education and/or Training:

  • If you know the area of interest, you may use it in the goal. If not, it can be stated in general terms...For example...

  • Sally has a goal of enrolling in postsecondary education in the area of culinary arts.
  • OR
  • Sally has a goal of enrolling in postsecondary education.

  • DO NOT put the name of the college/training facility in the Post-Secondary Goal. You can put it in the Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance.


  • Follow the format as listed above. Example...

  • Sally has a goal of obtaining employment as a pastry chef.
  • OR
  • Sally has a goal of competitive employment.

Independent Living

  • The IEP team will determine whether the student needs to work on independent living skills to ensure success upon graduation. This decision will be BASED ON THE DATA presented in the Present Levels. If the data proves that a goal is not needed at that time, be sure to write a statement in the grid, check "No" in the box, and leave the rest of the grid BLANK. Below is an EXAMPLE of a statement...

  • "The IEP team has determined, based on the collected data, that a goal and services are deemed not necessary at this time."

  • If the team concludes, based on data, that a goal is needed, the grid is completed as the others. For example, if the student has a goal of living independently or in a supported apartment, it would be written to reflect this. Look at the example...

  • "Sally has a goal of living in an apartment with supports."

  • If a student has an Independent Living Goal, you DO NOT NEED to write another measurable annual goal. Instead, which of their goals supports Independent Living? Math? Reading? Self-Advocacy? All of these support this area.

  • What activities can you provide to support this goal area? Look around at what is already happening in their classrooms. Talk with guidance on what is happening. YES, you can include these. You do not need to invent these activities on your own. If they are not happening, then you need to create the activities.
Big picture

Adrienne Stiteler

Secondary Transition Consultant