The Importance of Transition-A Descriptive Study of Eligibility Assessment Requirements at the Postsecondary Level for Tier One and Community Colleges in Texas: A Bridge Over Troubled Waters



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Transition from high school to a postsecondary endeavor is an important and often trying time for students who want to pursue their postsecondary education (Cleary, Walter, & Jackson, 2011; Venezia & Jaeger, 2013). A common theme that runs throughout the current research is the benefit to students of learning and becoming comfortable with their own knowledge, self-advocacy and independence as concerns their eligibility for accommodations or assistive technology when they pursue a postsecondary pathway. One goal of this project was to determine what support services were available in the area for students with disabilities transitioning from high school to postsecondary schools. A second aim was to determine what documentation was required by these higher education schools to qualify students with disabilities for accommodations and, finally, whether high school documentation and assessments could be used to meet those requirements. Eight schools were selected that serve students in the Houston area, comprised of the top four community colleges and four Tier One universities serving students in the region. School websites were accessed to find information for students with disabilities. Using document analysis, a spreadsheet was developed to compare requirements for accommodations eligibility. Results were compared and verified using the method of triangulating analysts (Patton, 2015). Those results were then compared to the national template of the Summary of Performance to ascertain what additions would make the form more useful during the transition process.
The data were divided into three sections: lexicon, assessment and timing and supports. Lexicon explained the various uses of terminology on the website and compared it to the requirements on the Summary of Performance. Assessment and timing compared what assessments are required for a particular disability and how recent the assessment must be. Supports addressed the offerings of assistive technology and accommodations offered. The study found that all the schools had offices on campus that supported students with disabilities and they all had website information available. All institutions had contact information and published application processes for declaration of and request for accommodations. Each school required some sort of documentation that verified the disability and included the signature and credentials of the person making the verification. Finally, each school offered accommodations and assistive technology. Further analysis showed that information from the national template of the Summary of Performance, a required high school document, could be supplemented with campus specific information. The results provide important implications for policy and practice. Creation of additional instruction for the transitioning student during high school to familiarize them with the transition process and the Summary of Performance is an important ingredient for success. Increased training for the teachers and counselors as well as parents who assist the student along the way will help to prepare the way for students wishing to move on to postsecondary endeavors.



Transitions, Summary of performance, Postsecondary students with disabilities