Transition Assessment Tools

Transition assessments are tools that help students identify their strengths, interests, skills, and/or knowledge needed to reach their goals for life after high school. Postsecondary goals and transition services must be based on the results of age-appropriate transition assessments. These can be formal or informal assessments.

Formal transition assessments:

  • Published tests provide scores that compare students to others
  • Can be a starting point
  • Can learn about a wide variety of skill levels in various areas (e.g., vocational, academic, social)
  • Types: learning style inventories, academic achievement tests, adaptive behavior scales,  aptitude tests, interest inventories

Informal transition assessments:

  • Observations of  the student in various academic and work experiences
  • Talking with the student about likes and dislikes
  • Setting up experiences to allow the student to try something that that may be of interest
  • Often created by teachers, and do not include a concrete score

Transition assessments are part of an ongoing planning process that will vary from student to student.

Consider using a tiered framework to organize the range of transition assessments you might use to meet a variety of student needs.

General assessment resources

Compilations of assessments

  • The Transition Assessment Matrix from the Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center has a wealth of information. It’s well-designed – you can explore assessments by domain (employment, education, independent living), grade level, type of disability, or any combination of the above.
  • Age-Appropriate Transition Assessments and Resources (PDF, 23 pages, 2021), from Wisconsin, has a straightforward overview of transition assessments plus an extensive listing (with links) of assessments and resources organized into transition planning areas.
  • Age Appropriate Transition Assessment Toolkit, 4th edition (PDF, 54 pages, 2016) from NTACT, the National Technical Assistance Center on Transition. Covers the purposes and process of transition assessment, and provides help in selecting and using formal and informal assessments. You will have to create a free account to get to the toolkit.
  • The Transition Coalition maintains a list of assessments with user reviews. You can see what other people think and also add your own opinions.
  • List of transition assessments sorted by focus area, from South Dakota’s Transition Services Liaison Project.

Self-determination assessments



Assistive technology assessments

Independent living asessments



College readiness assessments

Student Resource Guide (PDF, 30 pages, 2018) from Routledge has a College Readiness Assessment starting on page 14, and a series of college readiness activities.

Landmark College developed a Guide to Assessing College Readiness (PDF, 6 pages, 2009) to help parents and students assess readiness for college work.

Updated 3-3-23