Why every student needs functional Transition skills

Why Every Student Needs Functional Transition Skills!

Recently, I was talking with a school district whose teachers felt that Transition skills didn’t apply to their students because most of them were going to college. 

THIS IS NOT AN ISOLATED SITUATION.  In fact, it's a very common misconception and is the core of what’s wrong with the way Transition is being taught.

Plus this couldn’t be further from the truth and I’ll explain why in this article.

Indicator 13 Requirements and Functional Skills

Indicator 13 requires assessing three important areas which are employment, education/training, and independent living.  All three of these areas require students to master important Transition skills.  Academic skills which are primarily focused on by most educators represent 50% of skills necessary for success in employment and education/training. 


Is teaching 50% of the required skills an acceptable grade for preparing your students for adult life?


Not even close! 

In fact, most educational institutions would call that FAILING!

For over 20 years, Ten Sigma has been teaching educators about how to actually be compliant while also guiding students to make a successful transition to adult life. 

So let’s get started on helping you do that and here's what you're going to learn:

  • The difference between academic and functional skills
  • Why both types of skills are required for EVERY student
  • How to measure, monitor, and report progress on Transition skills
  • Links to 2 important episodes of Transition Tuesday
  • And resources to help teach these skills (for those who want to do the best for their students)

Difference Between Academic and Functional Skills

Academic skills are usually covered well and are skills like Math Calculation, Academic Writing, etc.  These skills are measured by academic assessments.

Functional skills are significantly ignored in many cases, but equally important as academic skills.  Functional skills include things like working well with others, taking responsibilities, being in control of your emotions, etc.  These skills are often challenging to communicate to others, write goals, and legitimately monitor/report progress.

Why Functional and Academic Skills are Required for Success in Life

Like Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences, we all different intelligences including intellectual and emotional intelligence.  Working well with others is an important life skill that is required in all three areas of Indicator 13, so to ignore measuring functional skills like these “Because the student plans to go to college” is definitely not best practice!   Ignoring functional skills like these does a disservice to the student and society.

How to Assess, Monitor, and Report Progress?

The most effective way to communicate and measure many functional skills is through the use of rubrics.  Here are some important steps to do this:

  • As we know, it is important to establish a baseline from more than the teacher and the student. This means that parents, teachers, students, and other IEP team members need to be involved in evaluating the student on important functional skills.  Age appropriate assessments that measure functional skills are extremely important.
  • Once the assessments are completed, the feedback from the entire IEP team can be assessed, prioritized, and measurable annual goals can then be written.
  • From that point, the rubrics can be used to find activities to teach the skills and monitor/report progress.

Resources to Help Special Educators

Here is a list of FREE resources to help special education teachers to teach functional Transition skills…

3 Options and the Easiest Way to Start Impacting Students Fast!

There are three options to move forward with the information you've learned in this article:

  • Option 1: Continue focusing primarily on academic skills which is what most teachers do (only 50% of best practices) to the detriment of students OR…
  • Option 2: Begin working to include more functional skills in your program by doing the countless hours of work researching, gathering or creating your own assessments and rubrics OR…
  • Option 3: Save countless hours of work and frustration and start including more functional skills IMMEDIATELY with the proven option of using Ten Sigma’s functional assessments and rubrics.  To help, we're offering off 50% through June 1st, 2020.  Simply click the button below to learn more and get your discount code!

We believe special educators are special because they do hard work with little recognition or appreciation.  Rather than take more of your valuable time doing research and paperwork, we hope you’ll take advantage of our tools to start making this process easy and have an immediate impact for your students!