Transition planning is a well harmonized set of actions centered on improving functional and academic attainment of a learner with disabilities to hold up the learner's progression from school to post school events. These post school activities may entail self-reliance living, college, community involvement, career training, adult services, employment and ongoing adult education. An effective transition planning is result oriented and centers on outcomes that assist the student in reaching out their post school goals and objectives. For every learner with disabilities, transition planning takes place during an Individualized Education Program meeting. This essay attempts to discuss how effective transition planning can help decrease the dropout rate among high school students with disabilities.
History of transition planning
Transition is mainly concerned with life planning. It entails planning for both academic and non-academic courses, learning skills, employment and associated training chances, decisions on where to live in the society, and what to do for leisure and socialization. A key goal of transition is to assist the youths have a comprehension on their disability and decisions to settle on their future lives. One approach that is practiced by transition planning is connecting the youths to tutors and other empathetic adults, encouraging services and experiences that build up skills and assist the youths in reaching out their goals (Kellens & Morningstar, 2010)
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. Transition is founded on family morals, culture and priorities, and is centered on a single youth's needs, aims and preferences.
Transition services, on the other hand, is a description used in Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, that describes a coordinated set of actions that can attend to, among others, the evaluation, planning procedures, educational and community skills for youths with disabilities as they turn fourteen years. The aim of transition is to come up with vacancies for youths with disabilities that bring about optimistic adult results for life (Kellens & Morningstar, 2010). It may comprise of, taking part in general curriculum, building high self esteem, purpose and character, socializing and instituting long term relationships, making use of community for support, increasing expectations for youths results and finally participating in management of transition planning process. The engagement of families and youths is vital in order for the youths to begin understanding themselves and afterwards recognize a team of concerned adults who will encourage this process. In most culture, the key rite of passage for every youth is when they graduate from high school. Normally, the commencing of adulthood is commemorated at such times with anticipation that, the youth will build up an increasing self- reliance and autonomy, and advance to higher education, significant jobs, finding a living place, good friends, companions and a place in the community.
An Individualized Education Program is the file used to enhance an individualized planning process within the transition years, which is fourteen to twenty one (Kellens & Morningstar, 2010)
The Individualized Education Program should comprise of, a youth's current level of educational performance, his or her transition service needs and calculatedly yearly goals. Additionally, the Individualized Education Program must encompass any interagency accountability, accommodations or alterations and an outline of the special education and associated services to be offered and for the youth to be engaged and pass on in the usual curriculum. Since the Individualized Education Program is one of the aspects used to weigh conformity with IDEA, wide-ranging and continuing support is crucial to tutors and others who are accountable for implementing the Individualized Education Program (IDEA, 2004).
As information regarding transition curricula, associated instructions and transition process, is vital in improving how the transition service is offered. Some questions remain as regarding what tutors are doing in addressing the transition needs of secondary-aged students, the correlation between what tutors are doing and what the literature recognizes as excellent practice and the consequences of actual transition practices. While with other educational patterns, a number of transition programs are developed and put into practice with no collection of any actual data regarding the efficiency of services, with little or no effort towards program assessment and without any measure of program consequence on student results. Halpern suggests that, improved services can be offered if a set of guidelines for evaluating transition services is implemented. One approach to carry out this is to advance the amount of program assessment data gathered regarding transition services (Kellens & Morningstar, 2010)
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. A way of implying this would entail increasing the amount of quantitative data gathered on student outcomes. In addition, another approach would be to collect qualitative data on program development, accomplishment and their effects, and carry out a comparison on that data to the present theory regarding suggested excellence practices and indicators of efficient programs.
Characteristics of students with disabilities
The significance of successful transition plans for learners with so-called milder disabilities, like learning disabilities, has become more apparent as results and longitudinal studies disclose dismal post school results for these students. As individuals with learning disabilities exhibit highest rate of employment for entire disability groups, the individuals still exhibit high rates of unemployment as compared to the general population. More interests, too, are the high rates of underemployment and low incomes. According to Wagner, during five years of graduation, thirty percent of individuals with learning disabilities had been at least, arrested once. Additionally, fifty percent of individuals with learning disabilities were discovered to be parenting as compared to only twenty percent of their non-disabled age mates. Furthermore, as stated by Fair-weather and Shaver, for this kind of individuals population with above or average intellect, the rate of admission in post secondary education is relatively low. It ought to be noted that, these data are stated on individuals who exited learning institutions by graduating.
In response to the above stated and discouraging outcomes, the professional literature puts an emphasis on significance of transition planning and guidelines (Kellens & Morningstar, 2010). Research regarding the instructional domains connected to transition, the process of transition above domains and individualized education programs, and the aspects necessary to effective transition results abound. In fact, curricula pertaining to transition matters like functional skills training and career education have developed.
Needs of students
Transition services are mainly founded on the individual learner's preference, needs, and interests which can involve teacher's instruction, connected services, skills in community, establishment of employment and other post school objectives, helping with learning day-to -day living experience and functional vocational assessment. (A connected service is a supportive service that is needed to help a student to gain from his or her education. In transition plan, connected services may be important to help the learners in transition process. These services may encompass, though are not limited to, important transportation, assistant services, therapeutic recreation services, remedy counseling and social work)
For some students who fail to develop transition goals, the group can put into consideration vocational exploration services to decide if the learner will work or go for some other post school opportunities. The group should also determine whether the learner needs training in support skills so as to address disability matters with management, college staff and others (Carter et el, 2009).Transition services should be offered by individuals with knowledge, skills, experience and training, necessary to cater for the transition needs of the learners'. Service providers may comprise of job training coordinators, special education organizers, career evaluation specialists and related service personnel.
As transition is based on learner's individual needs, considering the student's interests and likes, transition services may be offered in a wide range of places (Carter et el, 2009). The services are normally offered in schools setting for students who have not yet attained sixteen years. This is due to the fact that, transition centers on course of study at such an age. Immediately the student attains sixteen years, the center of transition is on post school events and services which are more likely to be offered outside the school. For instance, a learner whose goal is to get a good job after high school may, have vocational training as part of high school (ADACO, 2002). The student can be at school in morning hours to accomplish course work and at employment site in afternoon hours. A student whose main transition goal is community involvement can also be involved in community activities as part of school day.
Literature on Drop out
The significance of high school has changed considerably over the past more than fifty years (National Center for Education Statistics, 2001). In early 1950s, the accomplishment of a high school degree was regarded an expensive asset in labor market, whilst from year 2000s, the high school degree is regarded vital for accessing further education, training or the labor force. Dropping out of school signifies a critical national and local problem. However, there are social and economic repercussions for the community at large, as well as consequences associated to the individual's wellness. For instance, the Institute for Educational Leadership stated that schools dropouts cost the nation more than fifty to two hundred and twenty billion dollars annually in well-being, lost revenue, lack of employment expenditures, violence and crime prevention. Repercussions for individual are that on average, these high school dropouts earn $6,400 less annually than high school graduates (U.S. Bureau of Census). In addition, high school dropouts tend to have limited job vacancies and are at high risk for low self-esteem.
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Though remarkable research has been conducted on key factors leading to dropping out and tactics for avoiding dropping out, majority of these researches has not particularly considered the students with disabilities. Wagner noted that, drop out research; guidelines and programming have highly overlooked the students with disabilities, possibly because their special education programs are considered to offer individualized services that ought to restructure whatever risk of dropping out the students would experience. Lack of focus to students with disabilities is fateful, because current data have approximated that the dropout rate for most students with mild disabilities, who make up the majority of students with disabilities, is estimated to be two times greater than at least that of their age mates without disabilities (Dynarski, 2001)
. Obviously, there is a serious need to examine the problem of dropping out of school for students with disabilities and who are at high risk of dropping out. Data from National Center for Education Statistics states that, in October 2000, there were more than 3.5 million aged between sixteen and twenty four years who were not admitted in any high school program or who had not accomplished high school. This accounts for approximately eleven percent of the 34.5 million individuals within this age group. Though there was a depreciation in the dropout rate since the data was first collected in early 2000s, this rate has remained moderately stable since then.
With considerations to students with disabilities, the study on dropout rates is confined. However, the facts that are available indicate that dropout rate for students with disabilities are much higher as compared to that for students without disabilities. The 23rd Annual Report to Congress (U.S. Department of Education, 2002) reported that twenty nine percent of students with disabilities aged fourteen years and above dropped out of school. Furthermore, the National Longitudinal Transition Study's data highlighted that thirty percent of students with disabilities but left school did so by dropping out. It is also crucial to mark that dropout rates vary by disability. Most students with mild disabilities, specifically those with behavior disorder and learning disabilities, have a tendency to higher dropout rates as compared to those with more critical disabilities. For instance, the 23rd Annual Report to Congress stated that, twenty seven percent of students with learning disabilities, twenty five percent of students with mental retardation and fifty one percent of students with emotional disturbance dropped out of school, whereas only twelve percent of students with sight impairments and ten percent of students with autism dropped out.
Factors contributing to school drop out
Although few empirical researches exist on school factors that may contribute to dropping out, few studies have reported that, drop out rates seem to range broadly depending on school factors. For instance, early school letdown may act as a beginning point in a series that weakens the student's attachment to school and at the end leads to dropping out. Griffin (2002) assessed students' ability to recognize with academics (that is, their self reports on the significance of academic success) proportional to their remaining in school or dropping out. Alexander and Entwisle (2001) gathered data on students in twenty Baltimore schools and their study entailed measures of socio demographic resources and risks against school risks and resources. The school variables comprised of special education services, test scores, engagement behaviors and grade retention. The findings showed that, engagement behaviors, just from first grade, opponent academic scores in forecasting upcoming dropout rates. Alexander et al also found out that, retention in grades had a strong connection to dropout, mainly when it took place at the middle school level. The findings concluded that, dropping out of high school terminates a long term procedure of disconnection from school. A similar study from Center for Social Organization of Schools at Johns Hopkins University was also carried out, the studies was on related factors contributing to dropout by marking out high schools with critical dropout issue as well as the neighborhood and cities in which they were situated (Balfanz & Legters, 2004).
The center discovered regions with high schools having very poor and weak promoting power for a total of one thousand of the nine thousand schools examined. However, poverty seemed to be the powerful associate of low promoting power, signifying fewer resources and lesser per-pupil expenses than high-promoting schools. This study marked out that in several regions, the attention of weak-promoting schools is such that, there is no choice but to go to a school where graduation is not a custom. Hence, for a number of learners, the school they go to may be the powerful contributing factor in their finishing versus dropping out of school. All schools are vigorous, self-motivated settings that can without knowing help or block students success. Therefore, the schools characteristics that influence student outcomes are essential variables to inspect. The current study examined schools attributes and student outcome data associated to dropout rates in Kentucky high schools, with an aim to make out dissimilarity between schools reporting minimum against maximum rates of student dropout. The variables that were studied entailed, school demographic and disciplinary processes, classroom guidelines and surroundings, managers characteristics and behaviors, staffs attitudes and morals and finally student's behaviors, values and characteristics. The findings indicated that, school drop out either in students with disabilities or not, may be caused by the environment, students behavior, moral and values.
A lot of research has been undertaken on the likely causes and achievable solutions to the dropout issue facing United States. Several variables projecting of school dropout have come into view from these researches, in general, they encompass minimal socioeconomic status, bad performance in schools, abusing illicit drugs, peer influence, early pregnancy, victims of failure mentality due to parents lack or low education knowledge, lack of resources and the list is endless (Scanlon & Mellard, 2002).
As only few studies have in particular considered the students with disabilities, Kortering and Haring assessed the usefulness of a linear discriminator function in making a distinction between students recognized as having learning disabilities who had been freed from school under policy indicative of graduating or dropping out. The six key variables making up the discriminator function were student's background, reading capability, family intactness, students transfer from one school to another, family socio-economic status and school-initiated disruption (Dynarski, 2001)
. The constructed discriminator function suitably classified eighty percent of most students who had dropped out and forty five percent of the students who had successfully graduated, for a general precision rate of seventy percent. The aspects that contributed mainly to the discriminator function were student's transfers, number of school-initiated disruption and family intactness. Wagner assessed the NLTS data to find out whether the risk factors disclosed for the general dropout populace also functioned to few students with disabilities who dropped out. A major finding concluded that, dropping out was as a result of a huge school performance issues. In particular, the results showed that students with maximum susceptibility to drop out were the ones with course failures and high rates of absenteeism. Also, a number of students older than their grade level friends were more likely to drop out. As consider to extracurricular activities, NLTS data had nothing to reveal on significant association between working during the previous years in school and students' being confined in school. Considerable association was found, though, for group relationship and an account of disciplinary issues. This means, students who were part of a community group or school were much less likely to be not in attendance often, scoring a failing grade and dropout (Carter et el, 2009). Nevertheless, students who had either one or more disciplinary cases, like being suspended or disqualified in the previous years, fired from a former employment or being arrested, happened to be absent considerably more frequently and were more likely to have scored a fail in their course work thus dropping out. These control variables were well thought-out to be gross indicators of the student's capabilities to fit in and put up with rules.
The study verified that a number of school distinctiveness is differentially associated to dropout rates. In addition, schools reporting minimum drop out rates varies to a great extent from schools reporting maximum dropout rates in some regions. The consequences of this study hold up the former prose on school dropout and suggest a number of new insights. Not many studies have attend to school distinctiveness that are directly associated to dropout. Though, as researchers from Johns Hopkins University found, the school that students go to may be the deciding factor on whether they graduate or drop out of school (Balfanz & Legters, 2004).
Conclusion, effects of transition
Dropping out of school is an intricate social problem for which there is no easy solution. This comprehensive study may make easy the discovery of strengths and areas for perfection for schools desire to decrease their dropout rates (Carter et el, 2009). School employees should use tactic that address the complete variety of school distinctiveness, counting; school demographics, surroundings, guiding principle and disciplinary measures; classroom setting and instruction; managers characteristics, values, attitudes and manners; staffs morals, beliefs and behaviors; and student characteristics and behaviors. while schools and school staff cannot transform the individual, family and society factors that may expose youths at risk of dropping out of school, the managers can offer protective factors that may lessen these risks by providing an optimistic and safe learning surroundings; by setting maximum, yet attainable academic and social viewpoint; and by time and again assisting academic and societal success, and hence maintaining students in school (ACE, 2001). Wide-ranging high school upgrading is required in place of fragmented efforts-for instance, having only girls or boys classes which only scratch the face of the entire problem. High school requires modifying their organizational constitution to become student-focused setting that is concerned with all students.
They need to re-evaluate the application of all educational programs to reveal students' recent and longer-term social and economic interests to repetitively support school engagement. High schools with the minimum dropout rates in the current study offered classes and school-sponsored events that were geared to the requirements and welfare of students (Lehr et el, 2003). The academic point of focus was aired out and accurate, with additional assistance for students who are in need. Tutors in LDOS expressed their interest in students and managers offered supports for tutors. School managers in LDOS recognized students who were at a possibility of dropping out; aimed interventions based on students needs and supervised their advancement. School climate and optimistic association were of high concern in LDOS and in classrooms.
Many students who are fond of supportive schools whereby managers identify their individuality, care about and support their successes have a possibility of completing high school and build doing-well transitions to adult life (Lehr et el, 2003). Thus, dropping out of learning institution is not an impetuous action, but somewhat a growing process. Ineffective school experiences like, academic failure, absenteeism, discipline problems and transfers from one school to another, build on one another to ultimately separate from the students from school (Martin et al., 2002).
From the above statements, it is evidence that, Effective transition planning can help decrease the dropout rate among high school students with disabilities. It plays a very major role in students with disabilities by helping them to realize the importance of education, self awareness, identity, to achieve goals in life and many others. Thus effective transition planning if highly embraced and improved by all means will reduce drop out rates in schools (Lehr et el, 2003).