The Purpose of OLTS
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) of 2004 required that each state develop a State Performance Plan (SPP) to evaluate efforts to implement the legislative requirements of the act. Ohio's SPP outlines 20 target indicators with measurable goals and timelines for data collection and needed improvements. Target indicator #14 focuses on measuring the postschool outcomes of students with disabilities no longer in secondary school. The purpose of the Ohio Longitudinal Transition Study (OLTS) is to report outcomes at school exit and within one year of leaving high school. The Center for Innovation in Transition and Employment (CITE), in cooperation with Ohio's Office of Exceptional Children (OEC) and one of Ohio's former Special Education Regional Resource Centers, developed and refined a survey to collect exit and follow-up data on special education graduates. This survey served as the blueprint for how the rest of the state would collect data on their graduates. As of 2005, each school district was to collect this data 1 time every 6 years. The CITE coordinates with the OEC and Ohio's 16 regional State Support Teams to provide training; technical assistance; data analysis; and district, regional, and state reports on the outcomes of Ohio's graduates.
WHY IS OHIO CONDUCTING A LONGITUDINAL TRANSITION STUDY?
The IDEA of 1997 has stated that students with disabilities should "be prepared to lead productive, independent, adult lives, to the maximum extent possible" [20 U.S.C.Â§1400 (c) (5) (E) (ii)]. Additionally, Part D of the IDEA has required that state improvement grants: "clearly define, in measurable terms, the school and post-school results that children with disabilities are expected to achieve" [20 U.S.C.Â§1445 (a) (6) (c)].
In response to the IDEA, The Ohio Department of Education developed a strategic plan that included the goal to: "By June 2004 develop a longitudinal tracking system for students with disabilities after K-12" (Ohio Department of Education, 2000). This goal was established to assess the activities of Ohio's educational and transition services systems and to determine the support these systems should receive.
WHAT KIND OF INFORMATION WILL THIS STUDY YIELD?
1. What are the postschool outcomes of students with disabilities?
2. What transition services and programs did students use?
3. What transition services and programs predicted positive outcomes?
4. Over what time period did these outcomes occur (1, 3, and 5 years)?
5. What postschool programs and services did different types of students use?
6. What do students identify as important factors in their transition?
7. How did postschool services contribute to postschool outcomes?
8. What postschool and adult services did students use?
9. How do Ohio's postschool outcomes compare with national data?
10. What policies support transition programs identified as successful?
11. What practices and procedures maximize the use of these programs?
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF TRACKING POSTSCHOOL OUTCOMES?
- Good public relations with graduates
- Good feedback and validation for teachers
- Good data for IEP/transition planning
- Good data for school's program improvement efforts
- Financial remuneration
- Training and networking opportunities related to transition
HOW MUCH TIME DOES IT TAKE TO CONDUCT THIS STUDY AT YOUR SCHOOL?
The estimated time to conduct an exit in-school interview as part of the IEP is approximately 15-30 minutes per student (or about 25 hours for 100 students) if it is conducted as part of the IEP process. Subsequent follow-along surveys at 1 would take about 20 minutes per student.
CURRENT STATE OF THE STUDY (MARCH 2008)
- All SST's currently participating
- Over 3200 students surveyed at high school exit
- Over 700 students followed-up one year after graduation