Measurable Postsecondary Goals and Transition Assessment

Measurable Postsecondary Goals Updated Annually

Postsecondary goals will NOT be achieved during high school

Every student aged 14+ on an IEP must have measurable postsecondary goals that address two areas: education/training AND employment. Some students will have a goal that addresses a 3rd area: independent living skills (this decision is up to the IEP Team).

Characteristics of measurable postsecondary goals:

  • measurable–did the student achieve the goal or not?
  • to be achieved after leaving high school - not something the student will achieve while still in high school
  • long-term goals–measurable postsecondary goals might not be achieved for 4-5 years after leaving high school

NOTE: Measurable postsecondary goals are not to be confused with the annual IEP goals. Without measurable postsecondary goals, the Team doesn't know what to work towards. Without a target, it becomes difficult to fulfill the remaining criteria for transition planning. This is key to transition planning, requiring a shift in thinking - away from the way annual IEP goals are developed.

Shift in thinking: Measurable postsecondary goals will not be achieved during high school

IEP Teams are accustomed to developing goals that will be achieved during the IEP cycle or while the student is still in high school. The purpose of measurable postsecondary goals is for the entire team to be on the same page as to what the student's long-range goals are (what they want to be when they grow up). That way, everyone can plan for and work toward a common goal, which constitutes other facets of transition planning.

OSEP Clarification on school's responsibility for achievement of measurable postsecondary goals


  • After leaving high school, Bob will enroll in the culinary arts program at the local community college.
  • After graduation, Ben will work as a mechanic at a local car dealership.
  • After exiting high school, Annie will take the bus to and from work.


  • Beth is considering a career in photography.
  • Beth thinks she might want to work as a photographer's assistant.
  • Sarah will continue to work in the school store to improve her math skills.


National Secondary Transition and Technical Assistance Center (NSTTAC)

DESE Technical Assistance Advisory SPED 2013-1: Postsecondary Goals and Annual IEP Goals in the Transition Planning Process

Massachusetts Postsecondary Transition Planning: Goals Example Sheet

Transition Assessment

Transition assessments should be updated annually.

The measurable postsecondary goals must be based upon age-appropriate transition assessments.

There is no official definition for what a transition assessment is - it is any form of data collection that can help develop appropriate, measurable postsecondary goals or anything that can help to verify whether a measurable postsecondary goal is appropriate.

Assessments can also help a student narrow down their options.

For the purposes of transition planning, formal and/or informal assessments can be used.


  • interest inventories
  • skills inventories
  • situational assessments
  • job shadow opportunities
  • aptitude tests
  • achievement tests
  • parent interviews
  • employer recommendations
  • teacher observations
  • community college ability-to-benefit tests

It's important to remember that transition assessments should be updated annually, like the measurable postsecondary goals. That doesn't mean the student should take the same set of assessments every year, but it might be reasonable that a skills inventory given to a student in 9th grade might be revisited in the 11th grade to determine what skills the student has acquired since the initial assessment.

It's also important to note who the given assessment is normed on (or meant for). Hence, the age-appropriate descriptor.

Transition Assessment Resources: