Preparing Youth in Special Education for Life After High School (Fact Sheet)

Publisher: Washington, DC: Mathematica Policy Research
Feb 07, 2018
Johanna Lacoe, Stephen Lipscomb, and Joshua Haimson
  • In the past decade, youth with an IEP have become more engaged in school and extracurricular activities, but there was little change in grade retention, suspensions, and expulsions.
  • Participation in some key transition activities declined including whether youth and parents have discussed transition plans with school staff and student employment during high school.
  • Youth with an IEP are more likely than a decade ago to live in households that face economic challenges.
  • Youth with an IEP are more likely than in the past to receive supports at school but less likely to get them at home.

Over the past decade (2003–2012), high school youth participating in special education became more engaged in school and increased their use of school supports. At the same time, these youth, required under IDEA to have an individualized education program (IEP), are less likely than in the past to take some key steps to prepare for their transition to adult life. Among students with an IEP, youth with emotional disturbance or an intellectual disability experienced more positive changes over the past decade than youth in other disability groups.


National Longitudinal Transition Study 2012


U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences

Time Frame


Senior Staff

Joshua Haimson
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Stephen Lipscomb
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