Postsecondary Education and Training
The toolkit explains the array of PSET options for young adults with disabilities after they complete high school. Just as there is a wide range of skills and needs demonstrated by individuals with disabilities, there is an array of opportunities, services, and programs in PSET settings. So, this toolkit is intended as a resource for any student with a disability, family member, service provider, or educator of a student with a disability, to consider options and plan for PSET access and success.
Postsecondary Education and Training Preparation Toolkit (Full)
Welcome to the National Technical Assistance Center on Transition’s (NTACT) Postsecondary Education and Training Preparation Toolkit. The National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (NTACT) assists State and Local Education Agencies, State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies, and local vocational rehabilitation offices in implementing programs and practices that increase the percentage of students with disabilities (a) accessing and succeeding in rigorous academic coursework and (b) accessing and succeeding in career-related curricula designed to prepare them for success in postsecondary education. To this end, the Postsecondary Education and Training (PSET) Preparation Toolkit is a compilation of procedural guidance and research regarding effective practices in this area. You may download the entire toolkit here, or access specific sections below
Section I: Rationale
More individuals with and without disabilities enroll in college today than 20 years ago. According to data from the National Center on Education Statistics (2016) there was a 42% increase in college enrollment in the United States from 1998 to 2012 with increase of 15% from 2012 – 2023. The same report indicated the largest segment of that growth was for individuals ages 18 – 24. Additionally, Black or Hispanic students are projected to experience the largest percentages of growth in college enrollment in the next several years. Finally, the report projects Associate’s degrees to be conferred at more than double the rate of Bachelor’s degrees through 2023.
Section II: What is Postsecondary Education and Training?
Many states and local districts have focused attention in the last several years on “college” readiness. Within those discussions, college readiness may be defined as having “attained the knowledge, skills, and disposition needed to succeed in credit-bearing (non-remedial) postsecondary coursework or a workforce training program in order to earn the credentials necessary to qualify for a meaningful career aligned to his or her goals and offering a competitive salary” (National Forum on Education Statistics).
Section III: What Skills Do Students Need to Succeed?
Students need to be fluent readers with proficient comprehension skills, have a mastery of written language, and be able to apply math content knowledge to a variety of scenarios to be successful, academically in college. Data from the 2017 Condition of College and Career Readiness National Report published by ACT indicated only 27% of all students tested met all four college and career readiness standards (I.e., English, Math, Reading, and Science). Additionally, other skills, named by Morningstar, Lombardi, Fowler, and Test (2015) as “academic engagement” include ability to link factual knowledge and organize concepts across content areas. Additionally, these authors also named “critical thinking” skills such as hypothesizing solutions and collecting, analyzing, and synthesizing various kinds of data as important academic skills for success in college and careers.
Section IV: How Can Students With Disabilities Plan to Access PSET?
All states provide a free, public education to all students with disabilities until graduation or age 21. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) ensures that both private and governmentfunded postsecondary programs must be accessible to individuals with disabilities; however, there are no direct services or funding for students with disabilities in conjunction with the ADA. This document, explaining Section 504 of the Americans with Disabilities Act provides clarity regarding admissions and accessibility into PSET. NTACT has developed a chart that delineates some of the differences between K-12 education and postsecondary education.
Section V: What Effective Practices and Strategies Exist to Prepare Students?
Findings from correlational research regarding outcomes for students with disabilities can provide guidance here. Teachers, students, and all members of IEP teams should focus on ensuring factors and skills correlated with postsecondary education enrollment for students with disabilities are at the core of student’s programs at least by high school. Each of the “predictors” below have been correlated with enrollment in postsecondary education. Rowe et al. (2014) conducted a Delphi study and identified operational definitions and essential characteristics of these predictors.
Section VI: What Can Be Done to Increase the Likelihood of Success Once Enrolled?
As noted in the Introduction to this resource, data indicate that college students with disabilities complete programs at rates far-below those of individuals without disabilities. Results for individuals participating in non-degree programs or employer training programs are less definitive. In the end, simply enrolling temporarily in a PSET program is not enough. Students want to participate in such programs to gain skills for future employment or better employment, to develop important life skills, and to engage in learning and living with other young adults. Ensuring that students succeed in PSET must all be important to the planning and services students engage in while in secondary school.
Section VII: What Additional Resources are There to Help Students with Disabilities Prepare for PSET?
This is an ever-expanding table of resources to external websites, checklists, and other tools.