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Transition Assessment & Goal Generator - Project Overview

A Project To Develop a New Transition Assessment

Funded by a grant from the U.S. Dept. of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Special Eduction Research (7/2010 - 6/2014)

Numerous research studies have identified student behaviors and skills associated with post-high school success, which we used to develop the Transition Assessment Goal Generator (TAGG). The TAGG provides IEP teams a means to meet IDEA 2004’s requirement that transition assessments be used to identify annual transition goals. The TAGG identifies behaviors that students need to learn to increase their likelihood of postschool success. Over the first three years of the TAGG project, we have undertaken studies to determine the construct validity, reliability, and concurrent validity, and are currently analyzing the TAGG’s ability to predict positive school and postschool outcomes. The finished TAGG will have professional, student, and parent versions that will identify prioritized behaviors that IEP teams may use to establish annual transition goals. When these goals are attained, we believe students' likelihood for postschool success will be increased. 

Participants and Settings.  Transition education professionals, students with mild to moderate disabilities, and their parents in 38 states assisted in Phases I, II, and III of development of this new assessment tool. Randomly selected educators in these states who were involved with the National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center’s (NSTTAC) state capacity building efforts to improve transition education practices were asked to participate in developing the TAGG. More than 700 educators, students, and parents from these states assisted in cluster and item development in Phases I and II.  A total of 4,250 educators, parents, and students from across the nation will participate during Phases III, IV, and V to provide further validity for the TAGG and identify the extent items and clusters of items predict postschool success.

Research Method. During Phase I, 700 participants completed the TAGG. Confirmatory factor analytic (CFA) techniques were used to establish construct validity of the three TAGG versions. During Phase II, more than 600 participants completed revised versions of the TAGG, using the same procedures as Phase I, and we again undertook CFA and examined the similarity of the factor structures to those established from Phase I analysis. During Phases III, IV, and V approximately 4,250 national participants will complete the three TAGG versions to (a) examine the similarity of factor structures to the AIR Self-Determination Assessment, (b) establish the internal consistency and reliability of scores via Cronbach’s alpha, (c) determine the inter-rater agreement of scores across the three TAGG versions, (d) assess the extent to which the factors of the TAGG predict school and postschool outcomes, and (e) eliminate factors that do not contribute to predictive validity. Starting with Phase III, students will be followed through high school and at least one year after graduation.

Data Analysis. During Phases I and II, CFA procedures were used to determine items that contribute to the factors assessed using the TAGG. During Phase III, correlations will be analyzed between the factors of the TAGG and the AIR Self-Determination Assessment. During Phases III, IV, and V, correlation coefficients will be investigated to determine the degree of test-retest reliability and inter-rater agreement. Multivariate regression analyses will be used to assess predictive validity. Hierarchical linear modeling will also be used to conduct cluster evaluation.

Project Staff

Principle Investigator: James Martin, Ph.D.

Co-Principle Investigator: Maeghan Hennessey, Ph.D.

Assessment and Statistical Consultant: Robert Terry, Ph.D.

Project Coordinator: Amber McConnell, Ph.D.

Graduate Research Assistants: Jennifer Burnes & Jason Herron

Managerial Associate: Linda Gill

Administrative Assistant: Donna Willis


Contact if you have questions about the TAGG study or feedback about your TAGG experience.