Effective Practices 

Transition education and services should be grounded in quality research. To do so, practitioners need information on which practices and programs are effective for students and youth with disabilities.

Effective practices are teaching methods used to teach specific skills that have been shown to be effective based on high-quality research (Cook, Tankersly, & Landrum, 2009; Odom, Brantlinger, Gersten, Horner, Thompson, & Harris, 2005). They apply to secondary transition planning and instruction by:

  • Providing the best available peer-reviewed research to date that meets the criteria of scientifically-based and peer-reviewed research in secondary special education and transition;
  • Identifying effective teaching methods in secondary transition shown to help students with disabilities learn specific skills; and
  • Supporting the development of IEP goals and objectives to ensure students gain new knowledge and skills efficiently (Alverson, in press).

The operational definitions for the practices identified as of January, 2021:

Download the Effective Practices in Secondary Transition: Operational Definitions (PDF)

NTACT:C effective practices and predictors have been evaluated regarding the amount, type, and quality of the research conducted, and are labeled as listed below, and are identified throughout our site using the badges for:

  • evidence-based,
  • research-based, or
  • promising

These designations indicate the confidence one can have in the likely effectiveness of the intervention, when implemented as defined and recommended. NTACT:C recognizes that there are also practices in the field for which there is not yet evidence of effectiveness. We will continue to support practitioners to implement practices, using the best available evidence. Please see the criteria for identifying the current evidence.

Download the Effective Practices and Predictors Matrix (PDF)

Practice Descriptions and Lesson Plans are being reviewed, updated and available soon. If you need these resources, please Contact Us.


We are conducting several systematic reviews on specific transition-related practices. For each content area, we will review the research to identify predictors of successful post-school outcomes and effective practices. Results will be used to inform future research, policy, and practice. We hope you will help us identify new effective practices and predictors. For more information, contact Val Mazzotti and Dawn Rowe.

Research Types


Evidence-Based Practices

  • demonstrates a strong record of success for improving outcomes
  • uses rigorous research designs
  • adheres to indicators of quality research
More Evidence-Based Practices

Research-Based Practices

  • demonstrates a sufficient record of success for improving outcomes
  • uses rigorous research designs
  • may adhere to indicators of quality research
More Research-Based Practices

Promising Practices

  • demonstrates some success for improving outcomes
  • may use rigorous research designs
  • may adhere to indicators of quality research
More Promising Practices