Data Analysis & Use imageData Analysis & Use

Data analysis and use or “data-driven decision making” is a critical aspect of quality service provision from the student level – collecting and responding to formative and summative data and making instructional and service decisions to address strengths and needs – to the school building, agency, district and community, and state level – collecting and responding to data on the effectiveness of programs and processes to make policy, funding, and other systems level decisions.

Collecting, analyzing, and using data in meaningful ways at the student level are important aspects of Transition Planning and a critical component of efforts to increase the likelihood of Graduation. The resources located in this area of NTACT’s website are focused on systems level (schools, districts, community agencies, councils, state agencies) analysis and use of data to improve the quality of transition education and services.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) annually collects data from every State and U.S. Territory on indicators of compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, 2004) and results of program efforts. Several of these indicators relate closely to the secondary education and transition services for students with disabilities. See the Tree of Influence document, originally developed by the Western Regional Resource Center, for a visual of the relationship of Indicators. The most current guidance on this and all SPP/APR Indicators is available at A PowerPoint presentation overviewing the transition-related Indicators and their relationship is available here: Transition Indicators 101.

The State Toolkit for Examining Post-School Success (STEPSS) is a web-based data-based decision making tool designed to support state departments of education in disseminating and using data related to secondary transition (SPP Part B Indicators 1, 2, 13, and 14) to improve in-­school transition programs for youth with disabilities. STEPSS was developed by the National Post-School Outcomes Center, the National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center, and the National Dropout Prevention Center for Students with Disabilities in 2013. It continues to be updated and maintained by NTACT. A Facilitator’s Guide for using STEPSS provides additional information on STEPSS. For more information or support regarding STEPSS, please contact Charlotte Alverson,

See the Core Data Tools for Dropout Prevention

Indicator B-1is the proportion of youth with disabilities in a cohort who graduate from high school with a regular diploma within four years. An example of this calculation is shown below.

# of cohort members receiving a regular HS diploma by end of the 2012-13 school year

# of first-time 9th graders in fall 2009 (starting cohort) + transfers in – transfers out – emigrated out – deceased during school years 2009-10 through 2012-13

States are permitted to calculate extended-year cohorts that credit youth who took five or more years to graduate. If this is offered, the extended rate is calculated for all students—not just students with disabilities.

Data and performance targets for this Indicator are the same used for reporting to the Department under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Previous analysis of State performance on Indicator 1 can be reviewed in the Indicator B-1 Summary.

See the Core Data Tools for Dropout Prevention

Indicator B-2 is the proportion of students with disabilities, ages 14 – 21, who exited high school by dropping out during a particular year compared with the total number of students with disabilities who exited high school during that year. An example of this calculation is shown below.

# of youth (ages 14-21) who exited by dropping out during the 2012-13 school year

# who graduated with a regular high school diploma + received a certificate + reached maximum age + dropped out + deceased during the 2012-13 school year

The data used for this Indicator are the same as reported under Section 618. In recent years, states have been allowed to report their dropout rates using whatever rate they had previously been using. In years past, the majority of states have reported an event rate (single year proportion), followed in frequency by adjusted cohort rates (similar in nature to the graduation rate calculation), the above described OSEP exiter rate, and other leaver/cohort type rates. Previous analysis of State performance on Indicator 1 can be reviewed in the Indicator B-2 Summary.

Indicator B-13 is  the “percent of youth with IEPs aged 16 and above with an IEP that includes appropriate measurable postsecondary goals that are annually updated and based upon an age appropriate transition assessment, transition services, including courses of study, that will reasonably enable the student to meet those postsecondary goals, and annual IEP goals related to the student's transition services needs. There also must be evidence that the student was invited to the IEP Team meeting where transition services are to be discussed and evidence that, if appropriate, a representative of any participating agency was invited to the IEP Team meeting with the prior consent of the parent or student who has reached the age of majority." (20 U.S.C. 1416(a)(3)(B)). The most recent analysis of State performance on Indicator can be reviewed in the Final Indicator 13 Report.

The National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center (NSTTAC) developed an Indicator Checklist, in consultation with the OSEP in 2006 and updated it in 2009 and 2012. This checklist is not required, but offers states and districts an OSEP-approved resource for data collection and use.

Indicator 13 Checklist Form A

This form is designed to meet the minimum requirements for collecting and reporting data on Indicator 13 of the Part B State Performance Plan and Annual Performance Report. It allows a school, district, or state to review the data for each item simultaneously across all postsecondary goal areas.

Indicator 13 Checklist Form B


This multiple column form meets the requirements for collecting and reporting data on Indicator 13, allows a school, district, or state to more deeply analyze professional development and program change needs by providing data on each item for each postsecondary goal area.

Sample Completed Indicator 13 Checklist

Student Case Study Examples & Non-Examples


Indicator B-14 are the data collected regarding the percent of youth who are no longer in secondary school, had IEPs in effect at the time they left school and were: (a) enrolled in higher education within one year of leaving high school, (b) enrolled in higher education or competitively employed within one year of leaving high school, or (c) enrolled in higher education or some other postsecondary education or training program; or competitively employed or in some other employment within one year of leaving high school.” (20 U.S.C. 1416(a)(3)(B))

What is Indicator 14?

Resources for Collecting Indicator 14 Data

Resources for Analyzing and Using Indicator 14 Data

The State Systemic Improvement Plan (Indicator Part B-17 of the SPP/APR)  is “a comprehensive, ambitious, yet achievable multi-year plan for improving results for children with disabilities” and consists of three phases, beginning with the identification of a State Identified Measurable Result (SIMR), submitted to OSEP in April, 2015. NTACT is partnering with the National Center on Systemic Improvement Website for NCSI and the IDEA Data Center Website for IDC to assist States as they select and initially implement improvement activities and develop evaluation plans in phases 2 and 3 of the SSIP. Specifically, NTACT will assist States focused on Graduation or Post-School Outcomes as their SIMR and participate in NCSI's Graduation and Post-School Outcomes State Learning Collaborative. For specific guidance and assistance from NTACT, please contact us For more information about the SSIP from OSEP, visit


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