Research has shown that youth ages 18–22 with intellectual disabilities and autism are less likely than students with other disabilities to go to college. Although these youth may benefit from inclusive concurrent enrollment programs, which provide transition services on college campuses instead of in high schools, little is known about the impact of these programs on students’ career goals, self-determination, continued higher education, or employment.
EDC is evaluating the Think College Transition (TCT) Model, an inclusive concurrent enrollment program that is being implemented at Westfield State University and Holyoke Community College in Massachusetts. EDC’s evaluation is an important step toward providing evidence of the impact of opening doors to higher education for students with intellectual disabilities and autism.
The TCT Model includes access to inclusive higher education, internships, work opportunities, and person-centered planning to build self-determination for students with intellectual disabilities and autism. EDC’s evaluation of the model includes the following activities:
- Modify and/or develop instruments to measure self-determination, job-seeking and self-efficacy skills, and career maturity
- Administer surveys and conduct interviews with participating students and a comparable group of students who are receiving other transition services
- Evaluate the impact of the program on the growth in self-determination, job-seeking skills, career maturity, and self-efficacy skills of participating students
- Evaluate the impact of the program on the higher education and work statuses of participating students
The results of EDC’s evaluation may help more colleges build effective, evidence-based programs for students with disabilities and autism.
Institute for Community Inclusion, University of Massachusetts Boston