The Secondary School Success Checklist (SSSC): A Transition Planning Tool for High School Students on the Autism Spectrum

Saturday, May 14, 2016: 2:09 PM
Room 309 (Baltimore Convention Center)
T. E. Regan1, S. Kucharczyk2, K. Hume3 and T. White1, (1)University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, (2)University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR, (3)University of North Carolina, Chapel HIll, Carrboro, NC
Background:  Post high school, students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) face a number of challenges, including lower rates of employment than graduating students with other disabilities (Shattuck et al., 2012). Effective and quality transition plans developed by high school Individualized Education Plan (IEP) teams are a contributor to positive postsecondary outcomes (Mazzotti et al., 2009). An important part of the transition planning process is using transition assessment to develop measureable postsecondary goals, transition services, and annual IEP goals (Szidon et al., 2015).  To create effective and high quality transition plans, school personnel need a psychometrically sound and efficient transition assessment that addresses challenging areas for students with ASD, identifies strengths, gathers information from multiple sources, and provides data that translate into relevant goals for the transition plan.  

Objectives: The Secondary School Success Checklist (SSSC) is a teacher-, parent-, and student-report tool designed to assess the unique skill profiles of high school students with ASD, identify priority skill targets, and compile this information across the stakeholders. Based on preliminary data from a sample of high school students with ASD, psychometric properties of the SSSC were evaluated in regard to (1)reliability of scores by assessment of internal consistency and (2)validity of scores by assessment of concurrent and criterion validity analyses. 


Development: The SSSC content and process is based on items and feedback gathered from measures already used and accepted in the field, pilot studies, focus group data across 7 stakeholder groups, and current literature. The SSSC was finalized after an 18-month development process. The SSSC was completed by 279 students, 111 staff members and 279 parents across 30 high schools as part of the Center on Secondary Education for Students with ASD, a large-scale RCT study of a comprehensive intervention model for high school students with ASD.

Data Analysis: Internal consistency reliability of each respondent version for domains and subdomains were examined by calculation of Cronbach’s alpha coefficients. Concurrent validity was assessed by examining the correlations between student, parent, and teacher measures for each SSSC domain.  Criterion validity was assessed by examining correlations between the teacher reported SSSC domain scores and the teacher completed subdomains of the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales.


1)Internal consistency was examined using Cronbach’s alpha and was at least .60 across all subdomains via student, parent, and staff reporters.

2)Concurrent validity was found to be low in student (r<.25) correlations with either parents or teachers.  Teachers and parents were moderately consistent with each other with correlations between .39 and .56.

3)Criterion validity in correlations between SSSC domains and the Vineland subdomains were consistent with a range of .40-.55 (.33-.66).  

Conclusions: Based on the preliminary psychometric data, the SSSC is reliable and collects data from students, parents, and teachers, who each contribute unique and valuable information and perspectives to the transition planning process.  The SSSC appears to be a valid tool that could be extremely useful for IEP teams seeking to develop relevant transition goals that address the postsecondary needs of high school students with ASD.