As information about a student is gathered through a variety of assessments and activities, it is important to organize and maintain the information in a way that makes it useful to the student, parents and other educators. Students participate in transition related activities through general education, special education, school-to-work opportunities, or the counseling center, but the information is not maintained in one place or shared among educators. Parents may receive the information but it comes in different sections or at different time periods and they may not understand the relevance of the information.
A Transition Portfolio provides a checklist of suggested activities and important information that can be collected over time. It is a tool for documenting activities that have been completed. It is intended to be a working tool for the student, family and educators containing the information that is relevant to the student's transition plan. The transition information is separate from the student’s cumulative file or official records. The use of a portfolio can save time and duplication of effort. The consistent use of a portfolio checklist can serve multiple purposes:
· It provides a way to keep career development and transition related information in one place regardless of whether general education teachers, counselors, or special education providers gathered it.
· A portfolio helps to build a more complete picture for the student of their interests, strengths, abilities and needs.
· Students can build self-advocacy, self-determination and organizational skills by managing their own portfolio and learning the importance of the information it contains.
· When a student moves from grade to grade, or moves to another school, the portfolio can give the new teacher a record of what has been done, and what the next appropriate steps would be, avoiding duplication or missed components.
· The portfolio is useful when a student is being referred to an adult agency and documentation is required for eligibility and plan development.
· A portfolio provides a tool for accountability and can help parents to understand what is being done in school to prepare their child for adulthood and what components must still be addressed.