Preparing for Life After High School: The Characteristics and Experiences of Youth in Special Education, Volume 3: Comparisons Over Time

Albert Y. Liu, Johanna Lacoe, Stephen Lipscomb, Josh Haimson, David R Johnson PhD, Martha L Thurlow


A report from the National Longitudinal Transition Study 2012 (NLTS 2012); two earlier reports, Volumes 1 and 2, also relate to this study. The NLTS 2012, which is part of the congressionally-mandated National Assessment of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004, is based at Mathematica Policy Research, and the research team for the study consisted of key staff from Mathematica and from the Institute on Community Integration. Published by the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, the report provides a national picture of secondary school students in special education and how they compare with their peers. The report shows that during the decade of 2003-2012), high school youth participating in special education became more engaged in school and increased their use of school supports. At the same time, these youth, required under IDEA to have an individualized education program (IEP), are less likely than in the past to take some key steps to prepare for their transition to adult life. Among students with an IEP, youth with emotional disturbance or an intellectual disability experienced more positive changes over the past decade than youth in other disability groups.


Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education
Institute on Community Integration, University of Minnesota


  • Education practices (K12 and transition)
    • Dropout prevention and student engagement
    • Transition planning
    • IEP development
  • Specific life stage
    • Adolescents and young adults
  • Employment and postsecondary education
    • Career preparation
    • Preparing for postsecondary education
  • Educational accountability and assessment
    • IDEA
    • Students with Disabilities
  • Specific disability
    • Emotional/behavioral disorder (EBD)
    • Intellectual/developmental disability (IDD)