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What is an Exit Summary?

The Student Exit Summary is meant to provide a written overview of the student’s academic achievement and functional performance.  
The Student Exit Summary should be completed during the final year of high school, but must be completed and provided to the student before graduation. It should also reflect the student’s strengths, limitations, needs & skills.
It should include recommendations for continued support and skill development
as the student transitions from high school to his/her post-secondary goals.

Every student receiving Special Education services leaving school with one of the following will receive an exit summary:


  • Diploma   

  • Skills and Achievement Commencement Credential (SACC)

  • Career Development and Occupational Studies (CDOS)

  • High School Equivalency Diploma (TASC)

The team preparing the Student Exit Summary should be made up of individuals who know the student’s skills, strengths, limitations, needs, interests and goals.  These team members should have a relationship with the student, everyone’s input is important!  An example of team members would be:

  • The Student (this is about them!)

  • Family

  • Special Education Teacher

  • General Education Teacher

  • Guidance Counselor

  • School Psychologist

  • Related Service Providers

  • Adult Service Providers (if appropriate)

How can the Student Exit Summary help the student in post high school settings, the workplace, or community?

  • Summarizes skills and strengths

  • Summarizes limitations and needs for supports and services

  • Provides strategies to help the student continue to be successful in their goals

  • Provides documentation to help determine eligibility for adult vocational rehabilitation services

  • Could be used as documentation for financial benefits

  • Helpful for residential placements

  • Lists accommodations needed in college and/or workplace

Academic achievement and functional performance should show the student’s current level of performance, strengths, abilities, interests and needs in subject (i.e math, reading) and skill (i.e. advocacy, technology) areas. Other areas that should be looked at include, but are not limited to:

  • Activities of daily living

    • Personal care

    • Managing resources

  • Intellectual functioning

    • The student’s problem-solving ability

    • The student’s attention/memory

  • Adaptive behavior

    • How the student copes with demands

    • How the student makes decisions

    • Learning style

    • How the student learns best

    • How long it takes for the student to learn new skills/information

When developing the student exit summary there are also considerations in the areas of  skills and needs. Below are some possible areas that should be considered for both current skills and present needs.

  • Academic

    • Reading, writing, math, etc.

    • Learning new tasks

  • Problem solving

    • General and specific situations

    • Making decisions

  • Communication

    • Ability to make needs known

    • Preferred method of communication

  • Transportation

    • Ability to get around the community

    • Personal Management

    • Identifying accommodations/supports

    • Managing finances

Along with the academic and functioning skills/needs, other areas that should be looked at are:

  • Social Development

    • Student’s relationships with others

    • Feelings about themselves

    • Interpersonal skills/needs

    • Self-advocacy skills/needs

  • Physical development

    • Overall health

    • Limitations

    • Personal management

    • Independent living skills/needs

The last part of the student exit summary is the recommendation section. Recommendations should help the student and family when transitioning to the adult world to ensure continued skill development and goal achievement. Some possible recommendations could include:

  • Supports and accommodations that were helpful with success in school/community

    • e.g. benefits from extended time on tasks to allow time to process the information and determine the best way to complete the job.

  • Types of supports that may be available from adult service providers

    • e.g. continue to work with a Job Coach to help develop work skills.|

  • The intended goal and the student’s needs and functional limitations that will need to be worked on to achieve those goals

    • e.g. wanting to work in retail but needs to continue developing ability to clearly communicate with the customers.

The Student Exit Summary should provide information that is relevant to the student’s Post-Secondary Goals. The information should provide guidance to the student/family, post-secondary education and/or training, employment and/or independent living environments. The student’s goals should reflect their skills and abilities while helping show the supports that may be helpful to continue skills development and goal achievement.

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