Tool 4: Knowing if Your Interagency Transition Team is On-Track and Meeting its Goals
The purpose of Tool 4 is to support interagency transition teams to evaluate their effectiveness and prepare appropriate reports of their progress. Materials presented here can help teams evaluate their performance and determine their progress in achieving the goals they set out to accomplish. Materials are presented to “Check in With Team Members” and “Evaluate the Team’s Progress.” These include suggestions for Consensus Building and thoughts regarding the preparation and reasons for outside evaluation of the state interagency transition team’s progress.
A. Check In With Team Members
Does the team feel it is doing well?
Team members appreciate comments and feedback about their efforts. Effective teams do regular “process checks” to assess and discuss how well the team is working together in defining and pursuing their goals. The worksheet “Team Performance Rating Scale Assessment,” which follows at the end of this Tool, outlines dimensions interagency transition teams can consider when thinking about their process and development. This worksheet may serve as a useful starting point when team leaders or members perceive that their goals are not being met as they envisioned.
When teams have concluded that they are not doing as well as they desired, one approach is to engage in consensus-building to address specific challenges. The suggestions below can serve as general guidelines to assist teams to address issues. This is another method that incorporates Principle 3: Sharing Decision-Making, and so teams may wish to review the goals of this Principle detailed on page 10 before engaging in these tasks.
Additionally, interagency teams can consider developing operational procedures to produce “constructive conformity” regarding mechanical and administrative matters. The team first identifies the matters that can be dealt with in this way to save time and facilitate activities. The team members agree to consistently follow these procedures. The following worksheet, “Diverse Thinking ‘Hidden Squares’ Activity,” is designed to show how what seems obvious at first may not be and that team members would do well to attend to the desires, needs, and concerns of their fellow teammates.
B. Evaluate the Team’s Progress
Getting outside evaluation
Whenever an individual or a group sets priorities, it is desirable to know how effective they have been from the perspective of outside stakeholders or recipients of services. To that end, the following are some questions which might be asked of agency personnel, educators, or family members of youth with disabilities in transition about how well the interagency state transition team has met its goals and objectives. These simple questions which could be asked of such persons external to the team are found at the end of this Tool on the “Sample External Evaluation Worksheet.”
As it is important for teams to regularly collect data on all their activities and the outcomes of their efforts, using worksheets such as the one provided in this section can assist the data collection process. Gathering and analyzing data on a quarterly, semi-annual, and/or annual basis will make reporting on the interagency transition team’s progress much easier. Periodic external reviews by persons impacted by the team’s efforts (such as youth with disabilities, their parents, etc.) can be very valuable and an excellent way of applying Principle 6: Fostering Participation of People Impacted by the Team’s Actions. Also, Principle 8: Being Responsive to the Authentic (Ecological) Context is a concept that should be reviewed when planning and soliciting outside evaluation, as it reminds teams of the wealth of opportunities that they can consider when striving to reach their goals.
Preparing quality assessment reports for state review
Eventually, most states will be asked to use standards and indicators to determine if their transition programs are working and if they provide quality services. Applying the Principles of Teaming should enable interagency transition teams to be ready for this request for data.
Applying the Principles of Teaming to Tool 4
How to Apply the Principles of Teaming to Tool 4
The text above has indicated how to specifically apply these Principles:
However, as with all the tools, the nine Principles of Teaming must be woven into all the processes of an effective interagency transition team. The worksheet provided below, “Team Performance Rating Scale,” is designed to be used in a team meeting as a risk-free method for members to voice their opinions about their progress and whether they are applying all the Principles of Teaming with success. This assessment instrument specifically asks members questions that relate to every Principle. While the worksheet includes a line for team identification, the response does not need to be the member’s name or role. This line can be deleted to keep responses truly anonymous, or numbers can be assigned to each member privately so that follow-up can be done by leaders or facilitators in a one-on-one fashion, if it is more prudent to do so. The final question of this instrument prompts teams to consider whether they solved policy, procedure, and practice problems and whether they achieved the transition service outcomes they hoped the students with disabilities in transition, their families, and the agencies that work with them would all experience.
Information gleaned from this worksheet can also be added to the data interagency transition teams collect and report to states and others.
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Citation: Stodden, R. A., Brown, S. E., Galloway, L. M., Mrazek, S., & Noy, L. (2004). Essential tools: Interagency transition team development and facilitation. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, Institute on Community Integration, National Center on Secondary Education and Transition.
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This document was published by the National Center on Secondary Education and Transition (NCSET). NCSET is supported through a cooperative agreement #H326J000005 with the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. Opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the U.S. Department of Education Programs, and no official endorsement should be inferred. The University of Minnesota, the U.S. Department of Education, and the National Center on Secondary Education and Transition are equal opportunity employers and educators.