Summer Diagnostic Program

Some secondary students with special needs can benefit from a more detailed diagnostic evaluation as they consider their transition goals and plans. Orchard Academy offers a six-week (Monday thru Thursday; 8:30am until 1:30pm) Diagnostic Assessment Program each summer (June/July period). Students are assessed via formal and informal evaluation focusing on readiness for employment, higher education, job skills training and independent living skills. Diagnostic assessments provide early indicators of a student’s preparedness while helping to identify appropriate activities that allow her/him to meet short-term classroom goals while beginning to address longer-term transition issues. The completed diagnostic assessment is shared with parents and the home school district so that both can work together to set the stage for student success.


Orchard Academy uses a four-step process called the Assess, Plan, Instruct and Evaluate (APIE) model for transition assessment. The curriculum is based on best practices researched and defined by the National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center. The assessment is based on direct daily observation of a variety of activities, interest inventories, situation analyses and personality/behaviors, along with standardized aptitude testing. Job site visits, training and skills evaluation help to determine when and in what context a student is able to work.

Final assessment includes:

Preparation for Employment

  • Career interest inventory
  • Situational assessment
  • Career exploration results
  • Leadership self-assessment
  • Soft skills

Higher Education

  • Learning style inventory
  • Academic assessment
  • Technology proficiency
  • Financial literacy

Job Training

  • Aptitude
  • Job task analysis
  • Food sanitation certification
  • Clerical
  • Self-determination

Independent Living

  • Life skills
  • Social skills
  • Community-based knowledge
  • Transportation/mobility skills
  • Social communication skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Self-advocacy