The Effect of Self-Determination Instruction on Students with Learning Disabilities in the IEP Transition Process

Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 1-1-2008


Campus Only

Submission Type


Degree Name



Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program for Education Leaders (IDPEL)


School of Education

Committee Chair

David F. Bateman

Committee Member

Chrisine A. Royce

Committee Member

Kimberly L. Bright

Committee Member

Mary B. Schreiner


IEP, learning disabilities, special education, transition


This study focused on eighth grade students identified with a learning disability from two separate school districts in south central Pennsylvania, and the effect learning about the Individualized Educational Program (IEP) process had on their self-determination skills. One group participated in an instructional class using the ChoiceMaker Self-Directed IEP curriculum for forty-five minutes, two times per six-day cycle, for eight weeks. The ChoiceMaker program focuses on teaching students' strategies and understanding the IEP process and goal planning. Results showed changes in student confidence in the sub-scale self-regulation and goal planning based on the ARC Self-Determination Scale. The ARC was administered to all participants at the beginning of the second marking period of their eighth grade year to determine a baseline of student self-determination. They were administered the Arc Self-Determination Scale at the end of the marking period to assess any change or the effect of the instruction. The goal of the study was to assess the students' self-determination level and ability to learn the skills needed to contribute to their IEP process; specifically the area of transition goal planning.

The experimental group had a statistically significant increase in their pre-test / post-test score on the domain two variable. The domain two variable measured sub-scale two of the ARC Self-Determination Scale which assessed self-regulation and goal planning. The nature of the ChoiceMaker Self-Directed IEP program focused instruction on goal planning and decision making. The study was successful in showing student change in a specific instructional area.

The researcher assessed one method to teach and assess an area of self-determination. As the research reflects, self-determination is a prevalent attribute in success in later life. The goal is to prepare students and school districts to better plan and develop curriculum that is focused on achieving successful transition goals that will address high school, years nine through twelve, curriculum and positively affect student outcomes after graduation.





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