Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)


Special Education and Rehabilitation

Committee Chair(s)

Robert L. Morgan


Robert L. Morgan


Marilyn Likins


Kathleen Oertle


Learning self-determination skills is critical for all students to ensure they advocate for themselves and participate in a seamless transition from the secondary school setting to college and career. This quantitative study surveyed 224 general education, 37 mild/moderate special education, 10 severe special education, 28 alternative high general educators, 5 alternative high special educators, 3 transition special educators’ mild/moderate, and 8 special education severe teachers in a suburban school district in the western US. A rating scale and open-ended questions were used to assess the degree to which teachers provide students with instruction and require students to demonstrate self-determination/self-advocacy skills. A rating scale was used to determine the extent to which teachers use essential program characteristics. Teachers selected (a) strategies, (b) measurements of progress, and (c) curricula they used to teach self-determination. Findings demonstrated that teacher’s valued and taught self-determination/self-advocacy skills within their curriculum. However, teachers used their own teacher-developed strategies and curricula rather than evidence-based strategies. The author discusses using essential program characteristics, multidisciplinary teams, and systematic procedures to address areas to strengthen within departments and across curriculum.