Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Special Education

First Committee Member

Susan P. Miller, Chair

Second Committee Member

Tom Pierce

Third Committee Member

Kristen Sayeski

Graduate Faculty Representative

Richard Tandy

Number of Pages



For almost two decades, research efforts specific to self-determination have resulted in the development of curricula, assessments, instructional strategies, interventions, model programs, and proposed quality indicators (Field et al., 1998). Despite the combined efforts and perceptions of researchers, teachers, parents, employers, and college disability service providers related to these important aspects of self-determination research, limited attention has been devoted to understanding the perceptions of self-determination from secondary students with and without disabilities and their general and special education teachers.

The purpose of this study was to investigate teacher and student perceptions related to self-determination. Teacher perceptions were measured with the Self-Determination Teacher Perception Scale (Hoffman, Field, & Sawilowsky, 2004). Student Perceptions were measured with the Self-Determination Student Scale (Hoffman, Field, & Sawilowsky, 2004). Perceptions from students with disabilities were compared to the perceptions of their general and special education teachers. Results of the chi-square test of independence indicate students and teachers disagree about the students' self-determination skills, behaviors, and attitudes. In addition, the perceptions related to self-determination abilities of eighth grade students with disabilities were compared to the perceptions of eighth grade students without disabilities. Results of the independent t-test indicate no significant difference of perceptions between these two student groups. Finally, special and general education co-teachers' perceptions about students' self-determination skills, attitudes, and behaviors were compared. Results of the dependent t-test indicate no significant difference between general and special education teachers' perceptions about their shared eighth grade students with disabilities.

Students with disabilities now receive instruction in general education classes for much, if not all, of the school day. Co-teaching models have emerged to help teachers meet the needs of all students within the general education classroom. Thus, it is important for co-teachers to explore their own as well as their students' perceptions related to self-determination to assist in planning appropriate instruction for this area of the curriculum.


Autonomy (Psychology); Children with disabilities--Education (Secondary); Special education;Students with disabilities; Teachers of children with disabilities


Child Psychology | Disability and Equity in Education | Special Education and Teaching

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




Best copy available

Signatures have been redacted for privacy and security measures.


IN COPYRIGHT. For more information about this rights statement, please visit