Date of Award
Program or Major
Doctor of Philosophy
Two recent movements have occurred in the name of equality of opportunity in a democratic America: the Disabilities Movement in higher education where increasing numbers of students with disabilities are enrolling in college; and the Self-Determination Movement (Wehmeyer, 2000; Ward & Meyer, Fall, 99) as it relates to transition initiatives and positive adult outcomes for individuals with disabilities. To date, the Self-Determination Movement has made few in-roads into higher education, and a relationship between the success of college students with disabilities and self-determination remains largely untested.
The purpose of this study was to investigate a possible relationship between post-secondary success outcomes and self-determination. Data were collected from students who enrolled in an open access two-year college. A two-phase quantitative/qualitative design attempted to answer: (1) What is the relationship between the success outcomes of college students with disabilities and self-determination? (2) How do students with higher and lesser degrees of self-determination understand and describe the outcomes of their post-secondary experience?
In the quantitative phase, the ARC Self-Determination Scale (Wehmeyer, 1995), and Demographic and Outcomes Survey (researcher developed) were administered to willing participants who disclosed a disability between Spring, 1993--Fall, 2000. The data revealed that students with positive success outcomes (retention, GPA, and employment, if not enrolled) had higher degrees of self-determination than those with less positive outcomes.
In the qualitative phase, follow-up interviews were conducted with four willing participants selected from the quantitative phase. Profiles were crafted and analyzed within the construct of Wehmeyer's framework of self-determination. Analysis revealed that the two students who described more positive post-secondary outcomes also detailed highly self-determined behavior. Conversely, the two students who described negative post-secondary outcomes, described relatively low self-determined behavior.
Integrated data analysis showed complementarity of results (Greene, Caracelli & Graham, 1989); the interview participants who had higher self-determination scores on the Arc Scale described highly self-determining behaviors, and the two students with low self-determination scores described low self-determining behavior within Wehmeyer's framework.
Recommendations for practitioners and future research that reflect the depth and breadth of knowledge gained from this two-phase design are included in the last chapter.
Jameson, Deborah Russo, "Self -determination and success outcomes of two -year college students with disabilities: An integration of quantitative and qualitative approaches" (2002). Doctoral Dissertations. 69.