Date of Award

Spring 5-17-2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Education & Educational Psychology

First Advisor

Pauline E. Goolkasian, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Marcia A. B. Delcourt, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Kelly Clark, Ph.D.


This study was designed to understand the factors that influence educators’ perspectives and amount of instruction of student self-determination skills. A mixed methods correlational survey design was utilized to study these factors. The primary research question was “To what degree and in what manner do primary assignment, years of experience, and educators’ ratings of importance of each component of self-determination predict educators’ total mean self-reported amount of instruction of the components of self-determination?” Quantitative analyses revealed three significant results. For Research Question One, a stepwise multiple regression for predictor variables of ratings of importance found three variables that predicted the total mean self-reported amount of instruction: (a) rating of importance of goal-setting and attainment, (b) rating of importance of choice-making, and (c) rating of importance of self-awareness and self- knowledge. The total variance explained by the model was 21.4%. For Research Question Two, correlation coefficients were conducted to test the relationship between ratings of importance, self-reported amounts of instruction and the sum of number of sources of knowledge of self- determination. Of the 136 correlations, 39 showed strong, positive correlations, 46 showed moderate, positive correlations, and 40 showed weak, positive correlations. For Research Question Three, MANOVA analyses revealed a statistically significant difference between educators working in general education, special education, and related services on the dependent variables of total mean self-reported amount of instruction and mean rating of importance. Special educators (M = 5.17) rated the components of self-determination as significantly more important than general educators (M = 4.92). Related service personnel (M = 4.85) provided instruction in the components of self-determination significantly more often than general (M = 4.20) or special educators (M = 4.45). Research Question Four was used to analyze the responses to five open-response questions and included exploratory analyses. As reflected in their definitions and identified important components of self-determination, the emergent theme of perseverance was identified with much more frequency than the essential characteristics or component behaviors of self-determination. Overall, educators differed on their amount of instruction and ratings of importance of self-determination based on role. They reported they had familiarity with self-determination and identified that it was important, but less than half of the educators believed that schools and educators support instruction in self-determination, and their definitions of self-determination did not strongly align with the operationalized definition of self-determination that supports instruction.