Raasch, J. L. (2017). Survey of self-determination constructs in higher education students with disabilities and campus service improvements (Publication No. 10641350) [Doctoral dissertation, Clemson University]. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global. https://www.proquest.com/docview/2101376719
Clemson University (Clemson, SC); ProQuest document ID: 2101376719; also accessible on Clemson website at https://tigerprints.clemson.edu/all_dissertations/2052/
Accommodations were not specified at the outset of this investigation; factors associated with the development of self-determination and self-advocacy skills for postsecondary students with disabilities were explored, and their access to academic accommodations was examined.
A total of 89 students with disabilities responded to and completed a survey. These students self-selected from among 1,210 students registered with the office of student disability support services at their public university in a southeastern state (U.S.). Demographic data such as age and race/ethnicity were collected. Other data such as course grade point averages (GPAs) were also reported. Respondents were enrolled in their first, second, third, or fourth or more years of their academic programs; respondents' survey data were compared by their academic years of enrollment. Respondents' disabilities included: attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), 44%; learning disabilities (LD), 17%; medical disability including traumatic brain injury (TBI), 17%; mental health condition, 14%; physical or mobility disabilities, 5%; autism, 2%; and other, 1%. The university's academic programs and its student population during the 2016–2017 academic year were described.
The American Institutes for Research (AIR) Self-Determination Scale, Student Form (AIR-S; Wolman et al., 1994), consisting of 24 items, measured knowledge and skills that were components of self-determination. The survey items included closed-ended items requesting ratings of degree of agreement with statements, and open-ended items seeking details on their perspectives on factors associated with self-advocacy actions. The possible self-determination scores ranged 0–120; 84 points marked the 80% level. Data analysis were completed to distinguish whether there were scoring patterns by academic year of enrollment, and whether—and which—factors were associated with their self-determination levels.
Respondents scored in the range of 59–120 on the Self-Determination Scale (AIR-S). A total of 68% of respondents scored at a self-determination level of 80% or higher, and the other 32% of respondents (n=29) scored below this level, with 4% in their first year, 9% in their second year, 8% in their third year, and 12% in their fourth year. No significant differences in self-determination levels were found based on academic year of enrollment. However, respondents with medical disability including traumatic brain injury (TBI) scored higher, to a statistically significant degree, than each of five other disability groups: ADHD/ADD, Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing, learning disabilities, mental health conditions, and autism. Respondents with higher AIR-S scores indicated more usage of campus resources. In their open-ended responses, respondents reported that they valued informal tutoring support with off-campus resources, like friends or family. Students also indicated that meeting with faculty and library campus resources were useful. These resources were more frequently accessed than were formal tutoring, assistance with writing, student success workshops, and assistive technology.