Special Education M.A.

Number of Pages


Year Approved


First Advisor

Mignard, Michael

Second Reader

Susan Larson


This study reviews the literature pertaining to post-school outcomes for students with disabilities in light of the IDEA mandate. It includes research into which skills students need, which are most lacking, and how to transfer these skills to students while they remain in the confines of the high school environment. Multiple studies have demonstrated that in spite of the IDEA mandate and despite attempts to address disparities, students with disabilities continue to lag behind their neurotypical peers across all areas of transition which includes those outcomes related to post-secondary education, employment and independent living. The studies reviewed further indicate that many special education teachers are leaving the field due to stress and the overwhelming nature of their many and varied responsibilities. For this reason, it is important to determine appropriate means of addressing transition skills deficits in students with disabilities while also doing so in a way that does not further burden special education teachers, but rather equips them to meet the needs of students by working smarter. Multiple studies are reviewed addressing post-secondary readiness skills, many of which have made clear that students across all disability categories are lacking in self-determination skills which are critical to post-school success regardless of post-secondary aspirations. The Self-Determined Learning Model of Instruction (SDLMI) is an evidence based practice designed, not as a curriculum, but as a means to help teachers transfer the development of key self-determination skills in students through a three phase, student directed, process: setting a goal; developing a plan; reflecting on progress and re-evaluating the goal and plan based on lessons learned.

Degree Name

Special Education M.A.

Document Type

Masterʼs thesis