Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Arc's Self-Determination Scale

The purpose of converting this assessment is to increase use through efficiency. Michael L. Wehmeyer, PhD, from the University of Kansas granted permission to convert the assessment to a Google Doc Format. The Arc's Self-Determination Procedural Guideline by Wehmeyer is a must read for all who believe that self determination is as important if not more important than the traditional “core” academic disciplines such as reading. The guide not only describes how the scale should be used, it provides evidence that all people can be self-determined and stresses the importance of self determination for both productivity and happiness.
The scale was developed following a comprehensive evaluation of the self- determination of more than 400 adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The scale is measure of self-determination designed for use by adolescents with disabilities, particularly students with mild intellectual and learning disabilities, therefore, it was designed to empower students to become more self- determined by providing a vehicle by which they can self-report with appropriate supports and accommodations. It is extremely important that their answers not be influenced and/or judged by the administrator of the assessment.
While the assessment produces a scores in comparison to a normed sample which is attractive for reporting in Individual Education Plans and justifying and/or guiding services, Dr. Wehmeyer emphasizes that “no assumption about a “normal” or “expected” amount of self- determination” should be made based on the results of the assessment. Wehmeyer touches on a theme that I have discussed in previous blogs that often the process of the assessment is as important as the results of the assessment. In the procedural guide he writes “students could work collaboratively with the teacher to score the assessment (because of the need to make the assessment usable as a research tool, its scoring is most likely too complex for self-scoring) and discuss the outcomes, both in comparison with data from the Scale norms and looking at individual student strengths and areas of need.”

You must make a copy of the following spreadsheets (the associated forms will follow) as you will need to be able to copy the formulas to the next row after the results for each student are entered.

The following steps should be followed in using the assessment:

Step 2: Administer the Arc Self-Determination Scale. The guide states that depending on needed accommodations and supports it can be administered to up to fifteen students at one time. However, the flexibility of the google form will allow it to be delivered more frequently under more environments.

Step 3: Open the data associated with the Arc Self-Determination Scale and complete Scoring Steps 1-2 and Interpretation. You will need to copy and paste the formulas to the next row for each new student.

Step 4: Open the data associated with Scoring Steps 1-2 and Interpretation and complete ARC Scoring Steps 3-5. You will need to copy and paste the formulas to the next row for each new student.

Step 5: Download ARC Scoring Steps 3-5 data as a spreadsheet and create graphs for Norm Sample and Positive Scores. It appears that you can create graphs in google docs but I experienced difficulty and found it easier to download and create graphs in Open Office. Update 6/20/2011 - Using Google Chrome I was able to produce graphs that are attached to ARC Scoring Steps 3-5 .  The graphs will update as you add students.

If you find any errors or have suggestions for improvement please contact me at