Increasing Self-Determination: Teaching Students to Plan, Work, Evaluate, and Adjust


The article describes a study, in which systems were put into place, including self-determination contracts, to assist secondary-age students in their studies by using self-regulation. The study yielded positive results. The overall takeaway of the study was that the students' increased control over the small adjustments in their lives translated to increased learning.

Martin, James E., Dennis E. Mithaug, Phil Cox, Lori Y. Peterson, Jamie L. Van Dyck, Mary E. Cash
Publication Date: 
Summer 2003
Exceptional Children
James E. Martin, Increasing Self-Determination: Teaching Students to Plan, Work, Evaluate, and Adjust, 69 Exceptional Children 431 (2003).
Document Type: 
Region of Influence: 
A study was conducted to determine if secondary-age students could use self-determination contracts to regulate the correspondence between their plans, work, self-evaluations, and adjustments on academic tasks. The authors examined the impact of these contracts on the plan, work, evaluation, and adjustment behaviors of 8 secondary-age students with severe emotional/behavioral problems. The students completed daily self-determination contracts to schedule their work on academic tasks, plan for work outcomes, evaluate progress, and adjust for the next day's activity. One-way repeated-measures (ANOVAs) yielded 15 significant effects for the correspondence between plan and work, between work and evaluation, between evaluation and adjustment, and between adjustment and the next day plan. Pre- and postassessment found significant academic improvement.