Gauging the Impact of Discovery on the Self-Determination of Youth with Developmental Disabilities
Tammy Jorgensen Smith, Ph.D.; Christina J. Dillahunt-Aspillaga, Ph.D.

Transition experts agree that meaningful assessment should guide the development and delivery of transition planning and services. Naturalistic assessments, such as Discovery, add an important dimension to transition planning by providing important information about students with complex disabilities, including those who are unable to participate in traditional testing. The purpose of this article is to present findings of a study conducted to gather preliminary data on the impact of the Discovery assessment on self-determination levels in youth with developmental disabilities. Pretest/posttest intervention data were collected and analyzed to assess changes in total self-determination scores and the associated domain areas of autonomy, self-regulation, psychological empowerment, and self-realization. Findings suggest that the Discovery intervention has a significant impact on total self-determination levels with increased scores in 75 percent of student participants. Implications for future research and practice are presented.

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