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Self-Determination and the AIR Self-Determination Assessments

Self-Determination is the foundation of all of the Zarrow Center's activities. Self-determined individuals know how to choose. From an awareness of personal and family needs, self-determined individuals choose goals and pursue those goals. This involves students asserting their presence, making their needs known, evaluating progress toward meeting their goals, adjusting their performance as needed, and creating unique approaches to solve problems using school, community, and family supports.

The American Institutes for Research (AIR), in collaboration with Teachers College, Columbia University, developed the AIR Self-Determination scale with funding from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). The AIR Self-Determination scale:

    • produces a profile of the student's level of self-determination
    • identifies areas of strength and areas needing improvement
    • identifies specific educational goals that can be incorporated into the student's IEP

    The AIR assessments measure two broad components. Capacity refers to the student's knowledge, abilities, and perceptions that enable them to be self-determined. Opportunity refers to the student's chances to use their knowledge and abilities.

    The AIR Self-Determination Scale is available for you to use, free of charge (see below). Download the manual and each scale by clicking on the links below.

    Dr. Dennis Mithaug of Teachers College, Columbia University, provided permission to make the AIR Self-Determination assessments available. Dr. Susan Palmer from the University of Kansas and OU Zarrow Center staff worked together to place the AIR assessment tools on this web page.