Who benefits from. inclusion in schools

This was reported at the beginning of the month but definitely is worth a post here: An international study has found that the effects of placing children with special needs in grades K-12 into inclusive educational settings are…inconsistent.

The review, from the Campbell Collaboration, an international social science research network based in Norway, notes that its findings are similar to the results of previous systematic reviews and meta-analyses, which include studies published before 2000. “It is very unlikely that inclusion in general increases or decreases learning and psychosocial adjustment in children with special needs,” it says.

The findings point to the need for an individual assessment of the specific child’s educational and psychosocial needs rather than a one-size-fits-all approach to placement in special education, the review notes.

According to the most recent data from 2020-21 school year, writes the Hechinger Report, “two-thirds of the 7 million students with disabilities who receive special education services [in the U.S.] spent 80% or more of their time in traditional classrooms. Separation is less common today; only one out of every eight students with disabilities was taught separately in a special-needs only environment most of the time.”

Hechinger spoke with Nina Dalgaard, lead author of the Campbell Collaboration study, who noted what seems to be an obvious point: “How a school goes about including students with disabilities mattered.” For instance, students with disabilities who are in classes that have co-teachers, one of whom is trained in special education, fare better, she said.

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