Special education: does it help? A study of special education in Norwegian upper secondary schoolsMay 3 2013
In 1994 a comprehensive reform of upper secondary education was introduced in Norway, giving all 16-year-olds—including SEN students—a statutory right to enter upper secondary. In a longitudinal study following a representative group of SEN students through upper secondary from 1994 until 1999, the main findings were: (1) SEN students in special classes appear to achieve a lower level of success—measured by achievement of formal competence—than SEN students in ordinary classes, all other things being equal; and (2) an increase in the amount of special education for SEN students in ordinary classes appears to have a negative effect on the achievement of formal competence, all other things being equal. Following these findings, it may be concluded that special education in Norwegian upper secondary does not seem to fulfil its own ambition of reducing differences.