Special Education Support in Schools: Effects and Consequences - STOFF

Research project
Inactive research
Project period
2008 - 2010
Project owner
The Department of Education and Special Education, University of Gothenburg

The Swedish Research Council

Short description

The starting point for the project is that Sweden is expected to have "a school for all". These are the clear intentions that are reflected in both educational policy decisions and the documents in force and for future teacher education. However, there are many indications that the intentions were not implemented as planned. All pupils' equivalence and right to learn from their own conditions, experiences and needs do not meet in the pedagogical everyday work. The overall objective of the project is to study the factors related to special education support measures that are most important for inclusive and exclusion processes and differentiation needs in school education.

About the project

Studies show that the effects of integrated special education support measures are influenced by the models of resource allocation that have been used and how specific needs have been defined and / or diagnosed. Since it is difficult to find educational or organizational features that distinguish in a simple and unambiguous way special education from ordinary education, with or without integrated forms of support, it is also difficult to find reliable and sufficiently detailed statistics on the extent and cost of special education. This applies both nationally and internationally.

Specific objectives

The specific objectives of the project are to:

a) chart the scope and forms of special education support as well as what pupils receive such education;

b) study the effects of special education with particular focus on the effects of different forms of special education support on goal achievement in the 9th grade of primary education, choice of secondary education and further studies in upper secondary school, as well as pupils motivation, self-perception and attitudes towards the school.

Planned studies

The planned studies will be conducted within the framework of the ETF project (Evaluation Through Follow-up) and based on data contained within The Gothenburg Educational Database (GOLD). ETF is a longitudinal project based on national representative samples of pupils that, since the beginning of the 1960s, in collaboration with SCB conducted eight follow-up studies in the school system starting in elementary school year 3. In the project, data from 5 cohorts of students will be used. Two cohorts have experience of the relative rating system and formal differentiation in special and general courses based on permanent leveling. Three others have experienced the goal-related rating system and the changes that the decentralization of the school led to in the early 1990s.

This makes it possible to study changes in the field of integrated special education support measures and their effects over a period of thirty years, which can lead to increased knowledge of how the school can provide specific support for pupils in need of such. In addition, consequences of how such support can be given in more or less integrated forms can be studied. The data can also be used to problematize teacher education and the unclear role of special educators.


However, in GOLD, there is no precise information on the models for resource allocation that have been used in the design of special education. Because it is highly urgent that such information be collected, a survey will be conducted among two representative municipalities (with about 35 municipalities in each) and more than 2,000 schools participating in the ETF project follow-up surveys will take place. Information about access to special education teachers or resource staff can highlight the factors that make up the decisions on how special education groups are put together.

Research environment

Prerequisites, Education and Results - FUR

The research project Individualization, Motivation, Performance (IMP)

The research project Individualization, Motivation, Performance (IMP)

The Evaluation Through Follow-up

The Evaluation Through Follow-up

Project members

Joanna Giota, Professor, Project leader

Ingemar Emanuelsson, Professor emeritus

Karin Taube, Professor

Åsa Berndtsson
Bo Nielsen

Inga-Lill Berntsson

Karin Linder