The challenges of making cross-country comparison of statistics on pupils with special educational needs

Elisabet Weedon, Fernando Lezcano-Barbero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Cross country comparisons in education using statistics has become increasingly common; however, they are not without difficulties. This paper explores comparative data published by the Educational Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education (EASIE) focusing on the indicator showing the percentage of pupils with Special Educational Needs (SEN) in mainstream, inclusive education. It questions the extent to which the data presented in this indicator fully reflects the incidence rate of SEN in mainstream education in all countries by examining SEN data publicly available in four European jurisdictions: England, Spain, Scotland and Sweden. It cautions against making direct comparison between SEN data for these countries on the basis of the indicator. It also suggests that such data need to be considered in the context of more qualitative information on individual countries.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Special Needs Education
Early online date24 Nov 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Nov 2020

Keywords

  • special education needs
  • cross-country comparisons
  • statistical indicators

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