A1 Journal article (refereed)
How do educational reforms change the share of students in special education? Trends in special education in Finland (2020)

Pulkkinen, J., Räikkönen, E., Jahnukainen, M., & Pirttimaa, R. (2020). How do educational reforms change the share of students in special education? Trends in special education in Finland. European Educational Research Journal, 19(4), 364-384. https://doi.org/10.1177/1474904119892734

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Pulkkinen, Jonna; Räikkönen, Eija; Jahnukainen, Markku; Pirttimaa, Raija

Journal or series: European Educational Research Journal

eISSN: 1474-9041

Publication year: 2020

Volume: 19

Issue number: 4

Pages range: 364-384

Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd.

Publication country: United Kingdom

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1474904119892734

Publication open access: Not open

Publication channel open access:

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/67064


Recent European and global trends in education have been to promote inclusive education and expand education, resulting in the increased provision of special education. In promoting inclusive education, recent special education reforms have also aimed to curtail the rise in identification rates for students in special education, for example, by focusing more on early support and discontinuing fiscal incentives to identify students with special educational needs. Using official special education statistics, we studied how Finland’s special education system reforms changed the share of students in special education. In addition, we examined variations in special education provisions among municipalities before and after the reforms, and identified municipal-level predictors of variations. This study utilised piecewise linear latent growth curve modelling to analyse changes, thereby providing an example of how this method can be applied in policy reform studies. The results indicated, in particular, that the funding reform has incentivised municipalities to decrease identification rates for students in special education and to diminish special education provision. However, different municipalities have different special education provisions and have changed these provisions in varied ways. In particular, we found that small and large municipalities differ in special education practices and reform implementation.

Keywords: primary and lower secondary education; comprehensive school; school reform; education policy; inclusion; special education (teaching)

Free keywords: basic education; comprehensive school; educational reform; education policy; inclusive education; special education

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2020

JUFO rating: 2

Last updated on 2022-17-06 at 11:13