Effects of inclusion on students with and without special educational needs reviewed

Peer-reviewed article
(2009 Apr) Educational Research Review , Volume 4


Nienke M.Ruijs,
Thea T.D.Peetsma


In many countries, education policies are shifting towards inclusive education. Human rights have always been an important argument for this development, but the effects on students should be an important factor when designing policies. In this review, therefore, literature on the effects of inclusion on both students with and without special educational needs is described. The review covers not only effects on cognitive development, but also socio-emotional effects. In general, the results show neutral to positive effects of inclusive education. The academic achievement of students with and without special educational needs seems to be comparable to non-inclusive classes or even better in inclusive classes. However, there may be some differential effects for high- and low-achieving students without special educational needs. Regarding social effects, children with special educational needs seem to have a less favourable social position than children without special educational needs.