Inclusive and Effective Schools

Helpdesk Query:

HEART were asked to identify the characteristics and practices of schools that are both inclusive and effective in terms of pupil attainment


It was difficult to find research where effectiveness in terms of attainment was reported. The goal of inclusive education often seems to be inclusion itself or attendance rather than completion or graded learning outcomes. Outcomes of inclusive education are often illusive and difficult to measure.  The World Bank suggest that tests of content knowledge provide only one indicator of impact, and are not strongly linked to success in adult life, nor do they provide a measure of creative and analytical problem-solving skills needed for survival. The challenge is to measure success in terms of broad indicators of outcomes and impact.

Education in Lao People’s Democratic Republic has focussed on quality alongside inclusivity and is the key case study in this report. The characteristic identified as important was changing the dominant educational pedagogy from teacher-centred to child-centred. In-service training for teachers was not found to have an impact. An important initiative was establishing schools into groups so they could work on similar issues together and provide mutual support. Development and use of the Inclusive Education School Improvement and Self Evaluation Tool was also important. The data show an increase in students passing grades in Inclusive Education schools. Data also show an increase in children with special needs and disabilities passing.


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