More academics in regular schools? The effect of regular versus special school placement on academic skills in Dutch primary school students with Down syndrome
Article first published online: 6 DEC 2011
© 2011 The Authors. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Journal of Intellectual Disability Research
Volume 57, Issue 1, pages 21–38, January 2013
How to Cite
de Graaf, G., van Hove, G. and Haveman, M. (2013), More academics in regular schools? The effect of regular versus special school placement on academic skills in Dutch primary school students with Down syndrome. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 57: 21–38. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2788.2011.01512.x
- Issue published online: 10 DEC 2012
- Article first published online: 6 DEC 2011
- Accepted 17 October 2011
- Down syndrome;
- inclusive education;
Background Studies from the UK have shown that children with Down syndrome acquire more academic skills in regular education. Does this likewise hold true for the Dutch situation, even after the effect of selective placement has been taken into account?
Method In 2006, an extensive questionnaire was sent to 160 parents of (specially and regularly placed) children with Down syndrome (born 1993–2000) in primary education in the Netherlands with a response rate of 76%. Questions were related to the child's school history, academic and non-academic skills, intelligence quotient, parental educational level, the extent to which parents worked on academics with their child at home, and the amount of academic instructional time at school. Academic skills were predicted with the other variables as independents.
Results For the children in regular schools much more time proved to be spent on academics. Academic performance appeared to be predicted reasonably well on the basis of age, non-academic skills, parental educational level and the extent to which parents worked at home on academics. However, more variance could be predicted when the total amount of years that the child spent in regular education was added, especially regarding reading and to a lesser extent regarding writing and math. In addition, we could prove that this finding could not be accounted for by endogenity.
Conclusion Regularly placed children with Down syndrome learn more academics. However, this is not a straight consequence of inclusive placement and age alone, but is also determined by factors such as cognitive functioning, non-academic skills, parental educational level and the extent to which parents worked at home on academics. Nevertheless, it could be proven that the more advanced academic skills of the regularly placed children are not only due to selective placement. The positive effect of regular school on academics appeared to be most pronounced for reading skills.