Does Special Education Raise Academic Achievement for Students with Disabilities?

53 Pages Posted: 12 Nov 1998 Last revised: 12 May 2000

See all articles by Eric A. Hanushek

Eric A. Hanushek

Stanford University - Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

John F. Kain

University of Texas at Dallas - Cecil and Ida Green Center for the Study of Science and Society

Steven G. Rivkin

Amherst College - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: August 1998

Abstract

While special education has become a hotly debated issue of school policy, most of the discussion has centered on the aggregate costs of providing mandated programs for disabled children. Little attention has been paid to the effectiveness of such programs or possible interactions with the provision of regular education. This study, building on the unique data of the Harvard/UTD Texas Schools Project provides direct evidence on the effectiveness of special education programs. The average special education program boosts mathematics and reading achievement of special education students, particularly those classified as learning disabled, while not detracting from regular education students. These results are estimated quite precisely from models of fixed effects in achievement gains, and they are robust to a series of specification tests. At this stage, it is not possible to judge whether the program benefits are sufficiently large to justify the added spending involved.

Suggested Citation

Hanushek, Eric A. and Kain, John F. and Rivkin, Steven G., Does Special Education Raise Academic Achievement for Students with Disabilities? (August 1998). NBER Working Paper No. w6690. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=122330

Eric A. Hanushek (Contact Author)

Stanford University - Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305-6010
United States
650-736-0942 (Phone)
650-723-1687 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

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Munich, DE-81679
Germany

John F. Kain

University of Texas at Dallas - Cecil and Ida Green Center for the Study of Science and Society ( email )

Mail Station GC21
Box 830688
Richardson, TX 75083-0688
United States
(972) 883-2555 (Phone)
(972) 883-2551 (Fax)

Steven G. Rivkin

Amherst College - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 5000
Amherst, MA 01002-5000
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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