Transition into and out of special education services by young Australian school children between 2006 and 2010.


The extent to which school students continue to receive special education services over time is largely unknown because longitudinal studies are rare in this area. The present study examined a large Australian longitudinal database to track the status of children who received special education support in 2006 and whether they continued to access such support over a 4-year period. Nearly two thirds of the children receiving additional assistance in 2006 did not receive such assistance 4 years later. There were substantial variations in the principal reason for providing special education services to students over this period, and the relative academic performance of the students who received special education support across the 4 years substantially declined. The findings have ramifications for the way we consider changes in the needs of young children as they progress through the primary school system.