special education, inclusion, disabilities, mainstreaming, handicaps, international


The purpose of this study was to examine the inclusion of students worldwide. Because the language barrier would impede the gathering of the necessary research, this study was delimited to only those English-speaking countries such as the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. The researcher examined many aspects of the education of students with disabilities in each country and how that attributed to the extent in which students with disabilities were being educated in the regular classroom. First, the researcher analyzed the legislation regarding students with disabilities, especially those directives that called for the Inclusion of them. Second, the researcher investigated the educational models used in each country to ascertain the placements available for the disabled, making special note of those that were more inclusive. Next, the researcher gathered data that examined the categorical system used to label, group, and educate the Special Education population. Finally, the researcher compared the extent to which the students with disabilities were educated in the regular classroom in each country by looking at the total proportion included as well as the percentage included in each disability category. To make a comparison of the educational attainments of each country, the researcher utilized a study by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development that incorporated the students with disabilities in their international assessments. Results revealed that the United States has a much more extensive legislation dedicated to the education of individuals with disabilities than does the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. As a result, the United States' placement models and categorical systems are just as complex. Data also confirmed that other countries are including their disabled population in a regular education classroom at a much higher rate than that of the United States. Finally, the international study found that the United States performed worse than all the other countries in the subject areas assessed: Reading, Math, and Science. Recommendations for further research included the examination of teacher education programs world wide, comparison of provincial and territorial regions in Canada and Australia, and a comparison of graduation rates for those students with disabilities in inclusive settings and those in segregated settings.


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Graduation Date





Murray, Barbara A.


Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


College of Education


Educational Research, Technology, and Leadership

Degree Program

Educational Leadership








Release Date

January 2006

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)