This study investigated the role of educational and socioeconomic factors in explaining differences in national special education coverage. Data were derived from several international and governmental sources, targeting the year 2008 and covering 143 countries. Descriptive statistics revealed huge disparities in access to special education among countries. Using a theoretical model linking socioeconomic and educational variables to differences in how many students receive special education at a national level and structural equation modeling, the authors evaluated the relationships among the variables. The structural equation model showed that gross national income per capita, adult literacy rate, educational variables, and expected years of formal schooling accounted for 77.3% of the variance in special education coverage, and that the contributions of gross national income per capita and adult literacy were unique and significantly important. The implications for special education and inclusion policy and research are discussed.
Cross-National Differences in Special Education Coverage