The article deals with one of the key causes of Roma children's low academic achievement, notably their presence in segregated special schools originally reserved for mentally disabled children. The purpose of the research was to analyse the assessment process for school‐readiness and special educational needs, and discover the reasons for Roma children's widespread failure on the tests.
Using a quantitative survey and qualitative focus group interviews, the study analysed the assessment process for school‐readiness and special educational needs.
The tests in use offer an overly generalized picture of children's abilities. The test results have little influence on the actual decisions about the schools children will be sent to. Roma children tend to do significantly worse on the tests than non‐Roma children, in all examined areas.
The situation of Roma is similar in all countries of the East and Central European region, and resembles the situation of all socially excluded ethnic minority groups. The results can therefore contribute to a better understanding of the educational situation of Roma and other ethnic minority groups in the region. However, the education system as well as the process of determining special educational needs are in several ways unique in each country. The findings therefore have limited validity outside of Hungary.
Although the problems with Roma children's academic performance are well documented, there had been no research in Hungary that focused on the selection process and the problems of using assessment tests in determining Roma children's special educational needs.
Kende, A. and Neményi, M. (2006), "Selection in education: the case of Roma children in Hungary", Equal Opportunities International, Vol. 25 No. 7, pp. 506-522. https://doi.org/10.1108/02610150610714376Download as .RIS
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