Pitfalls and Bias: Entry Testing and the Overrepresentation of Romani Children in Special Education

This policy paper examines many of the ways in which Romani children from Central and South Eastern Europe are segregated from their non-Romani peers and placed in special education. The focus of this paper is on school readiness assessments (school entry testing) in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Serbia, and Slovakia, by which children’s entry to school is delayed, they are streamed into preparatory or transition classes in special schools, or they are placed in special education classrooms or schools. This paper examines the link between such testing and the overrepresentation of Romani children in special education. The document also presents international good practice in the use of assessments for integrating rather than segregating children in order to address the individual educational needs of different pupils while mapping some potential directions for change in Central and South Eastern Europe.