Benefit and quality of individual education plans in inclusive schools

Category Project

Ausgangslage und Ziele

Individual education plans serve to plan and document individual support for schoolchildren with special educational needs. They appear to play a particularly important role in integrated school settings as part of the collaboration between class teachers and special education advisors. There has, however, been controversial debate among both researchers and practitioners about the benefits of education plans: some see individual education plans as an indispensable tool in ensuring the quality of personalised support, while others fundamentally question their value. Among the critical factors are the substantial administrative workload and the dichotomy they create between pupils who have an education plan and those who do not. This project therefore aims to contribute to the perceived benefit and to the quality and efficacy of individual education plans in integrated school settings. As there have been few insights to date into process features that characterise the use of individual education plans in practice, the proposed study is designed to achieve greater clarity in this field.

Project Management

Xenia Müller Title Dr. phil.


Senior Researcher


  • Duration
  • Neue Projektnummer


  • What subjective benefits do the specialists involved attach to the (joint) management of individual education plans
  • What relationships are there between the quality of individual education plans, their perceived benefits and features which characterise the team process of drawing up education plans?
  • Do the management of individual education plans and the quality of plan content help to achieve agreed education targets?

Methodical approach

This project is a quantitative longitudinal study with two measuring points.



Five pupils for whom adjusted education targets had been defined were randomly selected from each of the 40 schools in the Canton of Zürich (200 cases in total). The requirement for participation of the schools was the possibility to hold feedback meetings.

Everyone involved in planning or providing support for these pupils was surveyed. For the most part, they were class teachers and special needs educationalists. However, parents, therapy professionals and the pupils themselves were also interviewed to the extent that they were involved in the support (planning) process.


Data acquisition and evaluation

The first measuring point is after the first fix, i.e. when the education targets are set. The survey includes all those who attended the target definition (fix team) and also those who subsequently took part in providing support and, where appropriate, drawing up the individual education plan (IEP team). If there are individual education plans, these are analysed by members of the project team and their quality is assessed.

The second measuring point is when the support package has ended, i.e. after assessment. Members of the assessment team are asked to what extent the agreed education targets have been met. At the same time, various aspects of the support (planning) process are recorded.

The survey is carried out entirely in written form. Statistical evaluation is performed with the aid of structural equation models taking account of the nested data structure.


Significant correlations are expected between the perceived benefit and quality of education plans and perceptions of target achievement. In particular, the quality of the education plan is assumed to mediate the influence of perceived benefit on perceived target achievement. 


Financial support