An Analysis of Accountability Policies in Finland and the United States

This study examines student achievement and prevalence of students with disabilities in Finland and the United States (U.S.), by analysing international test scores, national reports, and special education legislation. The variables of interest include institutional design of each country, resources invested in and values surrounding public education, disability policies, and student diversity. Our findings indicate that the quality of the teaching profession, access to materials, intensive early interventions, equitable resource distribution, and values grounded on equity versus access are related to both student achievement and the prevalence of students with disabilities. We discuss implications of institutional arrangements and early intervention for policy formulation.