Educational support for low-performing students in mathematics: the three-tier support model in Finnish lower secondary schools

A1 Journal article (refereed)

Internal Authors/Editors

Publication Details

List of Authors: Ulrika Ekstam, Karin Linnanmäki, Pirjo Aunio
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication year: 2015
Journal: European Journal of Special Needs Education
Volume number: 30
Issue number: 1
Start page: 75
End page: 92
eISSN: 1469-591X


In 2011, there was a legislative reform regarding educational support in Finland, with a focus on early identification, differentiation and flexible arrangement of support using a multi-professional approach, the three-tier support model. The main aim of this study was to investigate what educational support practices are used with low-performing lower secondary students. An additional aim was to determine how the change in legislation has affected the work of special education and mathematics teachers with regard to mathematics education for low-performing students. Electronic questionnaires were sent to all principals in Swedish-speaking schools in Finland (55 schools, grades 7-9) to be answered by the special educationand mathematics teachers. Twenty-seven answers were received from the special education teachers and 42 from the mathematics teachers. The results showed that 'pull out of the classroom' was considered the most common way to support the mathematically low-performing students. Teachers were quite satisfied with the efficiency of support and the amount of extra resources for the low-performing students in mathematics. There was almost no change in collaboration or working strategies for either teacher groups due to the change in legislation. The teachers did not experience much change in educational practice after the legislation reform.


educational reform, mathematics, middle school, part-time special education, RtI, SPECIAL education

Last updated on 2020-07-04 at 07:50