Experiences and learning outcomes of students without special educational needs in inclusive settings: A systematic review
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This systematic review explores the experiences and learning outcomes of students without special educational needs (SEN) in inclusive settings. Based on a literature search, 450 records were screened, and 37 qualitative and quantitative studies were included. According to the main findings, peers show good attitudes towards students with SEN, especially when they are female or had prior contacts with disability. Peers express a certain level of social acceptance and empathy towards students with SEN, together with worries regarding consequences of inclusion on their individual learning outcomes. Findings on peers’ academic achievement and noncognitive outcomes are contradictory. The paper addresses barriers and backlashes deriving from the lack of a common definition of inclusion and a low methodological quality of the research available in the field. On the one hand, the results underline that the selected studies tend to overlook relevant variables, both contextual and individual. On the other hand, limitations are related to the non-availability of high-quality and rigorous experimental studies. The review highlights the urgent need to establish common criteria for the definition, implementation, and research in inclusive education in order to give more reliable information to stakeholders and policymakers.