This article is the second in a 2-part synthesis of an international comparative seminar on the classification of children with disabilities. In this article, the authors discuss classification frameworks used in identifying children for the purpose of providing special education and related services. The authors summarize 7 papers that addressed aspects of disability classification in educational systems in the United States and the United Kingdom. They discuss current policies for determining which children receive special education services, the origins and evolution of these policies, and current dilemmas and challenges associated with classification schemes and the provision of special education. The authors also describe emerging data and possible models and practices that might be used in educational systems. They conclude with the recognition that both formal and informal educational classification systems will continue to be required within a system that must address the competing priorities of individual needs and the broader social and community goals of education. However, as was argued in the previous article, by understanding the mix of intentions that underpin these policies, as well as periodically reviewing the norms that underlie them, it may be possible to move classification to descriptors that can be used to efficiently and effectively define educational needs and distribute resources.
THE JOURNAL OF SPECIAL EDUCATION VOL. 40/NO. 1/2006/PP. 46–58