Successful schooling for pupils with intellectual disabilities: the demand for a new paradigm

A comprehensive review of educational interventions for pupils with intellectual disabilities showed that most studies report positive results for a variety of interventions. The aim of this article is to explore how these results can be understood. We draw on similar earlier findings concerning intervention effects in psychotherapy and social work, discussing the so-called Dodo bird conjecture, indicating that established methods for identification of evidence-based practices can provide false, positive results influenced by so-called common factors present in most interventions. In conclusion, we argue for a new paradigm of research on educational interventions for pupils with intellectual disabilities, replacing the present ambition to find evidence-based support for specific interventions in favour of a line of research exploring alternative explanations in terms of, for instance, common positive factors.​