This study reports on an investigation of the differences in results between students with special educational needs assigned to special classes or regular classes in lower secondary education. Cognitive competencies were measured using curricular Finnish and mathematics tasks, school achievement using grade point average (GPA), and learning motivation by using self-reported goal-orientation scales. Propensity score matching was utilized to match the students according to their propensity to be placed in special classes, and 134 pairs were produced out of 860 available students with SEN from which 477 were assigned to special classes. Results of students assigned to special classes did not differ in curricular Finnish and mathematics in ninth grade when compared to their closely-matched peers in regular classes. However, students in special classes had higher GPAs and a higher performance-approach orientation and mastery-extrinsic orientation than students assigned to regular classes.