The Evaluation Process
The purpose of the evaluation process is to identity your child's specific learning strengths, needs and concerns. This is a problem-solving process that involves many ways of "collecting information. Information may be gathered through informal and formal observations; reviewing school work and records, talking with the teachers, standardized testing and checklists. The evaluation is done to determine if your child is eligible for special education services. This process also helps identify your child's strengths and abilities which are equally important in planning future services.
Evaluations are conducted for different reasons:
- Screening - to identify those children who may be experiencing learning difficulties.
- Eligibility - to determine whether a child is eligible for special education services (each child receiving special education and related services shall be re-evaluated at least once every three years to determine continued eligibility)
- EP development and placement - to develop a plan of action and make decisions about a child's program
- Instructional Planing - to plan instruction appropriate to the child's specific strengths and needs and to monitor its effectiveness
There are certain requirements that all schools must meet when evaluating your child's need for special education services. These requirements include:
- The evaluation must be conducted by a multi-disciplinary team- a group of professionals with expertise in different areas including at least one teacher or other specialist with knowledge in the area of your child's suspected disability.
- More than one evaluation instrument or procedure will be used as the basis for services. An evaluation need not always include an assessment of intellectual ability.
- Tests must be non-discriminatory and administered in your child's native language and primary means of communication.
- The team must collect information from a variety of sources which may include observations, parent interview, and review of pertinent medical history.
You will be invited to an IEP team meeting to discuss the evaluation plan for your child in order to:
- fit the evaluation to the needs of your child ;
- make you an informed partner from the beginning; and
- make the evaluation process the least intrusive and anxiety producing.
Parents must give their consent in writing before any initial evaluation can be performed.
Once the formal evaluation of your child has been completed, the results will be shared with you. You may wish to discuss the results at an informal meeting prior to the planning meeting (IEP). Make sure you fully understand the results and conclusions drawn from the evaluation so you may work confidently with professionals in planning services for your child. If you disagree with the results, you may request an independent evaluation at the school's expense.
- 10 days for Parental Consent for Evaluation.
- Evaluation at least once every three years to determine continued eligibility
- Share information with the IEP team that will benefit your child's education
- Outside Evaluations (Parents may choose to have their child evaluated by outside professionals at any time during the process at their expense)
- A list of your child's strengths, needs, preferences, learning style
- Samples of your child's work / Videos of your child
Learn more about the evaluation and the process - Ask questions!
- What questions do we have that we hope will be answered by the evaluation?
- Who will be conducting the evaluation and in what setting?
- What areas will be evaluated? What specific tests or portions of tests will be used and why?
- What is the training and experience of the persons administering the test?
- Does the evaluation need to be adapted to compensate for your child's suspected disability?
- Ask for any written information on the evaluation process
- Talk with other experienced parents, school representatives, or outside professionals about the evaluation process
- You can disagree with the school's evaluation and have a second evaluation done by a professional of your choice. In some cases, the school district may reimburse you for the second evaluation