If the IEP team feels that they do not have enough information and need to evaluate, they need your written parental consent to do so. Once the IEP Team has your written consent to test your child, they have 45 calendar days to complete the evaluations, which are then used to determine your child's eligibility for special education.
- to determine eligibility for special education and
- to determine your child’s educational needs.
Therefore, evaluations must use a variety of tools and strategies. Areas to be tested may include academic, communication, developmental, language, motor, self-help, social/behavioral, vocational, and others.
As part of the evaluation process the IEP team will review the child’s educational history, including past opportunities to have learned certain skills and information. The IEP team then considers the information they already have, including:
- Evaluations and other information from the parents,
- Current classroom-based assessments and observations,
- Observations and recommendations by teachers and related service providers,
- The results of the most recent local or statewide assessments, and
- Other information from team members, such as medical records, observations, or independent evaluations
The team then meets to determine what additional testing must be done. The NH Rules for the Education of Children with Disabilities (PDF) lays out guidelines as to who is considered qualified to diagnose specific categories of disabilities. They also lay other evaluation requirements including that:
- Evaluations must be nondiscriminatory and generally in the child’s native language or other mode of communication. They are to be provided and administered in the language and form most likely to yield accurate information on what the child knows and can do, academically and functionally
- Tests must be validated, selected and administered to accurately reflect what the test measures, not the child’s impaired skills, unless that is the purpose of the test
- Children are to be assessed in all areas of suspected disabilities
- A single procedure may not be used to determine eligibility or an appropriate educational program; a variety of assessment tools and strategies, including information from the parents, are to be used
- The child’s present levels of academic achievement and related developmental needs are to be assessed
- Evaluations must identify all of the child’s special education and related service needs, whether or not commonly linked to the child’s disabilities
- Evaluation materials must assess specific areas of educational need and not merely provide a single general intelligence quotient
- In NH, teachers or other specialists who are participating in the evaluation must be certified or licensed for each disability suspected
- Tests are to be administered in accordance with the test instructions by certified or licensed personnel
- If an assessment is not conducted under standard conditions (ex: portions of the test were read aloud to the student), a description of how it varied must be included in the evaluation report.
- If vocational education is being considered, a vocational evaluator must conduct an assessment
- For students suspected of having a specific learning disability, an observation of the student’s academic performance in the regular classroom setting must be conducted and a written report developed
- In determining whether a child has a learning disability, a LEA may use either the “discrepancy” model (identifying whether a significant discrepancy exists between the student’s ability and achievement), or they may use a process to determine if the child responds to scientific, research-based interventions.
Parents always have the right to have someone from outside the school district conduct an evaluation. This is called an independent educational evaluation (IEE). It is important to know that insurance companies often do not cover the cost of educational evaluations because they are not medically necessary and these evaluations can be expensive. Parents should check their insurance policy first.If you disagree with the results or determination of the school’s evaluation, you may ask for an IEE at the school district’s expense. Your request should be in writing and list some evaluators that you wish to do the evaluation. See our Sample letters for examples. The school district must respond to you in writing (provide you with Written Prior Notice) as to whether they are granting your request or taking you to Due Process to prove that their evaluation was appropriate. Regardless of whether you or the school district has paid for the IEE, the IEP team only needs to consider the results and/or recommendations given in the IEE of the evaluation. This means that they do not have to implement or follow service or program recommendations. The IEP team must consider them and provide you with Written Prior Notice as to why or why they are not accepting the recommendations.
For more information on IEE’s and help in determining what type of evaluator would be appropriate for an IEE please contact The Parent Information Center on Special Education staff.
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