Frequently Asked Questions


Can evaluations be done during the summer?
Yes, timelines in the special education process are year round and include weekends, holidays, school vacations (including summer vacations) and snow days.
What if the school asks me for permission to extend beyond the 45 days?
School districts have 45 calendar days (this counts weekends, holidays, school vacations and snow days) to complete the testing, write a summary of the evaluation results and hold a meeting to determine eligibility. This timeline applies during the summer as well. That means that if a parent signs permission for testing in June, the school still has 45 calendar days to complete testing, write a summary and hold a meeting to determine eligibility. With written parental consent, the timeline may be extended once by 15 calendar days.
What kinds of tests can be done?
You can find that information here.
How do I know if they are doing the right kind of testing?
You can find that information here.. If your child has behavioral issues a Functional Behavioral Assessment should be conducted. For more information on testing, please contact the Parent Information Center on Special Education.
The school says that they have to do Response to Intervention before they can diagnose a Learning Disability. Is that true?
Due to the recent changes to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 and the NH Rules, school districts have options in how they determine a child has a specific learning disability. However, school districts must have a written policy on how they determine a specific learning disability. When the IEP team is considering whether a child has a specific learning disability parents should request a copy of the district’s policy. Click for more information on RtI (PDF).
How often is my child evaluated?
Children with disabilities are formally reevaluated at least every 3 years. Parents or other team members may request a reevaluation more frequently or if conditions warrant, but generally re-evaluations can not occur more than once a year. A child must be reevaluated before they can be determined no longer eligible for special education, except for when they will become no longer eligible because of graduation with a regular high school diploma or ageing out of special education.

Evaluation


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.

  1. to determine eligibility for special education and
  2. to determine your child’s educational needs. 

boy down's syndromeTherefore, 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

Evaluation Requirements


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 boy on benchmode 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.

Independent Educational Evaluations (IEE)


teens with teacherParents 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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