Special Education Evaluations
What is a referral for a comprehensive special education evaluation?
In order to receive special education services through an Individualized Education Program or IEP, a child must meet special education eligibility. The special education process begins when a parent, teacher or other individual requests an initial special education evaluation or refers the student.
What is the purpose of a special education evaluation?
- To determine whether the child qualifies for special education
- To identify the teaching methods, services, and accommodations that will effectively help the student learn
- To develop an Individualized Education Program (IEP)
How do parents request a special education evaluation?
- A parent can speak to their child’s teacher or principal to make the request but it is a good practice to make the request for the evaluation in writing
What happens next?
- Best practice among states is the “15-day rule.” The 15-day rule means that within 15 calendar days of a request for an evaluation, the school should request parent consent, convene an Evaluation Planning Team (EPT), or provide written reasons for denying the request. Vermont’s Secretary of Education strongly encouraged schools to incorporate the 15-day rule into their processes in her Guidance on Special Rules Memo dated August 21, 2017.
- The LEA will send a Notice of Meeting to inform parents of their decision to proceed with the evaluation and invite you to a meeting to develop an evaluation plan and request a signed parental consent prior to initiating the evaluation. Parental input is critical to a good evaluation plan. Remember, the evaluation is as good as the questions team members raise and the input all provide. These question help the team in answering whether or not your child is eligible, but also importantly identifies the programming, related services and supports that the student needs to meet success.
- The evaluation should begin on the date the school district receives the signed consent from the parent regarding the evaluation plan and be completed by the end of 60 days.
- The team will gather and determine if the child is eligible and put the decision in writing by sending parents a written notice.
What if the child is not found eligible for special education?
- It is not uncommon for a student to be evaluated and not found eligible for special education. Through this process, a student may be determined to have a disability, but not be eligible for special education.
- Parents have the right to disagree with the team decision and should put their decision in writing
- Parents have the right to request an independent evaluation at no cost and may want to put the request in writing