The Evaluation Process
The evaluation process gathers the information that will be used to determine if your child needs special education and, if so, the types of programs and services needed. Your child may be evaluated by a school psychologist. Other evaluations may include tests by a hearing specialist for a child with a hearing problem, or an evaluation from a doctor for a child with a health concern. The evaluation must also include input from a therapist if certain related services, such as speech or occupational therapy, may be needed.
A child may be referred for the first evaluation in several ways:
- You may ask your school to evaluate your child for special education at any time. This can be done by sending a letter to the principal of your child’s school or by asking a school professional employee. If you ask for an evaluation verbally, a “Permission to Evaluate–Evaluation Request” form will be sent to you within 10 calendar days after the receipt of your request.Permission to Evaluate – Evaluation Request (Annotated)
- The school may also contact you and must ask permission to have your child evaluated using a “Prior Written Notice for Initial Evaluation and Request for Consent” form. You must consent in writing to your child’s evaluation. School officials cannot proceed without your written permission.
Prior Written Notice for Initial Evaluation and Request for Consent (Annotated)
The types of tests that are used in the evaluation process depend upon the educational challenges your child is experiencing. In most cases, your child may be given several tests to help find strengths and needs. Someone other than your child’s general classroom teacher may also observe your child in class. Information that you share must also be included in the evaluation.
The Reevaluation Process
A reevaluation is conducted at least every three years unless your child is disabled due to mental retardation, in which case reevaluations are conducted at least every two years. A reevaluation is conducted to determine whether your child continues to be a child with a disability and needs to continue receiving special education. When additional data is needed to complete a reevaluation, the school must seek your permission to perform the additional evaluation using the “Prior Written Notice for Reevaluation and Request for Consent” form.
Permission to Reevaluate – Reevaluation Request
(Annotated)Prior Written Notice for Reevaluation and Request for Consent (Annotated)
If the school district has made what it believes are “reasonable attempts” but failed to receive your permission, it may proceed with the reevaluation. Each school district decides what “reasonable attempts” are. Such attempts may consist of:
- Telephone calls
- Registered letters with return receipts required
- Visits to the home or parents’ place of business
Also, if the school determines that no additional data is needed, they will notify you of this determination.
You and your school district may agree in writing that the three-year reevaluation is not necessary. If the school district proposes to waive the reevaluation, they will issue you an “Agreement to Waive Reevaluation” form. This is not an option if your child has an intellectual disability.
Below are additional publications about the reevaluation process.