After giving your consent for a full and individual evaluation (FIE), the school must provide prior written notice of any evaluation procedures the school will conduct and a copy of the procedural safeguards notice if your child is being evaluated for the first time.
TEA states the school must use various assessment tools and strategies to gather relevant functional, developmental, and academic information about your child, including the information you provide.
Your child’s school may not use any measure or assessment as the sole criterion for determining whether your child is a child with a disability and for determining an appropriate educational program. Your school must evaluate your child in all areas related to the suspected disability to determine if your child has a disability and to determine his or her educational needs.
Evaluation procedures for Special Education must:
• Include information about your child’s academic, developmental, and functional performance;
• Be administered by trained and knowledgeable personnel following the instructions of the test producer and be administered for purposes for which the assessments are valid and reliable;
• Be administered in your child’s native language or other modes of communication unless not feasible to do so; and
• Be unbiased or given in such a way so as not to discriminate against your child, regardless of his or her cultural background, race, or disability.
The initial evaluation and the resulting report must be completed 45 school days following the date the school receives your written consent. If your child has been absent for three or more school days during the evaluation period, the evaluation period must be extended by the number of days your child was absent. The school must give you a copy of the evaluation report at no cost.
Suppose your child is under five by September 1 of the school year and not enrolled in public school or a private or home school setting; regardless of age, the initial evaluation and the resulting report must be completed by the 45th school day of your written consent.
There is an exception to the 45-school-day timeline. Suppose the school receives your consent for the initial evaluation at least 35 but less than 45 school days before the last instructional day. Then the written evaluation report must be completed and provided to you by June 30 of that year. However, if your child is absent from school on three or more days during the evaluation period, the June 30th due date no longer applies.
If you do not consent to the initial evaluation, the school may, but is not required to, pursue the evaluation by asking for mediation or requesting a due process hearing. Suppose the school decides not to pursue the evaluation. In that case, the school does not violate the requirement under IDEA to identify, locate, and evaluate all children with disabilities who need special education and related services. This requirement is referred to as the school’s child find duty.
The evaluation procedures for special education may vary depending on the student’s specific needs and the educational institution’s policies and regulations.
Evaluation procedures for Special Education used:
Referral: The first step in the evaluation process is typically a referral made by a teacher, parent, or other educational professionals to the school’s special education team. This referral usually includes information about the student’s academic, behavioral, and social functioning and any concerns about their progress or development.
Screening: Once a referral has been made, the special education team may conduct a screening process to determine whether the student may have a disability that requires further evaluation. This screening process may include observations, checklists, or standardized tests.
Evaluation: If the screening process indicates that further evaluation is necessary, the special education team will comprehensively evaluate the student’s abilities and needs. This evaluation may include academic, behavioral, and social functioning assessments and interviews with the student and their parents.
Eligibility determination: Based on the evaluation results, the special education team will determine whether the student is eligible for special education services. To be eligible, the student must have a disability significantly impacting their ability to learn and function in the classroom.
Individualized Education Program (IEP) development: If the student is eligible for special education services, the special education team will develop an individualized education program (IEP) that outlines the student’s goals, objectives, and services. The IEP is a legal document that guides the student’s education and must be reviewed and updated annually.
Progress monitoring: Once the student receives special education services, their progress will be monitored regularly to ensure they progress toward their goals and objectives. If necessary, the IEP may be revised to better meet the student’s needs.
Overall, the evaluation procedures for special education are designed to ensure that students with disabilities receive the services and support they need to succeed in school.