GETTING AN EDUCATIONAL EVALUATION
If you suspect your child has a learning disability, problems with attention or focusing in class, or behavioral problems, etc. Even if you're not sure, ask to have your child assessed away. The first step to getting an Educational Evaluation, or Psycho-educational Evaluation is to notify the school in writing. Click here for a sample letter.
NOTE: After receiving your written consent notification, the school has 60 days to 1) Provide you with an assessment consent form, 2) Conduct a Comprehensive Psycho-educational Evaluation, and 3) Have an Eligibility Determination/IEP meeting to determine if your child is eligible for special education services and develop an IEP.
Once you've placed your assessment request, the school has 15 calendar days (of the 60 days) to provide you with an Assessment Consent Plan in which both you and school personnel complete. If you want a full comprehensive assessment, I recommend you check all areas on this form. As you don't want to limit yourself & the school from discovering the nature of your child's disability, qualifications & services.
I highly recommend parents NOT SIGN THE ASSESSMENT CONSENT FORM UNTIL YOU RECEIVE PRIOR WRITTEN NOTICE (PWN). Prior Written Notice for an evaluation details all information listed below. This is allows parents/caregivers the opportunity to be informed in all aspects of your child’s assessments. Including the opportunity to choose or suggest using specific test you deem necessary to accuractly measure your child's abilities and disabilities. Although, by law, this document is to be attached with your consent form. However, MOST of the time it is not. If PWN is not provided, I suggest NOT signing the assessment consent form until you receive this documentation. If the school refuses to provide you with this information; kindly and neatly, write ON the assessment consent form stating PWN was not attached with your assessment consent form. Please include you in the assessment process byproviding you with answers to the following questions.
1. The start and finish testing dates. Please include dates each examiner(s) is/are scheduled to test our son.
2. Who will administer each assessment?
3. Please list the battery of assessments you are considering for our son and please include me in this process.
4. Please provide us with the test results (or test protocols) no later than 5 days prior to the IEP meeting date. Remind them doing so allows you time to review the assessment in order to be an effective participant in the IEP meeting.
5. Attach/Add: physician statement with diagnosis, observations, concerns, etc. Request that this info is included in the assessment. On the Assessment Plan Consent form you will need to check the section titled "Other forms of assessments" and list this parental documentation as notification that you have provided the school with medical documentation and have requested it is included as part of this assessment.
See "Questions Often Asked About Assessments" for more information on Educational Evaluations.
Individuals with Disability Act (IDEA) mandates: Within 60 days of receiving parental consent for the evaluation, the district must conduct a full and individual initial evaluation to determine whether the child has a disability and the educational needs of the child.
When administering the evaluation, the child is assessed in all areas of suspected disability. The school must use a variety of assessment tools including information provided by the parent, in support of determining if the child has a disability; and content of the child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
QUESTIONS OFTEN ASKED ABOUT ASSESSMENTS:
1. Price of an Educational Evaluation?
No cost to parents with children attending public schools.
2. I'm not an evaluator. How do I know if the assessments were appropriate and if the report results accurately represent my child?
A) Research all assessments given to your child (or prior to them assessing). I have provided links below. This will allow you with information you need to compare the given assessments with others according to your child & her disability.
B) You can also visit you local University's Psychology department. Many of these universities provide free comprehensive educational evaluations at the grad-level. This will allow you to compare their results with the school's. *There is usually a very long waiting list, so sign up ASAP.
C) Finally, if you disagree with the assessment, you can request an Independent Education Evaluation (IEE) at the school's expense. *I advise parents to be sure you've done your research before requesting. If not, you could end up paying for that assessment (IEE).
*See below, "Understanding Test Scores & Terms"
3. What should an Education Evaluation Look Like?
I have posted a sample comprehensive evaluation here. Although there is a general format, the tests will differ depending on your child's disability, and parental previous noted concerns.
4. How can I begin to understand the evaluation?
In the state of California it is illegal to administer an IQ test to African-American students. The Larry P. v. Riles (Larry P.) case began in 1971 when five African American Children were placed in Special Education classes for the educable mentally retarded (EMR) in the San Francisco Unified School District. Students claimed that they were wrongly placed and filed a suit in the Federal District Court of Northern CA. The Court decided in favor of the students in 1979 and was upheld on appeal in 1984. Now, (as of 1986) in the state of CA the use of IQ testing for all African American students to determine SPED Services is banned.
The two main individual IQ tests are:
An alternative which attempts to minimize cultural bias:
High stakes testing- is to measure how well the schools are doing and how well your child scored in comparison to others within the same grade. They are not used to determine graduation or grade promotion.
Section 504 & American's Disability Act:
Section 504 was amended so that it now incorporates the ADA AA by reference and applies to public school students under Section 504.