Evaluations, also called “assessments” in some states, provide valuable information regarding the nature and extent of your child’s disability as well as the impact the condition may have on his or her education. Strengths and weaknesses identified through this process form the basis for your child’s present levels of performance, or your child’s baseline of functioning in the area of evaluation.
The Role of the Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE)
The Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE), or parent-secured evaluation, serves as a “second opinion” in determining your child’s needs, capabilities and present levels of performance. Parents have the right to obtain an IEE at any time during their child’s education, so long as the evaluation meets the IEE criteria established by the school district. IEEs conducted by qualified persons and submitted to the IEP team for consideration must be considered by the IEP.
How May I Obtain an Independent Evaluation at District Expense?
The law provides a mechanism for parents to secure an IEE at public expense in instances where they disagree with the school district’s evaluation. The right is conditional in that the district may refuse to pay for the IEE. Where the district takes this position, however, it must initiate a due process hearing to defend its findings without unreasonable delay. Most districts are reluctant to file a due process against a parent. This is especially true where there is a strong possibility that its own evaluation is flawed.
Evaluations are like building blocks. They are integral in laying the foundation of a plan that will allow your child to progress in his/her educational setting. Quality evaluations and accurate present levels ensure that goals are measurable year to year. Insist on precise evaluations. Without them, you have no reliable method to ensure that your child makes meaningful education progress from year to year.