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Evaluation Process

Before a determination can be made regarding a student’s eligibility for special education, an evaluation of the student’s educational strengths and needs must occur. Referrals are typically initiated by a caregiver contacting a principal, school personnel, or the administrator of special education and requesting an evaluation for special education eligibility. Additionally, a referral might be recommended during the SST (student study team) process. A critical step in the evaluation process, referrals must be received in writing, and they should include the areas of concern and a description of the educational needs. 

Upon receiving the request, the district must generate a consent form within five (5) school days that outlines all areas of suspected disability for evaluation. These areas may include communication and language comprehension, educational development, cognitive ability, motor ability, vision, hearing, and social-emotional development. A home assessment might be included, in addition to evaluating other areas of concern. Districts must complete the assessments within thirty (30) school days upon receipt of a signed consent form, and a meeting to discuss the results and determine eligibility must be scheduled within forty-five (45) days of receipt.

Based on the discussion and the evaluation information, the participants of a special education evaluation meeting will determine if a student is eligible for special education and related services. For students that qualify, the evaluation results will be used to develop an Individualized Education Program (IEP). If the team determines that the student does not qualify, other support options might be discussed through such processes as SST or 504. Additionally, the student’s caregiver will receive a letter from the school stating that the student is not eligible. It will also detail why the student was found ineligible and provide information about the caregiver’s rights, including the right to appeal a finding of no eligibility.