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How Do I Request an Outside Multifactored Evaluation?

12/08/11
by Sharon Lutz

I understand a multifactored evaluation provides valuable information about my child’s unique needs and the educational services he needs. How do I request this evaluation?

I have three children who are learning disabled. Each child needed a multifactored evaluation. So, three times we requested these evaluations.

Here is what we did.

1. If it is time for the 3-year evaluation, let the school do this testing so you can get the results. If you don’t, the school may argue that you wanted an outside evaluation and did not give them the chance to evaluate first. If you have the evaluation and you do not agree with it, then go to step 2.

2. Once you get the results of the school’s evaluation, request a DRAFT version of the report. Discuss the results with a professional (physician, therapist, etc).

3. Request that the school’s evaluation results list all scores as Grade Level Equivalents (GLE) so you can better understand where your child is. Be prepared for great resistance on this. When we got an outside evaluation, as a matter of standard practice, we always requested two things:

  • grade level equivalents
  • recommendations

To date the school’s multifactored evaluations (MFE) NEVER included grade level equivalents unless we requested it. Unless we requested recommendations, they were never included, except when the school wanted my son out of the program.

4. Send a request in writing to the school for the outside evaluation. Give the school 5 working days to respond. You do not have to give any reason except that you do not agree with the school’s findings. Request an outside evaluation at the school’s expense. I send a copy of my request to the special Ed director and the principal. I send one of the letters certified mail.

5. The school is supposed to send you an “exhaustive list” of places where you can get the outside evaluation done. You do not have to use anyone on this list. In fact, our attorney discouraged us from ever using anyone on the school’s list. We hired an expert in the area of our son’s disability. My youngest son is dyslexic. We hired a therapist whose expertise is dyslexia.

6. The school can refuse to pay for this outside evaluation and take you to court. This has never happened to me. I suspect that it is less expensive to pay for the test than to pay court expenses.

7. The first time we got an outside evaluation for our son we were amazed at the level of excellence of the report we received. It was easy to understand. There were pages and pages of excellent recommendations that were not unreasonable. The therapist who completed the test reviewed it in detail with us and agreed to meet with the school to discuss if necessary. The therapist may charge for this and the school is not obligated to pay her to be there in person.

8. Once the evaluation is completed, the school receives a copy of the report and a bill. The school pays the bill. The school is required to consider the results of the outside evaluation but they are not required to incorporate it.

9. We have found that the schools have incorporated almost all of the items on the outside evaluation into the IEP.

10. If you request what the evaluator recommends and the school refuses, they must give you a “prior written notice” to explain why they refuse.

______________________________________________

Sharon Lutz (Sharon L.) of Ohio is a parent of 3 sons with learning disabilities (ADHD and Dyslexia). Sharon is an advocate for her sons and has 25 years of experience working with school districts and the IEP process. She is a member of the Learning Disability Association.

Sharon is happy to share her information with parents so that others can benefit from her experiences in advocating for her children.

She started a parent advocate group that was successful in sharing ideas and strategies as well and providing information to parents and the community.

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6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Thomas 05/18/12 at 4:20 pm

    I have a child who has austim and the school district refuse to change his eligibility even after a outside evaluation was done. I have been given a prior written notice.

    What steps can I take to have them change his eligibility.

  • 2 Rebecca 05/16/12 at 9:00 am

    I am the parent of a Deaf Blind Academic child who started Middle School this year. She has some residual sight and some residual hearing. I am a Speech Language Pathologist and my daughter communicates expressively. Her challenges are accessing information that she does not see, nor hear. Her challenges are the lowest of low incidence. Visual acuity is 20/250 in the right eye and she can count fingers several feet from her face in the left eye. The school recently assessed her skills on a web based assessment, to obtain information for her PLAFF. I requested a copy of these tests results and the weaknesses indicated in their proposed IEP’s contradict the findings on the assessment. There is no RTI in place and I was told that it’s all individualized. The programs are not a one size fits all. Any thoughts?

  • 3 Parent/SpedTeacher/Advocate 05/16/12 at 1:34 am

    Too often, I have wittnessed a “professional” prompt, encourgage or simply influence the outcome of the assessments. I wittnessed this today.

    If I ever had to go through having my child assessed again, I would wait in line and pay for the outside evaluator knowing what I know now.

  • 4 Joe 05/15/12 at 4:51 pm

    Relying on grade equivalent scores shows a basic lack of understanding as to what these scores mean and do not mean. Perhaps the author met with “great resistance” on this because they can be very misleading and the people who demand them will likely then use them to come to the wrong conclusions. Good luck finding tests of cognitive ability that provide grade equivalent scores as well….

  • 5 Mike the Psych 12/12/11 at 9:35 pm

    Remember that when the team decides what relevant data is needed for a reeval, info from the parent should be part of the decision regarding what data is needed for the various domains. Don’t simply “let” the school conduct an eval if your intent is to request an outside independent eval regardless of the data the school gathers. The school can go due process to fight reimbursing the cost of a frivolously requested outside eval.

    On the issue of grade and age equivalent scores the school has good statistical standing to not report such scores as they are misleading. Equivalents can show growth on a given measure if there is a previous score to compare to as they reflect the raw scores, but there is not much utility beyond that

    More info:
    http://www.pearsonassessments.com/pai/ca/RelatedInfo/InterpretationAgeGradeEquivalents.h

  • 6 dad2luke 12/08/11 at 6:42 pm

    RE: 3 I have been asking for age equivalents. I then plot age at time of test vs. age equivalent score. Same idea but easier to understand. Last IEP meeting I got outright refusal to provide the age equivalent scores because of this.

    RE:6. Our District has started taking parents to court. I think that the District has decided it is the future costs of recommendations for services from outside persons for other parents is their concern. They want to get a reputation of fighting so that parents will back down from getting outside evaluations. Sadly, it has been working.
    In this case it is probably *more* important to get the outside evaluation.

    RE:10 I’d recommend writing your own PWN and asking if this is the case, rather than waiting for the District’s PWN, so the questions that concern you get answered.