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School Plans to Re-Evaluate My Child Without “Testing”

08/16/12
by Pam Wright

The school district plans to re-evaluate my son entering kindergarten. The re-eval will not involve “testing.” The school says they will only observe him and interview the parents.

Does the district need to do some kind of standardized testing?

I wish school staff were required to know what the law says – it would save everyone so much time and help to prevent breaches in trust that are hard to repair.

The school is required to evaluate the child unless the parent and school agree that a reevaluation is unnecessary.

The school must reevaluate if the parent or teacher requests a reevaluation.

  • The school is not required to evaluate more often than once a year unless the parents and school agree otherwise.
  • The school must evaluate at least every three years unless the parent and school agree that a reevaluation is not necessary.

Nothing in the law supports the school’s refusal to reevaluate or their belief that an observation and interviewing the parents IS a reevaluation.

It should be clear to anyone that the needs of a young child who is entering kindergarten are changing often. This is especially true for children who have disabilities.

For young children, there is a “window of opportunity” that affects their ability to learn speech, language and reading.  This window will begin to close sooner than we like.

IDEA Requirements

The IDEA requires the child’s IEP to include “a statement of the child’s present levels of academic achievement and functional performance.”

If a child has not been evaluated for a year or more, the IEP team will not have information about the child’s present levels of academic achievement and functional performance on which to base the IEP.

The Law about Evaluations and Re-evaluations

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition

The law about evaluations and re-evaluations is in section 1414 (a) (b), and (c)  in on pages 95-98.

The regulations are in pages 238-243.

At top of page 95, see (2) Reevaluations. The school district “shall ensure that a reevaluation … is conducted … if the child’s parents or teacher requests a reevaluation.” The word “shall” means that the school must do this. Period.

Just below this is (b) Evaluation Procedures – describes the procedures and requirements for evaluations and re-evaluations. The school “shall use a variety of assessment tools and strategies to gather relevant functional developmental, and academic information, including information provided by the parent…” and “may not use any single measure or assessment as the sole criterion for determining whether the child is a child with a disability or determining an appropriate educational program for the child…” (measures and assessments are tests)

On page 96, Subsection (A) describes “Assessments and other evaluation materials used to assess a child” (tests), that these tests should “yield accurate information on what the child knows and can do academically, developmentally, and functionally” that the “assessments or measures are  valid and reliable” and “are administered by trained and knowledgeable personnel” and are administered in accordance with instructions from the test publisher.

On page 96, Subsection (B) requires the school to assess the child “in all areas of suspected disability.”

Subsection (4)–Determination of eligibility and educational need– describes assessments and other evaluation measures used to determine the educational needs of the child. Assessments and evaluation measures refer to objective tests.

On page 97, Subsection (C)–Additional Requirements for Evaluation and Reevaluations–includes several requirements. The IEP team “shall review existing evaluation data, identify what additional data are needed, to determine the educational needs of the child … The present levels of academic achievement and developmental needs of the child, whether the child needs any additions or modifications to the special education and related services said the child can meet the measurable annual goals in the IEP.” In subsection (2) Source of data–the school district “shall administer such assessments and the other evaluation measures as may be needed to produce the data identified by the IEP”. (more references to tests)

Subsection (4) Requirements if additional data are not needed. If the school team determines that no additional data are needed, they “shall notify the child’s parents… Of the right of such parents to request an assessment… to determine child’s educational needs…”

It’s more than ignorance of the law – perhaps a pervasive mistrust of standardized testing?

I read an article on Education Week recently about a survey of 10,000 public school teachers -they don’t believe standardized tests are of value in measuring progress.

“Most teachers do not believe standardized tests have significant value as measures of student performance, according to a new report published jointly by Scholastic and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.”

“The report, based on a survey of more than 10,000 public school teachers, finds that only 28 percent of educators see state-required standardized tests as an essential or very important gauge of student achievement. In addition, only 26 percent of teachers say standardized tests are an accurate reflection of what students know.”

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7 Comments on "School Plans to Re-Evaluate My Child Without “Testing”"


Michelle
09/22/2012

I represented my son (pro se) at a BSEA Hearing and one of the material facts in my complaint was that the school district did not re-evaluate him for over 4.5 years and was refusing to re-evaluate him. Upon receipt of the complaint the school district agreed to evaluate, which they did prior to the hearing. I disagreed with the evaluation results but had not had time to have an IEE prior to hearing. The result was the school district had the burden of proof on the prospective placement after the evaluation. The decision of the H.O. stated that it was “inconclusive” and as a result ordered the school to do an evaluation, BUT limited the scope of the re-evaluation. The school district never did the evaluation. I have since unilaterally placed my son but an unsure how to proceed as to legal standard of evaluations ordered by H.O.s.

dad2luke
08/27/2012

RE: I was stunned when school staff did not seem to understand the need for objective data on a hearing impaired/ deaf child who is entering their Kindergarten program

I guess that I should be stunned as well, but sadly, I am not. My district seems to use its (willful) ignorance to justify denying services. We have been in a similar position and pretty much had to get an outside assessment to be able argue for services.

I still believe that in the long run, a due process hearing (for an IEE) decides if what the school did was appropriate.

08/19/2012

Morning, Thanks for putting this up.