Evaluations: EVALUATION REQUIRED PRIOR TO TRIENNIAL REVIEW?

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Beverley:  8th grader will go to high school next Sept. Her triennial review is due now. The Multidisciplinary team isn’t asking for a new evaluation. They believe the current evaluation data and school data is sufficient to continue special education services. Since she is going into high school are we obligated to do a reevaluation even though the team doesn’t deem it necessary?

  1. We have a scheduled triennial for this year, but we have currently filed a state complaint and our scheduled for mediation with the school district. We have reported significant regression in academic levels for the past two years and have requested out of district placement due to this concern.
    How will the re-evaluation be helpful in this process or will it hinder the decisions of the district?

  2. My students missed their triennials due to the pandemic. The school district reviewed their files only. I’m concerned about my 7th grader who should have been evaluated last year but was only reviewed. This means she will not have an evaluation entering high school. Do I have the right to ask the district to complete an assessment that was due in 2020? They did a review but no evaluation.

    • Yes, you can request that your child be reevaluated. The school “shall ensure that a reevaluation of each child with a disability
      is conducted
      … if the local educational agency determines that the educational or related services needs, including improved academic achievement and functional performance, of the child warrant a reevaluation; or if the child’s parents or teacher requests a reevaluation.

      The school does not have to reevaluate more often than once a year unless the school and parent agree to more frequent assessments.20 USC 1414(a)(2)

      After all the ups and downs parents and children have endured during the past two years, it’s strange to think a “review” is sufficient.

      • It’s important to remember that a reevaluation means to reevaluate the data. It does not necessarily mean a new psychological.

        • A reevaluation does *not* mean to “reevaluate the data.” What data would you reevaluate? Old data from earlier evaluations? (There is a provision in IDEA about reviewing existing evaluation data as part of an initial eval or any reevaluation.)

          The law describes Evaluations and Reevaluations as a multi-step process. “Review of Existing Evaluation Data” is one step in that process. Reviewing existing data is not the same as evaluating or reevaluating a child.

          In IDEA, Section 1414(a)+(b)+(c) is about evaluations and reevaluations which are used to determine “the educational needs of the child” and “the present levels of academic achievement and related developmental needs of the child.”

          The law includes several examples or scenarios when the school must reevaluate – if the child’s needs change, if the parents or teacher requests a reevaluation, to determine the present levels, to determine the child’s educational and/or related services needs, etc.

          The requirements for a reevaluation are essentially the same as for an initial evaluation. IDEA describes these requirements in Subsections (b) and (c). These subsections are long but well worth reading if you are dealing with these issues. (see pgs 95-98 in Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition)

          Subsection (c) is Additional Requirements for Evaluation and Reevaluations – this is the part about reviewing existing evaluation data as one part of an initial evaluation and any reevaluation (not instead of a reevaluation).

      • I know it’s strange to think a review is sufficient, but the review is a much more holistic approach and will give you the data needed. Formal testing increases anxiety for kids (unfamiliar person, room, knows they’re being tested, etc), and those tests are ALL normed on non-autistic kids. They take no consideration in the different neurotype (neurodivergent) for our kids, leaving us with peaks and dips in scores. Then we create goals based on deficits and wonder why there’s minimal progress. Requesting for formal testing is harmful in many situations. The authors of the tests (literally, ever single test), use ableist language. It all leads to making kids be someone they’re not, which leads to masking, burnout, and in adult life, suicide. And parents struggle through a kids tenure on an IEP. The system needs to change, and it begins with getting more holistic view of the child (*hint, the valuable input on a day to day basis that teachers, the parent and feedback from the kids). Another reason why IEEs are not only a waste of time and money, but lead to harm by trying to ‘fix’ kids.

  3. Our son had his 3 year evals due in November, when we had the Eval Review/IEP meeting I found out that 2 of the evals had not been done– OT, and the VB-MAPP that we had requested when we signed the consent form (wrote it on the appropriate line at the bottom). I finally received the 2 evals in January….they were emailed to me….should the district have scheduled another team meeting to discuss these evaluations? They aren’t even mentioned in the IEP. (which we rejected and still have not resolved.)

  4. The acting director of Special Education in our area declared that the review of records conducted this year will take the place of the triennial. Some the reevaluations are expired by 1 to 3 years. Is this decision legal?

    • IDEA rules allow a review of records to replace a full evaluation. However, the parent is to be informed of this and if they ask for a full evaluation, the district must do that.

        • I am not sure what you are asking, Andrea. If the school or parent want records released to non-school staff the parent must sign consent for this. If parents are requesting a copy of their child’s records, the school will likely want the parent to sign a form to show that the documents were released to them.

  5. My 12th grade is going for a triennial evaluation. Is this necessary or can we just stay with the current.

  6. I just had a reeval done and according to the information provided to the campus, the ARDC felt is was appropriate to not evaluate. No parental information was sought beforehand and the information presented 3 years is no longer applicable to the needs of my child. I was asked about things my child does at home and not the needs I am concerned about at school. None of the information makes any sense and I don’t know where to go from here. The SLP is the only one recommending an eval and I have refused due to her recommendations of observation and/or consultative services, not direct services to my child. The copy I received has several boxes unchecked and/or no discussion was had. The LSSP sent me a letter two days later with corrections that were found but am not allowed to change errors.

  7. This question is troubling.

    Here is what the law says about reevaluations:

    The school district shall ensure that a reevaluation of each child with a disability is conducted “at least once every 3 years, unless the parent and the local educational agency agree that a reevaluation is unnecessary.” 20 USC 1414(a)(2); page 95 in Wrightslaw: Special Education Law

    You write “The Multidisciplinary team isn’t asking for a new evaluation because “they believe the current evaluation data and school data is sufficient.” What is your role? What does the parent think? Does the parent know that the law requires the school to re-evaluate “at least once every three years” unless both parent and school agree that it is unnecessary?

    It’s hard to imagine how a three-year-old evaluation, completed when a child was in 5th grade, could provide accurate info about the child’s present levels of academic achievement and functional performance or the child’s current educational needs as she enters high school. How do you use three-year-old old data to develop an appropriate IEP?

    • Present levels can be determined with academic testing (Woodcock-Johnson, eg), along with parent and teacher interviews, record review, and observations. Can the triennial be conducted with just that data, or does the psych also have to conduct general ability and processing tests too? Our resource teacher is trying to test a 9-year old, diagnosed AUT long ago, and both student and teacher are finding it grueling. I’d hate to have to subject him to more tests than necessary; he is obviously still going to qualify under AUT. Thank you for your help, and for all the work Wrightslaw has done and continues to do for our kids, teachers, and us psychs too!

      • IDEA 2004 introduced the concept of review of existing evaluation data (REED) (300.305) to deal with situations like this. The IEP team determines what additional evaluation data, if any is needed.

    • I would like to have a deeper answer explaining the differences between REED and FIE than the vague ones found in IDEA and given to me by the diagnostician and the school District’s Board of Education. If my child’s last FIE was done when she was 3 yrs old (PPCD) and the IEP/ARD team decided to keep going with REED every three yrs. shouldn’t my daughter have an FIE done since she’s 15 yrs old now?

      Also, I quoted Wrightslaw today about copyright’s being false however, the school wouldn’t budge from it, I even brought up the Freedom of Information Act and nothing. Long story short, ABAS has been updated & I’m wanting to compare it to the old version to see the changes that were made but the school won’t send a copy home before I decide to move forward on an FIE or REED.

      Any help is great!

      • Kristine, the IDEA rules say that the school can decide that a REED is adequate, but the parent has the right to request an assessment. 300.305(d) You can make this request in writing to the special ed office. I work for the TX parent training and information center. You can find our staff person that works with your area at: http://www.prntexas.org

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