Independent Evaluations: Should parents provide a copy for the school?

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I have just a short time to post today – I have a flight to MO this afternoon for the conference being held in the Jefferson City area on Thursday.

I did want to respond to a question from a public school speech language therapist who attended one of our conferences earlier this year.

This SLP finds herself in the position of being torn between the fear of retaliation from her employer and the desire to advocate for her student’s rights.

The school still uses the discrepancy model and the intervention team has refused to evaluate a five year old.

While hoping to keep her job, this school therapist took a “leap of faith” as she called it. She advised the mother to get an independent evaluation.

The mom requested a meeting to discuss the results of the evaluation – and the school psychologist asked for the parent to provide a copy of the report, before they will even agree to the meeting.

Should the parent provide the evaluation report to the school?

My answer is yes.

I recommend that when parents obtain private evaluations, they share them with the school district prior to a meeting.

If the school administration wants to fight and does not have the report in advance, then fight time will simply be delayed, to the detriment of the child.

If the school administration wants to provide services, then there will not be a delay.

At the same time, if a Judge was to review the history later, the Judge would wonder why a parent would withhold this report in advance of a meeting.

I tell parents to get a copy of new school evaluations in advance of meeting. The same standard should apply here. The parent should provide a copy of the independent evaluation to the team in advance.

Thanks to this therapist for being there and looking out for the parent and child’s rights.


Follow-up: School Evaluations: Should schools provide parents with a copy before an IEP meeting?

  1. If a child has an existing IEP and the school knows you are going to en IEE, once a school reviews the report, how long do they have to make appropriate changes to the IEP and/or accept or reject the IEE?

  2. I obtained a neuropsychological evaluation for my 4 year old daughter, prior the start of pre-school. The evaluation indicated, ADHD, Developmental Delays, behavior control. As the first evaluation, is the school required to accept this and provide services based on this IEE?

  3. After my involvement of 43 years in the school system, the school system still fights with parents over their rights to ask for evaluations and decisions that need to be made for their child. They have never realized that their salaries are paid for by the parents.

  4. Lyn – You mentioned being a Due Process and being afraid that IEE won’t be done before the hearing. I’ve been there 2x. My advise – explain to the Hearing Officer and ask that the hearing be postponed until the IEE is completed as it is relevant. This can be done through an order or your can request leave from the hearing process for this purpose. The other option is to withdraw your hearing request and then refile when the IEE is done. I know it is a bummer but you want everything available at that hearing. Some HO’s are flexible, others are only flexible when it meets their needs – try with the HO first, then you’ll have record that you tried/didn’t file frivolously (District can try to make you pay their Atty fees for this reason) and if all else fails withdraw. Also request HO to step in with getting records from the District

  5. We have been asking for an eval. for several (3) IEP meetings and it is not forthcoming, we are being stone-walled. Our child was diagnosed 3 times. 2nd grade as Bi-polar, 7th grade as Autistic-hi function/aspergers and now over half thru 8th grade as Bipolar.
    We are more than confused as services vary for differing diagnosis. Is Wrights Law still a resource for us, if not where. There seems to be no help group/service in my area and money is an object. Thanks, Ken

  6. Jennifer – You do not have to use a neuro psych that the school recommends. First of all they must give you a list of people that you can use for the outside evaluation. We requested an outside evaluation for our son who has dyslexia and the school gave us a list of people we could go to. We chose a person who our attorney recommended and the testing was exactly what we needed to get the school to hire a specific tutor that actually taught my son to read. The school must consider the results of the outside test but are not required to use it. Most of the time there is a compromise.

  7. Question regarding obtaining independent evaluations…
    School will pay for neuropsych through their provider who does not specialize in possible FAS issues. How to get the school to pay for a qualified neuropsych we found???

  8. I’m working with a attorney through public legal services. The district is insisting my neuro-psychologist who did the comprehensive evaluation visit my son in the classroom because they disagree with the findings. My professional is 90 miles away from my school. The district is only willing to pay for 2 hours of professional time plus .51 p/m on travel. My professional says, its a full day commitment, she requires two hours professional time plus $400 for travel. The district states they can only pay 2 hrs professional and .51 on the mile. My public attorney says, it weakens our position if the professional doesn’t go to the classroom. I would have to pay the difference. I have already paid a substantial amount for this professional because I disagreed with the 1st IEE where no raw data was used to diagnosis my son. What to do?

  9. Independent Evaluations: Should parents provide a copy for the school? by Barbara
    You would file the complaint with the state. I suggest that you have an attorney or qualified person help you with the complaint. I filed a complaint once, they disregarded it on a technicality, and I lost. Then I could not get anywhere with the school because they were angry that I filed it so it was waste of time. I am not telling you this to discourage you but to encourage you to get help from a qualified person who knows the ropes so you don’t miss anything that needs to be in the complaint.

  10. I requested an IEE which the school paid for. However, the psychologist used test scores on my child’s IEP to determine my child has MR. My child has PDD-NOS but does not have MR. I obtained a private IEE for my child at a center that specializes with children on the spectrum.. It was concluded that my son has an ASD. My school district refuses to accept the findings and insist on going with the results from the IEE that they paid for. Can I file a formal complaint regarding the ethics of the psychologist that lifted test scores and applied to his IEE? I’m insisting that the IEE wasn’t independant as no testing with related was provided. If I can file a complaint, where would I do it, i.e., state department of education, office of medical professions, both?

  11. As a school psych, I understand the burden of an unreasonable caseload mentioned previously by a school psychologist who posted on here. I am frequently working on reports mere days before the IEP. HOWEVER, when requested by a parent to receive a copy of the report in advance, I do whatever it takes to get them that report ahead of the IEP. Many parents appreciate having the time to look at the report and formulate questions and to process it. The reason I don’t provide reports in advance as a matter of course, is that best practice includes face-to-face explanation and interaction to answer questions or clarify, and to explain results within the context of information being shared by other professionals (and parents) at the IEP. That can’t occur if a parent is just reading my report at home without the benefit of dialogue.

  12. Does this apply to psychological/psychiatric evals? If the school says the child is a danger to herself/peers and the evaluation shows she is not but has other issues that the mother would rather not share with the school – Does the Mother have to provide a copy of the eval? School says yes before the child can return to school, they need a copy of the eval. Help… trying to help a friend and I’m stuck!

  13. I know as a parent, I should be willing to share all evals and data prior to the IEP meeting. I have been in a dispute with our school for 3 yrs.
    It wasn’t until January 2009, when he discussed suicidal ideation with a high school volunteer at recess, that the school took notice and put him on a 504 (which they did not implement the accommodations).
    In Aug 2009, we had an independent eval. Among other issues, he is 5 years behind in fine motor (we asked for an OT eval in April 2009 – the team said there was nothing wrong, and he did not need an eval). They said they need that data prior to scheduling the mtg. I think they just want to “write their script” on how to say he doesn’t qualify prior to the mtg.
    Am I required by law to share our recent results with the team PRIOR to our IEP meeting?

  14. I agree about sharing the IEE. When I advocate for parents I advise them to share the information so that the “Team” can make an informed decision about the student’s needs and appropriate remediation and intervention can be addressed. Down the line, you are right it can come back and bite the parents for not sharing, and a Judge would want to know why it was not shared. It has been to our advantage to share because ultimately it is what is appropriate for our child to learn.

  15. We are from Missouri, and we requested testing for our daughter, even though we suspected dyslexia and the school district only tests for reading disabilites (and uses the discrepancy model). We were denied testing so we had an independent evaluation that concluded classic dyslexia. We presented the testing (at the meeting-before school started), asked for the 504 accomodations and for the test results to be put in her cum file. They did not say they would put the testing in her file yet. I have strong feelings the request will be denied…preparing for worst, hoping for best.

  16. what types of evaluations are recommended to determine progress, lack of progress or regression. Should these be independent evaluations, and how does one go about getting the school district to pay or compensate the parents for these?

  17. I am going through a battle right now with my son’s school on getting a Independent Evaluation. My son has been tagged Intellectually Disabled since kindergarten and know he is in the 5th grade and very little improvement has been shown. I feel the teachers are just passing him to pass him. At the beginning of this school year, he came home with papers of work he had done in class and my son does not know how to spell the months of year or the days of the week. They gave him a 100%. It is like they are grading him for making an effort. My son has IEP. Until I found this website, I did not know that I was a member of his IEP team? Of course, I signed his IEP paper at the meetings? I am so enraged!! I have begun to take responsibility to call, write, and appear to make sure my son is being taught. I am researching.

  18. Regarding the difference between LMB and school testing: I just want to add a caveat here. I do agree that various tests the schools give often grade the students higher than what they actually do. Regarding LMB. They are highly respected for remediation and identification of reading problems. They are a private organization and need a profit.

    As a special educator and reading specialist, I try and glean scores from a variety of testing instruments. Screenings that many special educators use, like the WRAT, are totally ineffecient to obtain an accurate reading score; and sometimes, if you average the scores of phontics and comprehension–the scores can come out okay, but in reality, one is at a great deficit.

  19. The school psychologist stated that there is no legal mandate to provide a copy of the report before the team meeting. If a parent requests a copy prior to the IEP Meeting, yes, there is a legal mandate to provide a copy.

    The psych eval is an education record. See 34 CFR 300.613(a) which states that if a parent requests those records, “The agency must comply with a request without unnecessary delay and before any meeting regarding an IEP. . .” There is no wiggle room on this such as poor time management practices by the school district. (That reg is located on page 272 in Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Ed.)

    See also the Commentary to the Federal Special Education Regs at page 46645, bottom of second column through third column. The US Dept of Ed, in responding to comments about their proposed regulations, and as a part of the issuance of the final Regs, stated:

    ” Comment: One commenter recommended that parents receive evaluation reports prior to an IEP Team meeting because the reports may have information that parents need to participate in making decisions about the IEP. The commenter stated that, if parents receive reports at meetings, rather than before the meetings, they cannot be active participants. Another commenter stated that parents should be provided with copies of documents related to the determination of eligibility at least five days prior to the eligibility determination meeting.

    Discussion: The Act does not establish a timeline for providing a copy of the evaluation report or the documentation of determination of eligibility to the parents and we do not believe that a specific timeline should be included in the regulations because this is a matter that is best left to State and local discretion. It is, however, important to ensure that parents have the information they need to participate meaningfully in IEP Team meetings, which may include reviewing their child’s records. Section 300.613(a) requires a public agency to comply with a parent request to inspect and review existing education records, including an evaluation report, without unnecessary delay and before any meeting regarding an IEP, and in no case more than 45 days after the request has been made. This includes the right to a response from the public agency to reasonable requests for explanations and interpretations of records, consistent with § 300.613(b)(1).”

    Note: The link to the Commentary is:


  20. Some notes in regard to receiving psychoducational and other reports from the district in advance. As a school psychologist who serves over 2000 students and writes over 120 reports a year, I have to say that in most cases in which I do not provide a copy of my report when such a report is requested it is because it is not complete until the day (or shortly before) the meeting. I would add that there is no legal mandate for such a report to be provided BEFORE the team meets.

    On the other hand, by not providing the team with external reports with some time for perusal, you (the parent/client) risk those data being less than fully taken into account.

    The relationship may not be a fully reciprocal one, but such is the nature of the beast.

  21. I have always shared any evaluations we obtained independently with the school. Unfortunately the courtesy has been refused to us. The “School Team” decided they needed to do their own observations to confirm (deny) my sons most recent diagnisis of Asperger’s. A speach and Language person did an assessment and the School Systems Autism person made some observations. I asked both of the ladies to please forward a copy of their report in advance of the meeting so that our time suring the meeting would be better used discussing the content not trying to read and discuss on the spot. The response from the Autism person is as follows: “Sorry about the delay. I needed to get some clarification. I am not writing a report. I will have my observation notes in typed form in time for the meeting, so the team has something to refer to as I explain my observations. This is observational data for the team to interpret and use in developing the IEP. See you at the meeting” which I received on 1/11/08 in responce to my request on 12/12/07. This is typical for this group. We have not received a single evaluation from the school prior to a meeting. I still forward any info I have in an attempt to facilitate the process, even if they refuse.

  22. I agree that the parent should provide the IEE.
    Now here’s our problem concerning our IEE and IEP: [Background: Our son has been in Special Ed at our district since preschool He is now in 2nd grade.] We had our first meeting for his new IEP with the CST in January; afterward, because we recognized that our son had some dyslexic traits and was having trouble in school, we decided to have an IEE done since the district said they did not evaluate for dyslexia until 3rd grade.
    We had an IEE done in February and provided the district a copy prior to our 2nd IEP meeting in March. The IEE said he did not have dyslexia, but has expressive language issues. In the meanwhile, the district discontinued Speech Therapy at the end of Jan without our consent. Further, we told them three times in writing that ST should have continued until the end of the school year. They asked us if they could conduct a speech & language eval, to which we consented. We rec’vd their March eval prior to our March meeting. There the district told us that they disagreed with our IEE, and that our son did not need further Speech and Lang therapy. We then worked with the CST to develop our son’s IEP.
    Since April, I have sent the IEP back three times for inaccuracies, this last time because the district will not put in our IEE as a source used to develop the IEP, and they have not acknowledged discontinuing the ST prior to their S&L Eval. How much longer should I give this? We have recordings of the meetings and our letters as proof and documentation.

  23. What if a school does not do ALL of the evaluations needed to address ALL the disabilities of a child and/or only do “informal” evaluations? We have asked and received some IEEs (speech, OT and Ed. eval.), but it has not changed the remediation process or level of intervention (i.e., he is 1-3 SD in fine motor/gross motor, vestibular, auditory processing, language skills and academic skills,etc., BUT we only got on an “average” of less than 15 min. of “indirect” OT for the calendar year (510 hrs./yr.). He has been on Earobics for 2 yrs. and still cannot do any vowel phonics, blending, etc.; continually denied for ESY (based on no regression); No eval on APD and no goals/objectives in IEP; Told I cannot put more than 5-6 goals per subject area (how can I get him caught up to peers — TEKS are modified, content modified, achievement standards are modified — to me that equals falling further behind each year); Test scores were at zero (except two areas) in K on TPRI, 1st Grade — improved somewhat, but zero in reading again. MAP tests in low percentile ranking (between 1-7%). They state that his test scores do not correctly reflect his abilities due to inept cognitive skills. What do I do to help this child?

  24. Can you request an IEE before the school has completed their testing? I am in due process and the school will not give us our son’s testing. We made an IDEA request for all testing that is and was being done for his trienniel last month. They said they are continuing the IEP and that the testing and reports are not done and they will not provide them to us. until they are complete.

    We don’t know if we will have time for the IEE request or even the IEEs before we will be in hearing…They started his trienniel last month in order to meet an IEP deadline date, but they only reported old goals. They then called what they refer to as a ‘continuation’ of the trienniel to tell us what school our son will go to…Now they are scheduling another (a month from the first) to do what a normal trienniel should have done (tests and reporting and new goals). Meantime, we are having a resolution meeting next week.

  25. The parent was given reading scores that the school used to evaluate reading progress and progress with specific skills this year. The parent had the child tested privately at Lindamood Bell within weeks of the school evaluation. The scores are hugely different. The school says that the child is grade levels ahead of where the LMB says. (Age-14, 8th grade, reading at primary level)

    The parent requested an IEE at an ESY meeting. The school Special services director denied it in the meeting and said that he would send prior written notice. He did. He states that it isn’t an “evaluation” and that it is just a test. He said that he wasn’t given a full “comprehensive” evaluation and that they had paid for an IEE in June 2007.

    I have read IDEA forwards and backwards and this is not how I am interpreting it. I see it that with the PWN, they should file a DP complaint and defend their reason for denying the IEE and their scores. Also, the burden of proof would be on them rather than the parent.

    The school is using this as another stall and delay tactic.

    If the school refuses to file for DP, does the parent file and if so will the school still have the burden of proof? How does this work?

  26. Yes! Kuddos to the educator who tipped the parent off! That made my day today. I hope the child received the services they needed.

  27. I totally agree with Pete, for all the reasons he stated. But I would add one more. If you want to be treated with respect, the best way to behave is in a respectful manner. Not a timid manner, just with respect. You freely share information about your child with the school and they should do that with you as well. Sometimes we parents must set a higher standard so that we are the example! Paula, Parent Mentor in Ohio

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