Educational Records: MAINTAINING RECORDS

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Glenn:  Are there any federal laws or regulations that indicate how special education evaluation records must be maintained? Is a school system required to keep hard/paper copies of evaluation data and reports? Can these documents be stored solely electronically? Also, how long must evaluation records be kept after a student exits the school system? Thank you for any information.

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Jill G

Glenn –

FERPA is the federal student records law, and IDEA is the federal special education law. These laws treat student records mostly the same. Neither law dictates in what form records must be maintained, nor does either law specify a time frame for which records must be maintained.

FERPA is kind of a funny law. It does not actually require a district to create or maintain student records at all, and permits school to dispose of records as they see fit – except under one circumstance. If a record does exist, and an eligible individual (i.e. a parent or student) requests it, it cannot be destroyed until the request is completed.

IDEA of course required certain records to be created (e.g. evaluation reports, IEPs, written notices, etc.). Again, it does not set a time limit for maintaining documents. It does require that the school notify a parent before it destroys records associated with special education.

Individual states often have their own student records laws that do dictate specific time frame for maintaining records.


Thank you for the response. The information is helpful.


Does the law for retention for records vary by state?

Mom in GA

How do you request things like correspondence between school members and between the school and parents and other items that were not included when a copy of special education records was provided? I sent a letter like the one in the Wrightslaw book that specifically asks for copies of everything. Thanks!