The Superintendent or his/her designee shall develop and implement appropriate procedures for considering the need for and, where appropriate, conducting an evaluation or reevaluation of a child reasonably suspected of or identified as having a qualifying disability. An evaluation shall cover all domains which are relevant to the individual child under consideration. Upon completion of the evaluation or reevaluation, a determination shall be made as to the child’s initial or continued eligibility for services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Screening procedures used by a teacher or specialist to determine appropriate instructional strategies for curriculum development shall not be considered an evaluation.
Testing of high school students for purposes other than determining eligibility or service needs in the elementary/secondary school setting, such as for reasonable accommodations in post-secondary educational or work settings, falls outside of the evaluation obligations of the District under State or federal law. An IEP Team shall not include in an eligible student’s IEP testing which is unrelated to the determination of eligibility and services to be provided in association with the student’s elementary or secondary education. Parents and students may be referred to third parties who regularly provide testing for post secondary opportunities, such as the State vocational rehabilitation agency or private evaluators, should the need arise.
RULES AND REGULATIONS
1. Date of Referral: The date on which,
A. informed written consent to complete an evaluation or reevaluation is received from Parent, and
B. the special education evaluation timeline begins.
2. Domain: An aspect of a child’s functioning or performance that must be considered in the course of designing a case study evaluation. The domains to be considered are health, vision, hearing, social-emotional status, functional performance, cognitive functioning, academic performance, communication status and motor abilities.
Requesting An Evaluation
1. Procedures: The Superintendent or his/her designee shall develop or make known to all concerned persons procedures by which an evaluation may be requested. These procedures shall:
A. REQUIREMENTS: Designate the steps to be taken in making a request for an evaluation;
B. RESPONSIBLE STAFF: Designate the person(s) to whom a request may be made;
C. CONTENT: Identify the information that must be provided;
D. ASSISTANCE: Provide any assistance that may be necessary to enable persons making requests to meet any related requirements established by the District; and
E. PARENT NOTICE: Identify the process for providing Parent(s) with notice of their rights with respect to procedural safeguards.
2. Persons Who May Request An Evaluation: A request for an evaluation may be made by a Parent or by an employee of a State educational agency, another State agency, a local educational agency or a community service agency.
District Response to A Request For Evaluation
Upon receipt of a referral for a special education evaluation, the District shall be responsible for processing the request, deciding what action should be taken and initiating the necessary procedures, in accordance with the following:
1. Screening: To determine whether the child requires an evaluation, appropriate District staff may use screening data, observations, instructional assessment data, consultation with the teacher or other individual making the request and/or a conference with the student.
2. Determination of Whether to Evaluate: Within 14 school days after receiving a request for an evaluation, appropriate District staff shall determine whether an evaluation is warranted. If a decision is made not to conduct an evaluation, Parent(s) shall be provided written notice of the decision, as required by State and federal law, and may appeal this decision in an impartial due process hearing.
3. Domain Review: If an evaluation is to be conducted:
A. IEP TEAM: A team of individuals having knowledge and skills necessary to administer and interpret evaluation data shall be convened. The composition of the team will vary depending upon the nature of the student’s symptoms/ educational needs and other relevant factors. Parent(s) shall be included on the team.
B. SCOPE OF ASSESSMENT: The IEP Team shall identify the assessments necessary to complete the evaluation, pursuant to procedures described below, and document the evaluation procedures to be conducted. Individual team members qualified to conduct assessments in each domain area will provide recommendations for additional testing within that domain, if any, and the reasons therefore for team discussion. Each domain shall describe the needed assessments or explain why none are needed.
C. PARENT NOTIFICATION:
i) Within 14 days of receipt of the request for evaluation Parent(s) shall be provided with a written copy of the completed domain review, along with the District’s request for Parent(s)’ informed written consent to conduct the needed assessments and a copy of the “Notice of Procedural Safeguards.”
ii) In the event Parent(s) is not present for the domain review meeting or does not respond to District efforts to timely schedule the meeting, the meeting may occur, provided the District has documented its reasonable efforts to schedule the meeting with Parent(s) at a mutually agreeable time. Parent(s) will be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, prior written notice of the District’s proposed evaluation, in the form required by IDEA’s regulations.
4. Informed Consent: Informed written consent for an initial evaluation shall be obtained from the Parent before conducting the evaluation.
Identification of Needed Assessments
The following procedures shall be used for determining the scope of an evaluation:
1. Review of Existing Information: The IEP Team members shall review and evaluate existing information about the child, including the following if available:
A. Information from a variety of formal and informal sources, including information provided by the child’s Parent(s);
B. Current classroom-based assessments and observations;
C. Observations by teachers and providers of related services;
D. Information, if any, provided by the child; and
E. Information from specialized evaluations such as those performed by independent evaluators, medical evaluators, behavioral intervention specialists, bilingual specialists, et-cetera.
2. Identification of Additional Information Needs: After review of existing information, the IEP Team members shall determine whether additional evaluation data is needed in any relevant domain and from what source(s) to determine:
A. Whether the child has, or continues to have, one or more qualifying disabling conditions;
B. The present levels of performance and educational needs of the child;
C. Whether the disability is adversely affecting the child’s educational performance;
D. Whether the child needs or continues to need, special education and related services; and
E. Whether any additions or modifications to the child’s special education and related services are needed to enable the child to meet the goals and objectives of his/her IEP and to participate appropriately in the general curriculum.
3. IEP Meeting: The team may conduct its needed assessment review without a meeting.
1. Conducting the Evaluation: In conducting the evaluation, the IEP Team will:
A. MULTIPLE APPROACHES: Use a variety of assessment tools and strategies to gather relevant functional, developmental and academic information about the child, including information provided by the Parent(s) that may assist in determining:
i) Whether the child is a child with a disability;
ii) The content of the child’s IEP, if determined eligible.
B. MULTIPLE CRITERIA: Not use any single measure or assessment as the sole criterion for determining whether a child is a child with a disability and for determining an appropriate educational program for the child.
C. VALID INSTRUMENTS: Use technically sound instruments that may assess the relative contribution of cognitive and behavioral factors, in addition to physical or developmental factors.
D. NONDISCRIMINATION: Each evaluation shall be conducted so as to ensure that it is nondiscriminatory with respect to language, culture, race, and gender.
i) The languages used to evaluate a child shall be consistent with the child’s primary language or other mode of communication. Determination of the child’s language use pattern and general cultural identification shall be made by determining the languages spoken in the child’s home and the languages used most comfortably and frequently by the child. If the language use pattern involves two or more languages or modes of communication, the child shall be evaluated by qualified specialists or, when needed, qualified bilingual specialists using each of the languages or modes of communication used by the child.
ii) If documented efforts to locate and secure the services of a qualified bilingual specialist are unsuccessful, the District shall use an individual who possesses the professional credentials required under 23 Ill. Admin. Code 226.840 to complete the specific components of the evaluation. This qualified specialist shall be assisted by a certificated District employee or other individual who has demonstrated competencies in the language of the child.
iii) If documented efforts to locate and secure the services of a qualified bilingual specialist or a qualified specialist assisted by another individual are unsuccessful, the District shall conduct assessment procedures which do not depend upon language. Any special education resulting from such alternative procedures shall be reviewed annually until the student’s proficiency is determined no longer to be limited pursuant to 23 Ill. Admin. Code 228.
iv) Tests given to a child whose primary language is other than English shall be relevant, to the maximum extent possible, to his/her culture.
v) Determination of the child’s mode of communication shall be made by assessing the extent to which the child uses verbal expressive language and the use he or she makes of other modes of communication (e.g., gestures, signing, unstructured sounds) as a substitute for verbal expressive language.
vi) If the child’s receptive and/or expressive communication skills are impaired due to hearing and/or language deficits, the District shall utilize test instruments and procedures that do not stress spoken language and one of the following:
(1) Visual communication techniques in addition to auditory techniques; or
(2) An interpreter to assist the evaluative personnel with language and testing.
vii) The child’s language use pattern, proficiency in English, mode of communication, and general cultural identification shall be noted in the child’s temporary student record, and this information shall be used in the evaluation and in the development and implementation of the individualized education program, as applicable.
2. Assessment Instruments: Assessments and their evaluation materials must be:
A. Used for the purposes for which the assessments or measures are valid and reliable;
B. Administered by trained and knowledgeable personnel; and
C. Administered in accordance with any instructions provided by the producer of the assessments.
Timeline for Convening Evaluation Review Meeting
1. Generally: Upon completion of the evaluation, but no later than 60 school days from the date of receipt of informed written consent from the Parent(s), determination of eligibility shall be made in an IEP meeting.
2. Exception: If there are fewer than 60 school days remaining in the school year, the evaluation will be completed and a meeting to consider the evaluation data will be convened prior to the first day of the next school year.
Determination of Eligibility
1. Eligibility Considerations: The IEP Team, after considering the evaluation and other information available regarding the child, shall determine whether the child is or continues to be eligible for special education and related services as a child with a
disability as defined by federal and State law and the child’s educational needs. In making this determination, the IEP Team shall:
A. INFORMATION SOURCES: Draw upon information from a variety of sources, which may include achievement tests, Parent(s) input, teacher recommendations, physical condition, social or cultural background, and adaptive behavior;
B. DOCUMENTATION AND CONSIDERATION: Ensure that information obtained from all of these sources is documented and considered; and
C. SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS: Ensure that a psychological evaluation has been conducted and a recommendation for eligibility has been made by a school psychologist for all children determined mentally impaired.
2. Exclusionary Considerations: A child may not be found eligible if the determinant factor for that decision is lack of instruction in reading or math or limited English proficiency and the child does not otherwise meet the District’s eligibility criteria.
3. Documentation: A report of the IEP meeting will be prepared containing the following:
A. SUMMARY OF DISCUSSION: A description of the team’s consideration of pre-existing information about the child, all new evaluation results obtained and any other information relevant to the decision about the child’s eligibility, which relates the information considered to the child’s needs and conforms to the requirements relating to identifying students suspected of or having a specific learning disability, if applicable;
B. DATE: The date of the meeting;
C. PARTICIPANTS: The signatures of the participants, indicating their presence at the meeting; and
D. DISSENTING OPINIONS: Any separate written statement provided by a participant who wishes to be on record as disagreeing with the conclusions expressed in the team’s report.
E. NONSTANDARD ASSESSMENT CONDITIONS: If an assessment is conducted under nonstandard conditions, a description of the extent to which the assessment varied from standard conditions shall be included in the evaluation report. This information is needed so that the team of evaluators can assess the effects of these variances on the validity and reliability of the information reported and determine whether additional assessments are needed.
F. UNOBTAINABLE INFORMATION: If any needed portion of the evaluation cannot be completed due to lack of parental involvement, religious convictions of the family or inability of the child to participate in an evaluative procedure, the District shall note the missing portions of the child’s evaluation report and state the reasons why those portions could not be completed.
G. PARENT COPY: A copy of the completed document will be provided to the Parent(s). If requested, a copy of any evaluation reports also will be provided.
H. NOTICE OF ELIGIBILITY DETERMINATION: No later than 10 school days following the IEP meeting, the Parent(s)will be provided a written notice of the determination of the team, in compliance with 23 Ill. Admin. Code 226.520.
4. Procedural Safeguard: At the conclusion of an eligibility determination meeting, Parent(s) are to be advised of their right to seek an independent educational evaluation if they disagree with the results of the District’s evaluation.
5. Record Maintenance: A copy of the IEP Team’s report, together with all documentation upon which it is based will be maintained in the child’s temporary education record, in accordance with confidentiality requirements.
6. IEP Development Meeting: In the event that the child is determined to be eligible for special education and related services, an IEP meeting to develop the student’s IEP shall be conducted within 30 days after the date of that determination and no later than 60 school days from the Date of Referral. This meeting may be conducted simultaneously with a meeting to review evaluation results.
Additional Requirements for Determination of a Specific Learning Disability
1. Criteria: The criteria for identifying children with specific learning disabilities,
A. RTI: Must permit the use of a process based on the child’s response to scientific, research-based intervention and, by 2010-2011 school year, require the use of a process that determines how the child responds to scientific, research-based interventions as part of the evaluation procedure;
B. OTHER PROCEDURES: May permit the use of other alternative research-based procedures to determine whether a child has a specific learning disability, as defined by federal law; and
C. DISCREPANCY MODEL: May permit the use of a severe discrepancy between intellectual ability and achievement for determining whether a child has a specific learning disability.
2. Additional IEP Participants: The eligibility determination shall be made by a team consisting of the child’s Parent(s) and a team of qualified professionals, which must include:
A. REGULAR TEACHER: The child’s regular teacher, or, if the child does not have a regular teacher, a regular classroom teacher qualified to teach a child of his/her age; or for a child less than school age, an individual qualified by ISBE to teach a child of his/her age; and
B. DIAGNOSTICIAN: At least one person qualified to conduct individual diagnostic examinations of children, such as a school psychologist, speech-language pathologist, or remedial reading teacher.
3. Determining Eligibility: A team may determine that a child has a specific learning disability if:
A. AGE/GRADE LEVEL ACHIEVEMENT: The child does not achieve adequately for the child’s age or to meet State-approved grade-level standards in one or more of the following areas, when provided with learning experiences and instruction appropriate for the child’s age or State-approved grade-level standards levels:
i) Oral expression,
ii) Listening comprehension,
iii) Written expression,
iv) Basic reading skills,
v) Reading fluency skills,
vi) Reading comprehension,
vii) Mathematics calculation,
viii) Mathematics problem solving.
B. OTHER INDICATORS:
i) The child does not make sufficient progress to meet age or State-approved grade-level standards in one or more of the areas identified above when using a process based on the child’s response to scientific, research-based intervention; or
ii) The child exhibits a pattern of strengths and weaknesses in performance, achievement, or both, relative to age, State-approved grade-level standards, or intellectual development, that is determined by the group to be relevant to the identification of a specific learning disability, using appropriate assessments; and
C. EXCLUSIONARY CONSIDERATIONS: The team may not identify a child as having a specific learning disability if the severe discrepancy between ability and achievement is primarily the result of:
i) A visual, hearing or motor impairment;
ii) Cognitive disability;
iii) Emotional disturbance;
iv) Environmental, cultural or economic disadvantage; or
v) Limited English proficiency.
D. DATA CONSIDERATIONS: To ensure the underachievement in a child suspected of having a specific learning disability is not due to lack of appropriate instruction in reading or math, the group must consider, as part of the evaluation:
i) Data that demonstrate that prior to, or as a part of, the referral process, the child was provided appropriate instruction in regular education settings, delivered by qualified personnel; and
ii) Data-based documentation of repeated assessments of achievement at reasonable intervals, reflecting formal assessment of student progress during instruction, which was provided to the child’s Parent(s).
E. TIMING: The District must promptly request parental informed written consent to evaluate the child to determine if the child needs special education and related services, and must adhere to the time frames, unless extended by mutual written agreement of the child’s Parent(s) and a group of qualified professionals:
i) If, prior to a referral, a child has not made adequate progress after an appropriate period of time when provided instructions as described above; and
ii) Whenever a child is referred for an evaluation.
A. NATURE OF OBSERVATION: The IEP Team must ensure the student is observed in the student’s learning environment, including the regular classroom setting, to document the student’s academic performance and behavior in the area(s) of difficulty.
B. SOURCE OF OBSERVATION: The group meeting to determine whether the student has a specific learning disability, must decide to:
i) Use information from an observation in routine classroom instruction and monitoring of the student’s performance that was done before the student was referred for an evaluation; or
ii) Have at least one member of the group conduct an observation of the student’s academic performance in the regular classroom after the student has been referred for an evaluation and parental informed written consent is received.
C. CHILD LESS THAN SCHOOL AGE: In the case of a child of less than school age or out of school, a group member must observe the child in an environment appropriate for a child of that age.
5. Documentation: For a child suspected of having a specific learning disability, the documentation of the team’s determination of eligibility must include a statement of:
A. ELIGIBILITY DETERMINATION: Whether the child has a specific learning disability;
B. REASONING: The basis for making the determination, including assurance that the determination has been made in accordance with paragraphs (3)(a&b) under “Eligibility Determination”;
C. APPLICABLE BEHAVIORS: The relevant behavior, if any, noted during the observation of the child and the relationship of that behavior to the child’s academic functioning;
D. MEDICAL INFORMATION: The educationally relevant medical findings, if any;
E. INCLUSIONARY CRITERIA: Whether:
i) The child does not achieve adequately for the child’s age or to meet State-approved grade-level standards as provided above; and
ii) The child does not make sufficient progress to meet age or State-approved grade-level standards as provided above; or the child exhibits a pattern of strengths and weaknesses in performance, achievement or both, relative to age, State-approved grade level standards or intellectual development as provided above;
F. EXCLUSIONARY CRITERIA: The determination of the team concerning the effects of a visual, hearing or motor disability; cognitive disability; emotional disability; cultural factors; environmental or economic disadvantage; or limited English proficiency on the child’s achievement level; and
G. RTI: If the child has participated in a process that assesses the child’s response to scientific, research-based intervention:
i) The instructional strategies used and the student-centered data collected; and
ii) The documentation that the child’s Parent(s) were notified about:
(1) the State’s policies regarding the amount and nature of student performance data that would be collected and the general educational services that would be provided;
(2) Strategies for increasing the child’s rate of learning; and
(3) The Parent(s) right to request an evaluation.
H. CERTIFICATION: Each team member shall certify in writing whether the report reflects his/her conclusion. If it does not reflect his/her conclusion, the team member must submit a separate statement presenting his/her conclusions.
A. GENERALLY: The Superintendent or his/her designee shall ensure that a reevaluation of each student with a disability is conducted if:
i) The educational or related service needs, including improved academic achievement and functional performance of the student, warrant a reevaluation, or
ii) The student’s Parent(s) or teacher requests a reevaluation.
B. SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS: Reevaluations may occur not more than once a year, unless the Parent(s) and the District agree otherwise, but must occur as least once every three years unless the Parent(s) and the District agree a reevaluation is not necessary.
2. Procedure: A reevaluation shall be conducted in accordance with applicable procedures in this Policy.
Independent Educational Evaluations
1. Parental Rights: Parents have the right to obtain an independent educational evaluation of their child in accordance with State and federal law. (See Policy 7100.)
2. Definition: An “Independent Educational Evaluation” (“IEE”) means an evaluation conducted by a qualified examiner who is not employed by the School District.
3. District Purchase of an IEE: The District may purchase independent educational evaluations not to exceed costs which are usual and customary per the type of evaluation to be purchased.
A. COST: The Special Education Director shall determine annually the maximum allowable fee for reimbursement for:
i) Psychiatric evaluations;
ii) Neurological evaluations;
iii) Audiological evaluations;
iv) Psychological evaluations, except that clinical psychologists shall not be paid fees in excess of that paid to school psychologists for the same services;
v) Speech and language evaluations;
vi) Occupational evaluations;
vii) Physical therapy evaluations;
viii) Academic achievement evaluations;
ix) Adaptive physical education evaluations;
x) Vision and hearing screening;
xi) Orientation/mobility evaluations; and
xii) Medical/physical evaluations.
This reimbursable amount shall be based on the maximum reasonable allowable fee based on current rates charged in the community. If unique circumstances exist that complicate the evaluation process such that greater fees are incurred, the maximum allowable reimbursement rate can be waived by Board approval.
B. QUALIFICATIONS OF EVALUATOR: Independent educational evaluations must be conducted by evaluators who met the State credential standards for the types of tests completed.