If your son or daughter receives an evaluation by his/her school to determine eligibility for special education services, and you disagree with the results, you can request an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE). If the school agrees to this, then they will pay for the IEE. You also have the right to request who conducts the evaluation. The ApaCenter has several Licensed Psychologists who are also Licensed Specialists in School Psychology. So, we are able to conduct evaluations that will meet your needs as well as the school’s standards for acceptability. The psychologists at the ApaCenter know how to advocate for parent and student rights and interests and can communicate with schools in an effective manner.
A more detailed explanation of IEEs and how to request one is below. Also, you can contact us at (512) 891-1500 if you have additional questions or schedule a time to consult with one of our Licensed Psychologists.
When You and the School District Disagree: The Role of an Independent Educational Evaluation
School-based psychological evaluations are characterized by a complex process where the parents, child and school staff ideally work together to further understand the child’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as offer recommendations on how to improve current academic functioning. Ultimately, the main purpose of the evaluation is to identify whether your child meets eligibility for special education services (e.g., has a learning disability, emotional issues, ADD/ADHD, or an autism spectrum disorder that are affecting functioning in school) and make appropriate recommendations for interventions and accommodations.
In some circumstances, you may not agree with the findings from the school-based report. Some possible reasons include:
- You do not believe the results are accurate – that the evaluation did not capture your child’s strengths and weaknesses
- You do not believe that the school evaluator had adequate training and/or expertise to conduct the evaluation
- You disagree with the eligibility determination (i.e., whether or not your child was found eligible for special education services)
- You disagree with the education placement, services, and/or accommodations that were recommended
If you disagree with the results of an evaluation conducted in the public school, you have the right to an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) at public’s expense. It is important to note that IEEs are not limited to your child’s cognitive and academic achievement, but may evaluate any skill related to your child’s educational needs. For example, evaluations of neuropsychological functioning, adapted physical education, and sensory needs are but a few examples of the types of IEEs covered under the Individuals with Disabilities Educational Act (IDEA). You may obtain an IEE for virtually any purpose if it impacts the child’s education.
In order to obtain an IEE, you should write a letter to the Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) committee or school administration stating that you disagree with the school district’s assessment and are requesting an IEE (For sample IEE request letters, see http://www.ldonline.org/article/14621 ). At which point, the district will determine if they will provide the IEE or opt to file for Due Process* to contend that the school’s evaluation was appropriate. Regardless of whether the district opts for a Due Process hearing or agrees to provide an IEE, the school district must provide you with information about where an independent evaluation can be obtained. If the district is paying for the IEE, you may select an evaluator on the list or choose another provider. However, if you select a provider who is not on the district list, you should learn what school district’s educational and licensure requirements are for the evaluator as well as the pricing guidelines of the district. The results of the IEE must be considered by the school in all decisions made regarding your child’s education.
The Apacenter provides IEEs. We strive to complete a truly independent evaluation, with observations at your child’s school, interviews with you and your child’s teachers as well as thoroughly review of previous testing and background information.
If you are interested in pursuing or finding out more about an IEE, you can contact us at (512) 891-1500. If it would be helpful, we can schedule a time for you to consult with one of our Licensed Psychologists as well.
* Due Process is one approach that parents and schools use to resolve disagreements. In a due process hearing, you and the school present evidence before an impartial third person.
If you have additional questions or would like to set up an appointment with one of our professionals, please contact us at (512) 891-1500.