Special Education Handbook
2015-2016


V. EVALUATION

The District ensures that initial evaluations are conducted and that reevaluations are completed for children residing within the District. The District uses a referral process to determine whether or not a child is a child with a disability. The District also provides interventions to assist a child who is performing below grade-level standards. The provision of intervention services is not used to unnecessarily delay a child’s evaluation for purposes of determining eligibility for special education services.

A. INITIAL EVALUATION

1. TIMING AND INITIATION

The district conducts an evaluation before the initial provision of special education and related services. Either a parent of a child or a public agency may initiate a request for an initial evaluation to determine if the child is a child with a disability.

Within 30 days of receipt of a request for an evaluation, the District either obtains parental consent for an initial evaluation or provides to the parents prior written notice stating that the school district does not suspect a disability and will not be conducting an evaluation.

The initial evaluation:
    (a) Is conducted within 60 days of receiving parental consent for the evaluation unless the exception set forth in 3301-51-06(B)(5) of the Operating Standards applies; and
    (b) Consists of procedures:
      (i) To determine if the child is a child with a disability as defined in 3301-51-01(B)(10) of the Operating Standards; and
      (ii) To determine the educational needs of the child.
The district obtains parental consent before conducting an evaluation. See Chapter IV, Section C, regarding parental consent requirements.

The evaluation team consists of the IEP team and other qualified professionals.

2. THE EVALUATION PLAN AND EVALUATION TEAM REPORT

As part of the initial evaluation, if appropriate, and as part of any reevaluation, the evaluation team shall develop an evaluation plan that will provide for the following and be summarized in an evaluation team report:
    (a) Review of existing evaluation data on the child, including:
      (i) Evaluations and information provided by the parents of the child;
      (ii) Current classroom-based, local or state assessments and classroom-based observations;
      (iii)Observations by teachers and related services providers;
      (iv) Data about the child's progress in the general curriculum, or, for the preschool-age child, data pertaining to the child's growth and development;
      (v) Data from previous interventions, including:
        (a) Interventions required by rule 3301-51-06 of the Operating Standards and
        (b) For the preschool child, data from early intervention, community, or preschool program providers; and
      (vi) Any relevant trend data beyond the past twelve months, including the review of current and previous IEPs; and
    (b) On the basis of that review and input from the child's parents, identify what additional data, if any, are needed to determine:
      (i) Whether the child is a child with a disability, as defined in 3301-51-01 of the Operating Standards, and the educational needs of the child;
      (ii) In the case of a reevaluation of a child, whether the child continues to have such a disability and the educational needs of the child;
      (iii)The present levels of academic achievement and related developmental needs of the child;
      (iv) Whether the child needs special education and related services; or
      (v) In the case of a reevaluation of a child, whether the child continues to need special education and related services; and
      (vi) Whether any additions or modifications to the special education and related services are needed to enable the child to meet the measurable annual goals set out in the IEP of the child and to participate, as appropriate, in the general education curriculum.


The District administers such assessments and other evaluation measures as may be needed to produce the data identified above. The district provides prior written notice to the parents of a child with a disability that describes any evaluation procedures the school district proposes to conduct.

3. CONDUCT OF EVALUATION

In conducting the evaluation, the District:
    (a) Uses a variety of assessment tools and strategies to gather relevant functional, developmental and academic information about the child, including information provided by the parent, that may assist in determining:
      (i) Whether the child is a child with a disability as defined in 3301-51-01(B)(10) of the Operating Standards; and
      (ii) The content of the child’s IEP, including information related to enabling the child to be involved in and progress in the general education curriculum (or for a preschool child to participate in appropriate activities);
    (b) Does 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; and
    (c) Uses technically sound instruments that may assess the relative contribution of cognitive and behavioral factors, in addition to physical or developmental factors.


The District ensures that:

    (a) Assessments and other evaluation materials used to assess a child:
      (i) Are selected and administered so as not to be discriminatory on a racial or cultural basis;
      (ii) Are provided and administered in the child’s native language or other mode of communication and in the form most likely to yield accurate information about what the child knows and can do academically, developmentally and functionally, unless it is clearly not feasible to so provide or administer;
      (iii)Are used for the purposes for which the assessments or measures are valid and reliable;
      (iv) Are administered by trained and knowledgeable personnel; and
      (v) Are administered in accordance with any instructions provided by the producer of the assessments.
    (b) Assessments and other evaluation materials include those tailored to assess specific areas of educational need and not merely those that are designed to provide a single general intelligence quotient.
    (c) Assessments are selected and administered so as best to ensure that if an assessment is administered to a child with impaired sensory, manual or speaking skills, the assessment results accurately reflect the child’s aptitude or achievement level or whatever other factors the test purports to measure rather than reflecting the child's impaired sensory, manual or speaking skills (unless those skills are the factors that the test purports to measure);
    (d) A school age child is assessed in all areas related to the suspected disability, including, if appropriate, health, vision, hearing, social and emotional status, general intelligence, academic performance, communicative status and motor abilities;
    (e) Preschool children are assessed in the following developmental areas: adaptive behavior, cognition, communication, hearing, vision, sensory/motor function, social-emotional functioning and behavioral function.
    (f) Assessments of children with disabilities who transfer from one school district to another school district in the same school year are coordinated with the children’s prior and subsequent schools, as necessary and as expeditiously as possible, consistent with 3301-51-06(B)(5)(b) and (B)(6) of the Operating Standards, to ensure prompt completion of the full evaluations.
    (g) In evaluating each child with a disability under 3301-51-06(E)-(G) of the Operating Standards, the evaluation is sufficiently comprehensive to identify all of the child’s special education and related services needs, whether or not commonly linked to the disability category in which the child has been classified.
    (h) Assessment tools and strategies that provide relevant information that directly assists persons in determining the educational needs of the child are provided.
    (i) Medical consultation shall be encouraged for a preschool or school-age child on a continuing basis, especially when school authorities feel that there has been a change in the child's behavior or educational functioning or when new symptoms are detected; and
    (j) For preschool-age children, as appropriate, the evaluation shall include the following specialized assessments:
      (i) Physical examination completed by a licensed doctor of medicine or doctor of osteopathy in cases where the disability is primarily the result of a congenital or acquired physical disability;
      (ii) Vision examination conducted by an eye care specialist in cases where the disability is primarily the result of a visual impairment; and
      (iii) An audiological examination completed by a certified or licensed audiologist in cases where the disability is primarily the result of a hearing impairment.


B. ELIGIBILITY DETERMINATION AND EVALUATION TEAM REPORT

1. COMPLETION OF THE EVALUATION TEAM REPORT

The following occurs upon completion of the administration of assessments and other evaluation measures:
    (a) The IEP team and other qualified professionals and the parent of the child determines whether the child is a child with a disability, in accordance with the Operating Standards; and
    (b) The District provides a copy of the evaluation report and the documentation of determination of eligibility at no cost to the parent.

The written evaluation team report shall include:
    (a) A summary of the information obtained during the evaluation process; and
    (b) The names, titles and signatures of each team member, including the parent, and an indication of whether or not they are in agreement with the eligibility determination. Any team member who is not in agreement with the team’s determination of disability shall submit a statement of disagreement.

The District provides a copy of the evaluation team report and the documentation of determination of eligibility or continued eligibility to the parents prior to the next IEP meeting and in no case later than 14 days from the date of eligibility determination.

2. DETERMINATION OF ELIGIBILITY

A child is not determined to be a child with a disability:
    (a) If the determinant factor for that determination is:
      (i) Lack of appropriate instruction in reading, including the essential components of reading instruction as defined in Section 1208(3) of the Elementary and Secondary Act of 1965, as amended and specified in the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002, January 2002, 20 U.S.C. 6301 (ESEA);
      (ii) Lack of appropriate instruction in math; or
      (iii)LEP; and
    (b) If the child does not otherwise meet the eligibility criteria under 3301-51-01(B)(10) of the Operating Standards.

The district, in interpreting evaluation data for the purpose of determining if a child is a child with a disability, does the following:

    (a) Draws upon information from a variety of sources, including aptitude and achievement tests, state and district wide assessments, parent input and teacher recommendations, as well as information about the child’s physical condition, social or cultural background and adaptive behavior; and
    (b) Ensures that information obtained from all of these sources is documented and carefully considered.

If a determination is made that a child has a disability and needs special education and related services, the District develops an IEP for the child.

C. REEVALUATIONS

The District conducts reevaluations of a child with a disability:
    (a) If the District determines that the child’s educational or related services needs, including improved academic achievement and functional performance, warrant a reevaluation; or
    (b) If the child’s parent or teacher requests a reevaluation; or
    (c) When a child transitions from pre-school to school-aged services; or
    (d) In order to make a change in disability category.

A reevaluation may not occur more than once a year, unless the parent and the District agree otherwise.

A reevaluation must occur at least once every three years, unless the parent and the District agree that a reevaluation is unnecessary.

The District evaluates a child with a disability before determining that child is no longer a child with a disability, although this evaluation is not required if the child’s eligibility terminates due to graduation from secondary school with a regular diploma or due to exceeding the age eligibility for FAPE under state law. If a child’s eligibility terminates for one of these reasons, the District provides the child with a summary of the child’s academic achievement and functional performance, which shall include recommendations on how to assist the child in meeting the child’s postsecondary goals.

D. IDENTIFYING CHILDREN WITH SPECIFIC LEARNING DISABILITIES (SLD)

The District has written procedures for the implementation of the evaluation process the District uses to determine the existence of a specific learning disability (SLD). In addition, the District uses the form required by ODE-OEC, Evaluation Team Report PR-06 and completes Part 3: Documentation for Determining the Existence of a Specific Learning Disability of PR-06 when the District suspects the child has a SLD.

(1) DETERMINING THE EXISTENCE OF A SPECIFIC LEARNING DISABILITY

The parents, the IEP team, and a group of qualified professionals from the District determine that a child has a SLD if:
    (a) 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 the District provides learning experiences and instruction appropriate for the child’s age or state-approved grade-level standards:
      (i) Oral expression;
      (ii) Listening comprehension;
      (iii) Written expression;
      (iv) Basic reading skill;
      (v) Reading fluency skills;
      (vi) Reading comprehension;
      (vii) Mathematics calculation; or
      (viii) Mathematics problem-solving;

    AND

    (b) The child does not make sufficient progress to meet age or state-approved grade-level standards in one or more of the areas identified in number 1, above, when the District uses an evaluation process to determine the child’s response to scientific, research-based intervention;

    OR

    (c) 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, when the District uses appropriate assessments consistent with 3301-51-06(E) and (F) of the Operating Standards that the group has determined to be relevant to the identification of a SLD.

Alternatively, the District may choose a third method of evaluation, for determining if a child has a SLD. The District seeks prior approval from ODE-OEC if it chooses to use an alternative research-based assessment procedure to determine if a child has a SLD.

(2) USE OF AN EVALUATION PROCESS BASED ON THE CHILD’S RESPONSE TO SCIENTIFIC, RESEARCH-BASED INTERVENTION FOR SLD DETERMINATION

If the District uses an evaluation process based on the child’s response to scientific, research-based intervention to determine whether a child has a SLD. The District ensures that this process:
    (a) Begins when the District has gathered and analyzed sufficient data from scientifically-based instruction and targeted and intensive individualized interventions that provide evidence that the child’s needs are unlikely to be met without certain specialized instruction, in addition to the regular classroom instruction;
    (b) Employs interventions that are scientifically-based and provided at appropriate levels of intensity, frequency, duration and integrity, relative to the child’s identified needs;
    (c) Is based on results of scientifically-based, technically adequate assessment procedures that assess ongoing progress while the child is receiving scientifically-based instruction and the results of these procedures have been reported to the child’s parents; and
    (d) Includes the analysis of data described in 3301-51-06(H)(3)(b)(i) and (H)(3)(b)(ii) of the Operating Standards to determine whether a discrepancy is present between the child’s actual and expected performance, in both the child’s rate of progress in developing skills, and in the child’s level of performance on measures assessing one or more of the academic areas listed in 3301-51-06(H)(3)(a)(i) of the Operating Standards

The District will not use this process to delay unnecessarily a child’s referral for a comprehensive evaluation to determine eligibility for special education services.

(3) ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS FOR SLD DETERMINATION

The District ensures that the following additional requirements are satisfied when determining if a child has a SLD:

Inclusion of additional required group members for SLD determination

The group that determines that a child suspected of having a SLD is a child with a disability includes the child’s parents and a group of qualified professionals consisting of, but not limited to:
    (a) In the case of a school-age child, the child’s regular teacher (or if the child does not have a regular teacher, the District includes a regular classroom teacher qualified to teach a child of the child’s age);
    (b) In the case of children less than school-age, an individual qualified by ODE to teach a child of the child’s age; and

At least one person qualified to conduct individual diagnostic examinations of children, such as a school psychologist, speech-language pathologist or remedial reading teacher.

Observation requirements

The District ensures that the child is observed in the child’s learning environment, including the regular classroom setting, to document the child’s academic performance and behavior in the areas of difficulty. The group of qualified professionals identified by the District conducts the observation by:

    (a) Using information from an observation of the child’s performance conducted during routine classroom instruction, including monitoring of the child’s performance during instruction, that was done before the child was referred for an evaluation; or
    (b) Having at least one member of the group conduct an observation of the child’s academic performance in the regular classroom after the child has been referred for an evaluation and parent consent has been obtained.

In the case of a child of less than school-age or a child who is out of school, the District ensures that a group member observes the child in an environment appropriate for a child of that age.

Ensuring the child’s underachievement is not due to a lack of appropriate instruction in reading and math

In order to ensure that underachievement in a child suspected of having a SLD is not due to lack of appropriate instruction in reading or math, the District considers:
    (a) Data demonstrating that prior to, or as part of, the referral process, the child received appropriate instruction in regular education settings delivered by qualified personnel; and
    (b) Data-based documentation of repeated assessments of achievement at reasonable intervals, reflecting formal assessment of the child’s progress during instruction, the results of which were provided to the child’s parents.

Obtaining parental consent to evaluate

The District promptly requests parental consent to evaluate a child to determine if the child needs special education and related services:
    (a) If prior to the referral, the child does not make adequate progress after an appropriate period of time when provided with appropriate instruction. To make this determination, the District considers:
      (i) Data demonstrating that prior to, or as part of, the referral process, the child received appropriate scientifically-based 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 the child’s progress during instruction, the results of which were provided to the child’s parents; and
    (b) Whenever a child is referred for an evaluation.

Consideration of exclusionary factors

When determining that a child has a SLD, the District ensures that the findings from the evaluation process are not primarily the result of:
    (a) A visual,hearing, or motor disability;
    (b) Mental retardation;
    (c) Emotional disturbance;
    (d) Cultural factors;
    (e) Environmental or economic disadvantage; or
    (f) LEP.

If the District determines that one of these factors is the primary reason for the child’s suspected disability, the District does not identify the child as having a SLD.