What is the evaluation process?
Students must be evaluated to determine if they have a disability and, if so, are in need of specially designed instruction. IDEA requires that students referred for special education receive a non-discriminatory, multi-faceted evaluation. Evaluations must be conducted by a multi-disciplinary team made up of professionals who bring a wide-range of perspectives and expertise to the evaluation. Evaluations must be comprehensive and must use tools and strategies that are reliable and valid. Most students receive formal and informal assessments that measure:
- Cognitive Abilities (including intelligence)
- Academic Skills (achievment)
- Social/Emotional Competence (including behavior)
- Communications Skills
- Physical, Health and Medical Status
It is important to note that parents often obtain private evaluations that are not conducted by a multi-disciplinary team, are not comprehensive, and do not include input from teachers. These evaluations must be considered by the ARD committee but may not provide adequate information regarding eligibility and programming.