Evaluation & Eligibility
Evaluation and Eligibility Templates
The U.S. Department of Education (Department), Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) has received requests asking that the Department clarify expectations and requirements for implementing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in light of the many challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and as more schools and programs are returning to in-person services. Read more here. Learn more about First Steps here.
What you need to know:
Once a parent signs the Consent to Evaluate, the district has 60 school days to complete evaluations, establish eligibility and draft an IEP. The district will complete the Consent to Evaluate online, print it and hand it to parents to sign. Since parents don’t see the form until it’s completed, I recommend parents fill one out themselves before the meeting in order to compare their plan to the district’s plan. Check all areas of suspected disability. This is super important because the district will only do testing in the areas that are checked.
On the Consent, an X in a box indicates that the district will complete assessments in this area while an E in the box indicates the district will review existing data. For an initial evaluation, most boxes should have an X. It is important to note, a new consent form is signed for a re-evaluation that is completed every 3 years. Think about what you think the best plan is for your child. In many cases, a review of exiting data may be appropriate for a student in high school since they likely have years of data and have also had several 3 year re-assessments by this time.
They will also only test for eligibility in the areas listed at the top in the Disability or suspected disability space. More than one eligibility can be listed here to make sure more than one area of eligibility can be used to qualify for services. This is especially important because a district can have an additional 60 school days to evaluate for another area of eligibility if it’s not listed on the first Consent, but might be more appropriate.
What you need to know:
There are 13 areas of eligibility for students to qualify for special education services. A medical diagnosis, like ADHD and/or anxiety, will support the Other Health Impairment (OHI) eligibility. In KY, students can be eligible in the area of developmental delay until they are 9 years old. After that, the source of the delay must be identified more specifically. Again, make sure to select the areas of eligibility that would be most appropriate (even if there’s more than one), so that eligibility can be established in a 60 school day timeline.
After the district completes the evaluations, then the Admissions and Release Committee (ARC) team meets to review the evaluations and establish eligibility. I recommend parents request evaluations and assessments be sent to them before the eligibility meeting. This ensures meaningful participation in the evaluation and eligibility process.
They use the following forms to establish eligibility. It is important to document that a disability or deficit negatively impacts a student ENOUGH to qualify for special education services. This is why having a medical diagnosis does not guarantee eligibility for special education services.
*Special Education forms are listed on the right side of the linked webpage
What you need to know:
Similar to the Consent to Evaluate, the eligibility forms are completed online and parents don’t see them until they are completed and printed. These forms give parents a good idea of what the district is looking at in order to establish eligibility for special education services. Once eligibility is established, a draft IEP is created.
I usually recommend parents have 2 separate meetings - one for eligibility and a separate one to draft an IEP. There is a lot of information in evaluations and assessments to go through while also focusing on drafting an IEP. This is not a standard procedure for most districts, so I have a template to make this request and to request evaluations, assessments and a draft IEP in advance of the meetings.
Once eligibility is established, a draft IEP is created. School staff members draft an IEP and the ARC team finalizes it during the meeting. The present levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance will accurately describe the deficits that support eligibility. The present levels drive the goals. The IEP goals address the deficits described in the present levels. The goals drive the services. The special education services and related services support the IEP goals.
Additional Templates Coming Soon
-Request for meeting to sign the consent to evaluate.
-Request for separate meetings (evaluation/eligibility and draft IEP)