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The Reevaluation Process
In order to ensure eligible individuals continue to be eligible to receive special education services and that their unique educational needs are being appropriately met, reevaluations are required at a minimum, every three years. The reevaluation process includes the review of existing information and if necessary, or requested, the collection of additional information.
A reevaluation may be required sooner than every three years if the:
- Student’s parent or teacher requests a reevaluation,
- IEP team determines that a reevaluation is warranted in order to address the educational or related services needs of the eligible individual,
- IEP team will be considering whether a child is no longer an eligible individual, or
- The available data for a transfer student from out-of-state is insufficient to establish eligibility for special education in Iowa and/or to develop an Iowa IEP.
The reevaluation process and the IEP meeting with the parents must be held on or before the three-year anniversary date of the last evaluation.
If the reevaluation due date is close to the due date for the annual review, make every effort to consolidate these meetings for the child. Both due dates (annual and reevaluation) must be met, so the earlier of the two dates is the target for a meeting. For example, if the review is due April 15 and the reevaluation is due May 15 you may combine them but the meeting must be held by April 15 or the annual review is late.
Initiating the Reevaluation Process
Prior to initiating the reevaluation process, the IEP team reviews the existing information and identifies what additional information, if any, are needed to determine:
- Whether the child continues to have a disability, and the educational needs of the child;
- The present levels of academic achievement and related developmental needs of the child;
- Whether the child continues to need special education and related services; and
- 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.
Additional information may include assessment and evaluation information related to the following areas: health, vision, hearing, social and emotional status, general intelligence, academic performance, communicative status, adaptive behavior, and motor abilities. The RIOT (review, interview, observe, and test) process will be used to collect additional information, which will ensure the consideration of multiple sources of data.
When No Additional Information is Needed
If the IEP team determines that no additional information is needed, the Consent for/Notice of Reevaluation form must be completed in order to inform parents of:
- The determination that no additional data are needed and the reasons for the determination.
- The LEA and AEA are not required to conduct additional assessments unless requested to do so by the parents.
- Parents are not required to sign the consent form when no additional assessment procedures are being requested.
- Parents must be notified of their rights as parents to request additional assessments to determine whether the child continues to be a child with a disability and has a need for special education and related services.
When Additional Information is Needed
If the IEP team determines that additional information is necessary, then the following must be done:
- The Consent for/Notice of Reevaluation form must be completed and parental consent to evaluate must be obtained and documented by the signature on this form.
- A copy of the Procedural Safeguards Manual for Parents should be made available and reviewed with the parents either in person or via phone.
- Parents must be notified of their right to request assessments in addition to those proposed if they so desire.
When Additional Information is Needed and Parent Refuses
If the IEP team determines that additional assessment is necessary, and the parent refuses to provide the signed consent, the following steps should be followed:
- The LEA/AEA staff will contact the parent to discuss their concerns with the reevaluation process. This contact may be made by any appropriate member of the IEP team.
- If the parent refuses to consent to the reevaluation and the IEP team has decided that additional assessment information is essential, the following options are available but should only be pursued with the knowledge and support of the AEA Director of Special Education or designee.
- Pursue the reevaluation by utilizing the procedural safeguards including mediation. (This is not an option for children who are homeschooled or placed in private schools by their parents at their own expense.)
- Decline to pursue the reevaluation with the belief that it does not violate its obligations.
If reasonable efforts have been made and documented to obtain parental consent and the parent has failed to respond, a reevaluation may be conducted without parental consent.
Completing the Reevaluation Process
Prior to a Reevaluation IEP Meeting
The LEA/ AEA staff will arrange the IEP meeting at a time and location that is mutually agreed upon by all IEP team members. A Meeting Notice is used to inform IEP team members of the meeting. The LEA/AEA team will ensure all additional assessment information is completed and existing data is gathered prior to the meeting.
At a Reevaluation IEP Meeting
During a reevaluation IEP meeting, the following will take place:
- Review and share the Procedural Safeguards Manual for Parents– the summary of parental rights may be used to inform parents of their rights, however, parents must be offered a printed copy of the manual.
- Review the evaluation information with the IEP team and address the reevaluation questions:
- What evidence is there that this child continues to be an eligible individual or does not continue to be an eligible individual? (Include data regarding performance over time, current performance levels, & current needs related to the standards applicable to all children.)
- What is the IEP team’s conclusion regarding this child’s eligibility for special education?
- If this child continues to be an eligible individual:
- What additions or modifications to the special education and related services are needed to enable this child to meet the IEP goals and to participate, as appropriate, in the general education curriculum?
- Under what conditions will the IEP team consider exiting this child from special education services?
- Determine eligibility for special education
After a Reevaluation IEP Meeting
The IEP team will finalize the documentation of the decisions of the IEP team in the IEP and provide parents with Prior Written Notice of a Proposed or Refused Action for any changes in the student’s educational program if the district or AEA proposes to change the identification or placement, or change in the provision of a free appropriate public education. The parents must be provided a final copy of the IEP within a reasonable amount of time (within 30 calendar days of the meeting).
Occasionally, a difference of opinion arises regarding the process or interpretation of an educational evaluation (initial or reevaluation) or elements of that evaluation, and consensus cannot be reached. Under these circumstances, the team may wish to involve professionals who would not typically work with the child (i.e., an AEA or LEA professional not assigned to the child’s school or district, an outside provider). The professional(s) called in to assist will review existing information, conduct an additional assessment, if needed, and meet with the IEP team to report their results and facilitate coming to a consensus.
If a difference of opinion arises during an initial evaluation and the difference of opinion process can be completed within the 60 school-day timeline, no further procedural steps are required. The IEP team will make an eligibility determination and proceed accordingly.
If a difference of opinion arises during an initial evaluation and the difference of opinion process cannot be completed within the 60 school-day timeline, the IEP team will need to determine if there is sufficient information to make an eligibility determination. If the child is determined to be an eligible individual, the team will develop an IEP. At the same time, the team will seek parent consent for a reevaluation in order to complete the second opinion process.
If a difference of opinion arises during a reevaluation and the difference of opinion process can be completed before the reevaluation is due, no further procedural steps are required. The IEP team will make a determination of whether there is continued eligibility and proceed accordingly.
If a difference of opinion arises during a reevaluation and the difference of opinion process cannot be completed before the reevaluation is due, the IEP team will need to determine if there is sufficient information to make a determination of continued eligibility. If the child is determined to continue to be an eligible individual, the team will develop an IEP. At the same time, the team will seek parent consent for another reevaluation in order to complete the second opinion process.
Additional information evaluations. Occasionally, additional information from a specialist or team of specialists (e.g., autism team, intensive behavior team member, outside clinician) is necessary to support planning and decision-making. Follow the same procedures as for a second opinion assessment and attend to timelines (60-day for an initial, due date for a reevaluation).
Note: If the need for a second opinion evaluation or an additional information evaluation is identified through a review or amendment process, initiate a reevaluation.
When seeking a second opinion evaluation or an additional information evaluation, the IEP team, including the parent(s) will:
- Complete the Second Opinion Additional Evaluation Request Form.
- Develop assessment questions to guide the second opinion evaluation. “What specific questions, if answered, support the development of an appropriate educational program for this student?” The specific questions will assist the evaluator(s) in considering the IEP team’s current perspective on the issues at hand.
- Submit the request to the Special Education Director or designee for review.
If a second opinion evaluation or additional information evaluation is approved, it shall be conducted by a diagnostic professional or team with appropriate skills related to the questions to be addressed regarding the special needs of the child.
- The evaluation may be provided by AEA staff, hospitals, clinics, and other assessment centers or assessment teams.
- If the proposed evaluation would be conducted outside the AEA, the team is asked to specify any anticipated expenses and project an estimated cost.
Upon completion of the second opinion evaluation or additional information evaluation, the IEP team, including the parents, must take these evaluation results into consideration when eligibility, placement, or program decisions are made.