Chapter 6.4: Planning and Conducting the Evaluation

    State Performance Plan (SPP):

    (See Overview in the Introduction for more information on the SPP.)

    Intent:

    To ensure, when determining whether a child has a disability, that the assessment tools and strategies used as part of the comprehensive evaluation are technically sound, nondiscriminatory and tailored to the needs of the individual child.

    Timelines:

    Consent for evaluation

    Within 30 days of receiving a request for an initial evaluation of a child from either the child's parents or a public agency, the school district of residence will either obtain parents' consent for an initial evaluation or provide the parents prior written notice stating that the school district does not suspect a disability and will not be conducting an evaluation. The child's parents should document the request for an evaluation in writing.

    Conducting the evaluation

    Within 60 days from receipt of parental consent to evaluate a child, the school district will conduct a comprehensive initial evaluation of the child to identify the child’s educational needs and to determine if the child is a child with a disability. For assistance in calculating the 60-day timeline, refer to Child Find Clarification Related to Calculating 60 Days, Ohio Department of Education, Office for Exceptional Children.

    If the school district is using a response to intervention (RtI) process, the district cannot use this process to reject a referral or delay the provision of a timely initial evaluation because a child has not participated in the RtI process (OSEP letter to State Directors of Special Education, January 21, 2011).
    If the school district has not implemented an RtI process and it receives a request for an evaluation from parents, the school district cannot begin the RtI process apart from the evaluation timeline. The district must complete the RtI process and the evaluation within the 90 day timeline from the date of the referral (30 days from date of referral and 60 days from parental consent) unless the district does not suspect a disability. If the district does not suspect a disability, it provides the parents with a prior written notice within 30 days of the request.
    Preschool Note
    School districts cannot require other agencies to use an RtI process when identifying preschoolers with disabilities.

    Exceptions to 60-day timeline: The 60-day timeline for conducting the evaluation does not apply to a school district if:

    • The parents of the child repeatedly fail or refuse to produce the child for the evaluation; or
    • The child enrolls in a new school district of residence after the 60-day period has begun and prior to a determination by the child’s previous school district of residence regarding whether the child is a child with a disability. This exception applies only if the current school district of residence is making sufficient progress to ensure a prompt completion of the evaluation and the parents and the current school district agree to a specific time when the evaluation will be completed.

    When the existence of a specific learning disability is being determined, the 60-day timeline also can be extended with mutual written agreement between the parents and eligibility team if additional data are needed that cannot be obtained within the 60-day timeline.

    Evaluation team report (ETR) and documentation of eligibility status

    Within 14 days from the date of eligibility determination or the determination of continued eligibility and prior to the next IEP meeting, the school district of residence must provide the parents a copy of the evaluation team report and the documentation of determination of eligibility or continued eligibility.

    Preschool Note
    Timelines reflect the maximum number of days. For children transitioning from Help Me Grow, timelines may be less than 120 days since an IEP must be implemented by the child's third birthday.

    REQUIREMENT

    3301-51-06
    (F) Additional requirements for evaluations and reevaluations
    (1) Review of existing evaluation data
    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 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 Administrative Code; 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 rule 3301-51-01 of the Administrative Code, 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.

    (2) Conduct of review

    The group described in paragraph (F)(1) of this rule may conduct its review without a meeting.

    (C) Source of data

    The school district must administer such assessments and other evaluation measures as may be needed to produce the data identified under paragraph (G)(1) of this rule.

    3301-51-06
    (E) Evaluation procedures
    (1) Notice
    The school district of residence must provide prior written notice to the parents of a child with a disability, in accordance with rule 3301-51-05 of the Administrative Code, that describes any evaluation procedures the school district proposes to conduct.

    (2) Conduct of evaluation
    In conducting the evaluation, the school district must:

    (a) Use 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 paragraph (B)(10) of rule 3301-51-01 of the Administrative Code; and
    (ii) The content of the child’s individualized education program (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) 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) Use technically sound instruments that may assess the relative contribution of cognitive and behavioral factors, in addition to physical or developmental factors.

    (3) Other evaluation procedures
    Each school district must ensure that:

    (a) Assessments and other evaluation materials used to assess a child under this rule:
    (i) Are selected and administered so as not to be discriminatory on a racial or cultural basis;
    (ii) 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) The 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) 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 paragraphs (B)(5)(b) and (B)(6) of this rule, to ensure prompt completion of the full evaluations.
    (f) In evaluating each child with a disability under paragraphs (E) to (G) of this rule, 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.
    (g) Assessment tools and strategies that provide relevant information that directly assists persons in determining the educational needs of the child are provided.
    (h) 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
    (i) 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.

    3301-56-06
    (B) Initial evaluations
    (5) Exception
    The time frame described in paragraph (B)(4) of this rule (sixty-day time frame between parental consent and evaluation) does not apply to a school district if:

    (b) A child enrolls in a new school district of residence after the relevant time frame in paragraph (B)(4) of this rule has begun, and prior to a determination by the child’s previous district of residence as to whether the child is a child with a disability as defined in paragraph (B)(10) of rule 3301-51-01 of the Administrative Code.

    (6) This exception in paragraph (B)(5) of this rule applies only if the subsequent school district of residence is making sufficient progress to ensure a prompt completion of the evaluation, and the parent and subsequent school district agree to a specific time when the evaluation will be completed.

    3301-51-06
    (H) Additional procedures for identifying children with specific learning disabilities
    (3) Determining the existence of a specific learning disability

    (c) The school district must promptly request parental consent to evaluate the child to determine if the child needs special education and related services, and must adhere to the time frames described in paragraphs (B) and (D) of this rule unless the time frames are extended by mutual agreement of the child's parents and a group of qualified professionals, as described in paragraph (G)(1)(a) of this rule:
    (i) If, prior to a referral, a child has not made adequate progress after an appropriate period of time when provided instruction as described in paragraphs (H)(3)(b)(i) and (H)(3)(b)(ii) of this rule; and
    (ii) Whenever a child is referred for an evaluation.

    3301-51-06
    (C) Screening for instructional purposes is not evaluation

    The screening of a child by a teacher or a specialist to determine appropriate instructional strategies for curriculum implementation shall not be considered to be an evaluation for eligibility for special education and related services.

    GUIDANCE

    Planning the evaluation

    When it is determined that a child should receive a full and individual evaluation,the evaluation team must develop an evaluation plan and review the existing information that has been gathered from multiple sources and define a clear purpose for any additional assessments that may be needed.

    • The evaluation team means the IEP team and other qualified professionals. (See Evaluation - 6.3 Evaluation Team.)
    • Since there is no IEP team in place for an initial evaluation, all the required members for an IEP team may not be involved in planning the evaluation and reviewing existing information. However, in most instances many of the evaluation team members will also be the same members required for an IEP team.
    • In the case of a reevaluation, all required members of the IEP team and other qualified professionals who have been invited to be part of the evaluation team must be involved in the evaluation planning process and reviewing the existing information. (See Evaluation - 6.5 Reevaluation.)

    The purpose of the evaluation process is to gather information about the child's performance to determine if the educational needs of the child can best be met with special education services and also to determine the appropriate instruction and interventions to meet the particular needs of the child.

    A comprehensive evaluation is a multidimensional assessment process tailored to the needs of the individual child and not a standard battery of tests administered to all children suspected of needing special education services. Assessments that measure general intelligence can be administered if deemed appropriate by the evaluation team but assessments are required only when determining if the child meets the criteria for cognitive disability. The assessment of general intelligence used to determine if a child is a child with a cognitive disability must be designed for individual administration and must be administered by a school psychologist or a qualified psychologist.

    For preschool, all areas of development must be evaluated using one method. (See Preschool - 10.1 Eligibility)

    Accepting an out-of-state evaluation team report (ETR)

    When a child moves into Ohio from another state, the school district must convene an IEP team and determine whether or not it will accept the child's out-of-state ETR.

    • The district may accept the out- of- state ETR if it has all of the required components of an Ohio ETR and the district agrees with the conclusions of the ETR. If the district does accept the out-of-state ETR, it is,in effect, adopting the out- of- state ETR as its own. The next ETR the district completes for the child will be a reevaluation, NOT an initial evaluation, and will be completed on the timeline of the out-of-state ETR.
    • If the out-of-state ETR has all of the required components of an Ohio ETR and the district agrees with the conclusions of the ETR except for the disability category which is not one used by Ohio (e.g., significant developmental delay), the district must conduct an evaluation, even if it only consist of a records review. This evaluation will be considered an initial evaluation.
    • If the district does not accept the out-of-state ETR, the district must complete an evaluation. This evaluation will be an initial evaluation. While the district is completing this evaluation, it must provide the child with the supports and services described in the child's out-of-state IEP or provide the child with comparable services. The district will NOT create a new IEP until it completes its initial ETR.

    Review of existing evaluation data

    In developing the plan for the evaluation, the evaluation team begins with a review of existing evaluation data including:

    • Evaluations and information provided by the parents of the child;
    • Data that document the child's response to research-based interventions and, for the preschool child, data from early intervention, community or preschool program providers;
    • Data that document how the child responded to standardized testing in all areas, including academic achievement, language skills, decoding abilities, fluency skills, behavior and functional skills;
    • Performance on current classroom-based, local or state-wide assessments;
    • Interviews with the child when appropriate;
    • Observations by teachers and other school personnel in the classroom and in other settings that are relevant to the child's difficulties;
    • 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;
    • Any relevant trend data beyond the past 12 months;
    • Career assessments;
    • Vocational evaluations;
    • Situational assessments;
      • Situational assessments provide a systematic observation process for evaluating performance and behaviors in a controlled or semi-controlled environment.These assessments may include having a child perform job tasks in a real work environment.
    • Assessments provided by adult and community agencies; and
    • Self-determination scales and inventories.

    Other sources of diagnostic information that can provide relevant information about a child's skills and abilities include:

    • Data from universal screening assessments;
    • Data from curriculum-based assessments that were administered to determine the effectiveness of previous interventions;
    • Work samples;
    • Interviews;
    • Behavior checklists; and
    • Review of the child's educational history including attendance patterns and previous intervention history.

    Identifying additional evaluation data needed
    On the basis of the review and input from the child's parents, the evaluation team must identify the additional data needed to provide information about the child's specific educational needs and then determine the assessment strategies that can provide the information needed. The additional data should be used to determine:

    • Whether the child is a child with a disability and the educational needs of the child;
    • The child's present levels of academic achievement and related developmental needs of the child (for preschool, the child's ability to participate in developmentally appropriate activities); and
    • Whether the child needs special education and related services.

    For preschool, additional data to be used includes child's ability to participate in developmentally appropriate activities. The evaluation plan determined by the team should be documented in the Prior Written Notice to Parents PR-01 form.

    Selecting assessment strategies and tools

    When selecting assessment strategies, the district should consider the type of data that can be obtained from different types of assessment tools and methods and determine if this data will be relevant to the defined purpose for the assessment. Since screening assessments are administered to all children to determine appropriate instructional strategies, they are not considered a formal evaluation and parents' permission is not required to administer them to children, unless the district requires parents' permission for all children who participate in screening. Written parents' consent is always required when assessments are administered to an individual child as part of formal evaluation to determine eligibility for special education and related services. Some general examples of assessment tools and methods include:

    Screening assessments

    Many districts administer brief assessments to all children at specific times during the school year to ensure that children are achieving key benchmarks. These assessments are generally brief and easy to administer and serve the purpose of determining the progress of all children and identifying children who may be at risk for academic failure. Often the data are used as part of the district and building problem-solving process to determine the effectiveness of the core curriculum and also to identify where additional resources may be needed.

    Formative assessment - mastery measurement

    Mastery measurement, in the form of short-cycle assessment or curriculum-embedded assessment, is incorporated into classroom practice and provides instructional information that teachers can use to assess child understanding of grade-level content standards while instruction is occurring. This is considered to be "formative assessment." This type of assessment allows the teacher to adjust instruction at a point when adjustments can enhance child learning and also informs the child about his or her progress in mastering specific sub-skills, short-term goals and grade-level content standards. These assessments are administered more frequently than screening assessments, but they are generally administered to all children.

    Formative assessment - curriculum-based measurement/progress monitoring

    Curriculum-based measurement (CBM) refers to a specific method for evaluating a child’s performance and rate of growth toward long-term goals; it measures general outcomes in a particular academic area rather than specific sub-skills. While CBM can be used for screening purposes, it also is used to determine a child’s progress when the child is receiving specific targeted and intensive interventions; this is also considered a formative assessment method. These instruments provide direct measures of performance in skill areas that are the focus of intervention and are sensitive to small increments of growth in these skills. As a result, they can quickly provide information that can lead directly to rapid changes in instruction as needed. The frequency of progress monitoring depends on the severity of the child’s problem and the intensity of the intervention. Research suggests monitoring the progress of children receiving targeted interventions at least biweekly and the progress of children receiving intensive interventions on a weekly or semi-weekly basis, if not more frequently.

    Diagnostic assessments

    Diagnostic assessments are usually administered when additional in-depth information about particular skills and abilities is needed to plan more effective instruction and intervention for a child who has not responded adequately to targeted and/or more individualized, intensive intervention. These assessments are often administered when sufficient information cannot be gained through the direct measures of skills provided by curriculum-based methods. Many diagnostic assessments are norm-referenced assessments, so the limitations related to their use, especially their use with children who are culturally and linguistically diverse, must be taken into consideration.

    Norm-referenced assessments

    Norm-referenced assessments are developed by creating test items and then administering these items to a group of children that will be used as a comparison group. When administered to a child, the child’s performance can then be compared to the performance of the larger group and will indicate the child's standing relative to this larger group (norming sample). This type of assessment does not provide a direct measure of specific skills that have been targeted for intervention and cannot be administered frequently to measure a child’s progress, which is the purpose of curriculum-based measurement. When administering norm-referenced assessments to children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, the district needs to review the test administration manual to ensure that children with a similar background have been included in the comparison group. Otherwise the results may not reflect the child’s true abilities. Although some of these assessments provide age- and grade-equivalent scores, the meaning of these scores can be easily misinterpreted by both parents and staff. Certain norm-referenced tests, such as the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals (CELF), Gray's Reading Oral Test (GORT) and the Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing (CTOPP), do provide a direct measure of skills that have been targeted for intervention.

    Summative assessments

    Summative assessments provide a measurement of child mastery of grade-level content standards at a point after instruction has occurred. Unlike formative assessment, summative assessment does not provide information that can assist teachers in making instructional adjustments during the actual learning process, but it does provide a tool to measure the overall effectiveness of instructional practices and programs. Examples of summative assessments include standardized state-level assessments and interim district and classroom assessments such as end-of-unit or semester exams.

    (For Preschool - Teaching and learning is addressed in section 2 of the Early Learning Program Guidelines. Also see Preschool - 10.1 Eligibility)

    The information from all of these assessment methods can be useful as part of a comprehensive evaluation or reevaluation of a child, depending on the particular areas of concern for the child and the types of information that the evaluation team needs to gather.

    Conducting the evaluation

    Within 60 days from receipt of parental consent to evaluate a child, the school district must conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the child to identify the educational needs of the child and to determine if the child is a child with a disability. For assistance in calculating the 60-day timeline, refer to Child Find Clarification Related to Calculating 60 Days, Ohio Department of Education, Office for Exceptional Children.

    The school district is required to develop an evaluation plan that includes input from the parents. The Operating Standards do not require the school district to convene a meeting to develop this plan. It is recommended that the school district provide the parents with a copy of a written evaluation plan and the evaluation plan should include all the evaluations that the parents and the school have agreed to when planning. A written plan is not required, but is recommended.

    Exceptions to 60-day timeline
    The 60-day timeline for conducting the evaluation does not apply to a school district if:

    • The parent of the child repeatedly fails or refuses to produce the child for the evaluation; or
    • The child enrolls in a new school district of residence after the 60-day period has begun but before a determination by the child's previous school district of residence as to whether the child is a child with a disability. This exception applies only if the current school district of residence is making sufficient progress to ensure a prompt completion of the evaluation and the parent and the current school district agree to a specific time when the evaluation will be completed.

    When determining the existence of a specific learning disability, the 60-day timeline also can be extended with mutual written agreement between the parents and eligibility team, if it is determined that additional needed data cannot be obtained within the 60-day timeline. The decision to extend the timeline must be made on a case-by-case basis depending on the needs of the child. This agreement must be in writing and must indicate the target date for the end of the extended timeline.

     

Last Modified: 7/11/2013 4:14:02 PM