Chapter 5.8: Independent Educational Evaluation

    State Performance Plan (SPP):

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

    SPP 8:
    Percent of parents with a child receiving special education services who report that schools facilitated parent involvement as a means of improving services and results for children with disabilities. (20 U.S.C. 1416(a)(3)(A)).

    Intent:

    To provide guidance for school districts (LEAs) on the requirements of an independent educational evaluation (IEE) and the steps involved, when there is a disagreement regarding the process.

    Timelines:

    Without unnecessary delay

    If the parent disagrees with an evaluation obtained by the school district and requests an independent educational evaluation (IEE) at public expense, the school district must, without unnecessary delay, either file a due process complaint to request a hearing to show that its evaluation is correct, or ensure that an IEE be provided at public expense.

    REQUIREMENT

    3301-51-05
    (G) Independent educational evaluation
    (1) General

    (a) The parents of a child with a disability have the right under this rule to obtain an independent educational evaluation of the child, subject to paragraphs (G)(2) to (G)(5) of this rule.
    (b) Each school district of residence must provide to parents, upon request for an independent educational evaluation, information about where an independent educational evaluation may be obtained, and the district’s criteria applicable for independent educational evaluations as set forth in paragraph (G)(5) of this rule.
    (c) The following terms are defined as they are used in this rule:
    (i) "Independent educational evaluation" means an evaluation conducted by a qualified examiner who is not employed by the school district responsible for the education of the child in question; and
    (ii) "Public expense" means that the school district of residence either pays for the full cost of the evaluation or ensures that the evaluation is otherwise provided at no cost to the parent consistent with rule 3301-51-02 of the Administrative Code.

    (5) School district criteria

    (a) If an independent educational evaluation is at public expense, the criteria under which the evaluation is obtained, including the location of the evaluation and the qualifications of the examiner, must be the same as the criteria that the school district of residence uses when it initiates an evaluation, to the extent these criteria are consistent with the parent’s right to an independent educational evaluation.
    (b) Except for the criteria described in paragraph (G)(5)(a) of this rule, a school district of residence may not impose conditions or timelines related to obtaining an independent educational evaluation at public expense.

    GUIDANCE

    General

    If requested, the school district provides parents with information about where an independent educational evaluation (IEE) may be obtained and the district’s criteria for conducting such an evaluation. See above Requirements regarding school district criteria.

    If the parent disagrees with the school district’s evaluation the parent has the right to request an IEE at public expense.

    School district criteria

    The school district provides parents requesting an IEE its evaluator list along with the criteria that apply to evaluations (See Evaluation - 6.4 Planning and Conducting Evaluation). However, the parents may choose an evaluator to conduct the IEE who meets the district's criteria and is not on the school district’s list of evaluators.

    If an IEE is at public expense, the criteria under which the evaluation is obtained, including any geographic limitations on the evaluation and the qualifications of the examiner, must be same as the criteria that the school district of residence uses when it initiates an evaluation, to the extent those criteria are consistent with the parent’s right to an IEE.

    The criteria under which the IEE is conducted may include reasonable cost-containment criteria that are applicable to personnel used by the school district for evaluations, as well as to personnel used by parents for an IEE at public expense. However, the school district needs to provide the parents the opportunity to demonstrate that unique circumstances justify selection of an evaluator whose fees fall outside of the school district's cost-containment criteria. (Federal Register, August 14, 2006, pg. 46689). The district may also choose to impose a reasonable geographic limitation on the conduct of evaluations.
     

    • An IEE may include areas of assessments not conducted by the school district. This is allowable if the parents believe that the school district’s evaluation was not complete and additional assessments are needed. If the school district disagrees with the parents, the school district is required to file a due process complaint to prove that its evaluation is appropriate.
    • The parents may challenge the district’s criteria as not being applicable to the child’s IEE, if they can provide documentation or explain why the criteria are unnecessarily restrictive. If the district disagrees with the parents, the parents may file a formal written complaint with the Ohio Department of Education, Office for Exceptional Children or file a due process complaint requesting a due process hearing to challenge the district’s criteria.

    The school district should develop a list that includes the names and addresses of at least two independent evaluators that meet the district’s criteria. This list does not include the school psychologist employed by or servicing the school district. Any geographic limitations,cost containment criteria or examiner qualifications imposed by the district should also be in writing and provided to parents requesting an IEE.
     

    The district may not impose any conditions or timelines on the process of obtaining an independent educational evaluation at public expense, except for the criteria or limitations referenced above. The tests and assessments that are appropriate for an IEE are determined by the requirements that govern the conduct of evaluations (See Evaluation - 6.4 Planning and Conducting Evaluation).

    REQUIREMENT

    3301-51-05
    (G) Independent educational evaluation
    (2) Parent right to evaluation at public expense

    (a) A parent has the right to an independent educational evaluation at public expense if the parent disagrees with an evaluation obtained by the school district of residence subject to the conditions in paragraphs (G)(2)(b) to (G)(2)(d) of this rule.
    (b) If a parent requests an independent educational evaluation at public expense, the school district of residence must, without unnecessary delay, either:
    (i) File a due process complaint to request a hearing to show that its evaluation is appropriate; or
    (ii) Ensure that an independent educational evaluation is provided at public expense, unless the school district of residence demonstrates in a hearing pursuant to paragraphs (K)(2) and (K)(7) to (K)(13) of this rule that the evaluation obtained by the parent did not meet district criteria.
    (c) If the school district files a due process complaint notice to request a hearing and the final decision is that the school district’s evaluation is appropriate, the parent still has the right to an independent educational evaluation, but not at public expense.
    (d) If a parent requests an independent educational evaluation, the school district of residence may ask for the parent’s reason why the parent objects to the public evaluation. However, the school district may not require the parent to provide an explanation and may not unreasonably delay either providing the independent educational evaluation at public expense or filing a due process complaint to request a due process hearing to defend the public evaluation.
    (e) A parent is entitled to only one independent educational evaluation at public expense each time the school district conducts an evaluation with which the parent disagrees.

    (4) Requests for evaluations by hearing officers
    If a hearing officer requests an independent educational evaluation as part of a hearing on a due process complaint, the cost of the evaluation must be at public expense.

    GUIDANCE

    Parental right to evaluation at public expense

    When the school district of residence receives a request from the parents for an independent educational evaluation (IEE) at public expense after the school district has completed its evaluation of the child, the school district either files a due process complaint to show that the district’s evaluation is correct or grants the parents’ request and pays for the IEE. The school district must ensure that a timely decision is made as to whether or not it will file a due process complaint or grant the parents’ request for an IEE.

    • Providing the parents with a prior written notice refusing to allow the IEE is not an option under the federal or state laws and regulations.
    • Parents can request a publicly funded IEE any time after the district has completed its evaluation. There is no time limitation on making a request. However, the parents are entitled to only one IEE at public expense each time the school district conducts an evaluation or reevaluation with which the parents disagree.
      • The term “evaluation” includes any of the following assessments if completed separately from an initial evaluation or a reevaluation:
        • Functional behavioral assessment(FBA),
        • Technology assessment,
        • Physical therapy assessment,
        • Occupational therapy assessment,
        • Audiology assessment,
        • Orientation and mobility assessment,and
        • Any other type of assessments the child may require in order to determine the child’s eligibility and the services and supports needed by the child.
    • The IEE at public expense must meet the district’s criteria for conducting independent educational evaluations. These criteria may include cost-containment criteria that apply to personnel used to administer evaluations.
    • The parents should have the independent evaluator provide the district a copy of an IEE that was provided at public expense.

    If the school district receives a request to provide an IEE at public expense and has decided not to file a due process request to defend its evaluation, the school district:

    • Provides the parents with information about where an IEE may be obtained and the district’s criteria for evaluations; and
    • May ask the parents why they disagree with the district’s evaluation. The parents may choose not to explain;
      • The school district may not delay providing the IEE at public expense if the parents choose not to explain.
    • Provides the parents with the opportunity to explain why an evaluator who does not meet the district’s criteria should evaluate the child and why the cost of the evaluation exceeds the district’s cost-containment policies.

    When the school district receives a request to pay for an independent evaluation obtained by the parents at private expense after the school district has completed its evaluation, the school district:

    • Determines whether the evaluation meets the school district’s criteria for IEE.
    • Grants the parents’ request and pays for the IEE, if the evaluation meets the school district’s criteria for IEE.

    If the school district believes the privately funded evaluation does not meet its criteria for an IEE, the school district:

    • Provides the parents with prior written notice documenting the reasons why the evaluation does not meet the school district’s criteria for an IEE; and
    • Either files a due process complaint to request a hearing to show that the district’s evaluation is appropriate, or ensures that an IEE is provided at public expense.

    Filing a due process complaint

    The school district may file a due process complaint with the Ohio Department of Education, Office for Exceptional Children (ODE/OEC), if the school district believes:

    • Its evaluation is appropriate and it refuses to pay for an evaluation; or
    • The privately funded evaluation obtained by the parents does not meet the school district’s criteria for an evaluation, and the school district refuses to pay for another IEE because the district believes its own evaluation is appropriate.

    The school district files a due process complaint to request a hearing by following the procedures identified under Procedural Safeguards - 5.13 Due Process Complaints.

    The district informs the parents of its refusal to pay for an IEE through the Prior Written Notice to Parents PR-01form and advises the parents that if they pursue an IEE pending the outcome of the hearing, it may be at their own expense.

    The school district, depending on the specific case, may agree to participate in mediation offered by the Ohio Department of Education, Office for Exceptional Children.

    Providing an independent evaluation at public expense

    The school district provides the IEE at public expense when:

    • The parents request an IEE and the district agrees to pay for the evaluation if the evaluation meets the district’s criteria;
    • A hearing officer requests an IEE; or
    • A hearing officer finds that the district’s evaluation was not appropriate.

    Guidance provided by the U.S. Department of Education

    If the school district conducts a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) to evaluate a child to determine if a child is a child with a disability or conducts an FBA to develop or modify a behavioral intervention plan for a child, a parent who disagrees with the child’s FBA has the right to request an IEE at public expense. (OSEP letter to Dr. Kris Christiansen, February 9, 2007) (For guidance on conducting a functional behavioral assessment see Discipline - 8.3 Code of Conduct Violations - Removals of More than 10 Cumulative School Days - Change of Placement ).

    When a hearing officer orders an IEE, parental consent is required for the school district to release education records to the independent evaluator who will conduct the IEE. If a parent refuses to consent to the release of education records to an independent evaluator, a hearing officer could decide to dismiss the complaint (Federal Register, August 14, 2006, pg. 46690).

    REQUIREMENT

    3301-51-05
    (G) Independent educational evaluation
    (3) Parent-initiated evaluations If the parent obtains an independent educational evaluation at public expense or shares with the school district an evaluation obtained at private expense, the results of the evaluation:

    (a) Must be considered by the school district of residence, if it meets district criteria, in any decision made with respect to the provisions of FAPE to the child; and
    (b) May be presented by any party as evidence at a hearing on a due process complaint under Subpart E of Part B of the IDEA regarding the child.

    GUIDANCE

    Parent-initiated evaluations

    If the evaluation obtained by the parents meets the school district’s criteria for evaluations, the IEP and/or evaluation team reviews and discusses the evaluation, taking into consideration the findings or recommendations.

    • The IEP and/or evaluation team conducts this review of the evaluation funded at public expense and of private evaluations paid for by the parents.
    • The IEP team and/or evaluation team must consider results and recommendations from the IEE. The IEP and/or evaluation team is not required, but may include results from the IEE in the ETR or recommendations from the IEE regarding the child’s special education and related services in the IEP.
    • The IEP and/or evaluation team documents its consideration of information included in evaluations funded at public expense or private evaluations paid for by the parents.

    If the school district believes the privately funded evaluation does not meet its criteria for an IEE, the school district provides parents with the reasons documented in a Prior Written Notice to Parents PR-01 form.

    Parents are not required to share an evaluation they obtain at private expense. However, a privately funded evaluation that is not shared with a public agency would not be considered an IEE under this rule. (Federal Register, August 14, 2006, pg. 46690).

    If a hearing officer decides that the school district’s evaluation is correct or appropriate, the parents still have the right to an IEE at the parents’ expense. If the private evaluation obtained by the parents meets the district’s criteria for IEE and the parents share that private evaluation with the district, the district must consider that IEE in any decision it makes related to providing FAPE for that child.

    The school district or the parents may present information obtained through an IEE provided at public expense or a private evaluation shared by the parents at an impartial due process hearing regarding the child.

     

Last Modified: 7/19/2013 2:26:47 PM