Independent Educational Evaluations and 3 Reasons to Keep Them Private
A “psycho-educational evaluation” is an overall assessment to determine learning disabilities, identify strengths, weaknesses, and cognitive deficiencies. These standardized tests are administered in full and the special sections are performed by various disciplines such as, occupational, speech, and physical therapists.
According to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), before a child can receive special education support services, an initial evaluation needs must be completed within 60 days of the initial request.
So what happens if a parents’ request is denied?
If a parent requests an evaluation, the school staff has a legal obligation to either perform the assessment or explain in writing why they will not complete the assessment. Either way, the parent’s have a right to have it completed, at the school’s expense, or the parent’s can file a “due-process” hearing.
Out of fear of the unknown, and the stress of being denied, many parent’s will want to go out and have an “Independent Educational Evaluation” (IEE) completed on their child. The truth is, this is a very costly and unnecessary step towards a child’s academic future.
If this is the case though, and parents have sought an outside source, there are a few things they can do to ensure a successful outcome.
Here are (3) reasons parents should refrain from providing a copy of their child’s Independent Educational Evaluation:
1) There will be variations in the testing
Many parent’s want to run into the school with their hair on fire, waving the IEE as proof their child needs services. While that is a great piece of evidence, it is not the schools’ business. From an academic standpoint, parents need a true school assessment. An IEE performed in a private office will not yield the same results as an evaluation with direct observation and peer interaction at the school level. There could be variations in testing. School personnel should complete the evaluation in the child’s most comfortable and least restrictive setting for the best results.
2) Parent’s need an “unbiased” opinion
Don’t give the school something to think about. If parents provide their own IEE, the school then has a base to start with. We want the teacher’s and staff to find out on their own what works and what doesn’t. It might also provide a negative argument if the school administration does not agree with your IEE. Giving them a copy of the IEE will only point them in one direction. Let them do their own work and not copy from someone else’s evaluation assessment.
3) You paid the “out of pocket” costs
The most obvious reason not to provide a copy of the IEE is that you paid the money. A school is not required to reimburse parent’s for their own IEE; however, a school is responsible for providing one at no cost if the parent’s request it. If the parent receives an evaluation from the school and the parent does not agree with the findings, the parent may request an IEE, at the school’s expense. This is rare, but it has happened in unusual circumstances.
Parent’s should keep the results of their child’s private educational evaluation–private! Let the school do its job and assess your child in the school environment. Don’t do their work for them; parents are entitled to a professional, and well-developed educational assessment of their child’s abilities or lack thereof.
In the meantime, what can parents do to gain a clear understanding of their child’s abilities?
Parents who want a clear idea of where their child is academically, physically, and socially, should help the teacher’s and administration understand the need for an assessment to determine the best course of action. There are services in place to assist parents in gaining the information to make informed decisions. These can be found on the IDEA website.
Ongoing communication with productive and direct feedback provides opportunities to work together for the optimum learning outcome.