Special Education Timelines

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Disability regulations outline certain timelines that SCUSD must meet when conducting a student’s eligibility assessment. This ensures that a student’s disability related needs are addressed within a timely fashion.

SCUSD must follow the following timelines related to disability eligibility:

  • Parental request in writing:  Once signed and returned by parent, SCUSD has 15 calendar days to provide parent with an assessment plan.  
  • For school-age children, the eligibility assessment must be conducted and an IEP held within 60 calendar days of SCUSD’s receipt of written parental consent for specified assessment activities.  
    • This timeline occurs at the end of the school year, allowance is made for the evaluation to be completed when the next school year begins  
    • Calendar includes weekend and holidays  
    • For school holidays that exceed five days, the 60-day timeline is extended by an equal number of days  
    • Extension of assessment timelines, beyond exemptions above, requires parental agreement in writing

Developing a Special Education Assessment Plan

Before a student can be assessed for eligibility of special education or reassessed while receiving special education and related services, SCUSD must develop an Assessment Plan and provide it to the parents for their approval.

SCUSD must develop the special education Assessment Plan in cooperation with the student’s teacher(s), general and special education, and other appropriate staff, depending upon the student’s disability or suspected area of disability, such as:

  • The school psychologist  
  • Related services personnel  
  • The school nurse

Persons developing a special education Assessment Plan should use information from:

  • The written request for a special education assessment  
  • The parent  
  • School records, including teacher interviews and observations, student work samples, and other knowledge gathered through a process that reviews the student’s achievement  
  • The Student Study Team (SST) recommendations, including accommodations and modifications  
  • Recent evaluations, including any Independent Educational Evaluations (IEE) provided by the parent (34 CFR 300.502(a) and 303.504(c), 30 EC 56329(b), 5 CCR 3022.)  
  • Existing evaluation information provided by the parents, current classroom based assessments, and observations by teachers and related service providers (34 CFR 300.305(a)(1), 30 EC 56321(e), 30 EC 56381(a)(1), 5 CCR 3022.)

The special education Assessment Plan must describe:

  • The reason(s) for the assessment (30 EC 56321(a).)  
  • The areas of suspected disabilities that will be assessed  
  • The types of assessments that will be included (34 CFR 300.503(b)(3), 34 CFR 300.304(a), 30 EC 56321(b)(3).)  
  • The types of staff who will conduct the assessments  
  • The student’s primary language and language proficiency status (LEP/FEP) for English Learners (ELs) (34 CFR 300.304(c)(4) and (c)(1)(ii), 30 EC 56321(b)(1), 5 CCR 3022.)  
  • Alternative means that will be used to assess language impairment or specific learning disabilities when standard tests are considered invalid (34 CFR 300.304(c), 5 CCR 3030(c)(4)(B), 5 CCR 3030 (j)(4)(B).)  
  • Any additional data needed to determine eligibility, present levels of performance, the child’s need for special education and related services, and any modifications needed to enable the child to meet the goals and to participate in the general curriculum (34 CFR 300.305(a)(2), 30 EC 56381(b)(2).)  
  • Assessment information that the parent requests to be considered, including private assessments (34 CFR 300.304(b), 30 EC 56341.1(a), 5 CCR 3022., 20 USC 1414(b)(2)(A), 34 CFR 300.305(a)(1)(i), EC 56329(c).)  
  • Information related to enabling the student to be involved in and progress in the general ed setting (20 USC 1414(b)(2)(A)(ii), 34 CFR 300.304(b)(1)(ii), 30 EC 56345.)  
  • Information about the student’s communication status and language function, as appropriate (34 CFR 300.304(c)(4), 30 EC 56320(f).)  Information about the student’s motor abilities, as appropriate (34 CFR 300.304(c)(4), 30 EC 56320(f).
  • Information about the student’s career and vocational abilities and interests, as appropriate (30 EC 56320(f).)  
  • Information about the student’s health and developmental information, as appropriate (34 CFR 300.304(c)(4), 30 EC 56320(f), 30 EC 56327(e).)  
  • Information about the student’s vision, including low vision, as appropriate (34 CFR 300.304(c)(4), 30 EC 56320(f), 30 EC 56352, 5 CCR 3027.)  
  • Information about the student’s hearing status, as appropriate (34 CFR 300.304(b), 30 EC 56320(f), 5 CCR 3027.)  
  • Information about the student’s social and emotional status (34 CFR 300.304(c)(4), 30 EC 56320(f).)  
  • Information about the student’s general intelligence and ability (34 CFR 300.304(c)(4), 30 EC 56320(f).)  
  • Information about self-help, as appropriate (30 EC 56320(f).)  
  • Information about the student’s academic performance, as appropriate (34 CFR 300.304(c)(4), 30 EC 56320(f).)
  • In addition, an Assessment Plan must contain documentation of parent consent and the date on which consent was obtained. (20 USC 1414(a)(1)(C)(i), 34 CFR 300.300(a), 34 CFR 300.300© 30 EC 56321.)

SCUSD must develop a special education Assessment Plan and provide it to a student’s parents:

  • Within 15 calendar days from the date of receipt of a written request for an initial special education assessment (34 CFR 300.503(a) and (c), 34 CFR 300.304(c)(1)(iv) and (v), 30 EC 56321(a), 30 EC 56321(b).)  
  • Within 15 calendar days from the date of receipt of a written request for an assessment of a student currently receiving special education and related services (34 CFR 300.503(a) and (c), 34 CFR 300.304(c)(1)(iv) and (v), 30 EC 56321(a), 30 EC 56321(b).)  
  • Prior to conducting a reassessment of a student receiving special education and related services  
  • When a change in a student’s eligibility for special education or related services is being considered

Parents must be notified that:

  • Upon completion of the assessment, an IEP team meeting shall be scheduled to determine if the student is an individual with exceptional needs (34 CFR 300.306(a), 30 EC 56329(a). 34 CFR 300.504, 30 EC 56506(c).)  
  • They have a right to obtain, at public expense, an Independent Educational Assessment (IEE), if they disagree with the assessment conducted by SCUSD or the right to obtain an assessment at any time at their own expense (34 CFR 300.306(a), 30 EC 56329(a). 34 CFR 300.504, 30 EC 56506(c).)
  • All Special Education assessment plans (SE-7) should be developed using the SCUSD’s Special Education Assessment Plan Form on the web-based IEP system (SE-7).
  • Note: The Assessment Plan provided to the parents must be in the primary language spoken in the home. Forms in all of the major languages are available. The Assessment Plan must also be written in language that can be easily understood by the general public. (34 CFR 300.503(a) and (c), 34 CFR 300.304(c)(1)(iv) and (v), 30 EC 56321(a), 30 EC 56321(b).)

The Assessment Plan must provide for:

  • Assessing the student in all areas of suspected disability  
  • Selecting and administering tests and other assessment materials that are not racially, culturally, or linguistically discriminatory (20 USC 1414(b)(3)(A)(i), 34 CFR 300.304(c)(1)(i), 30 EC 56320(a).)  
  • Administering tests and other assessment materials in the language and form most likely to yield accurate information on what the student knows and can do academically, developmentally, and functionally unless it is not feasible to provide or administer  
  • Selecting and administering tests and other assessment materials to assess English Learners (EL) that measure the extent to which the student has a disability and needs special education, rather than measuring the student’s English language skills (34 CFR 300.304(c)(1)(ii), 34 CFR 300.306(b)(iii).)  
  • Selecting tests and other assessment materials that assess specific areas of educational need and are not designed to provide a single intelligence quotient (20 USC 1414 (b)(2), 34 CFR 300.304(c)(2), 30 EC 56320(c).)  
  • Ensuring that IQ tests are not administered to African-American students (Larry P. vs. Riles.)  
  • Using a variety of assessment tools and strategies to gather relevant functional and developmental information about the student  
  • Using information provided by the parent/guardian  
  • Obtaining information about how the student is involved and progressing in the general curriculum  
  • Ensuring vision and hearing screenings have been conducted within the past year, or securing written documentation that the parents do not feel these assessments are necessary

Note that SCUSD does not need to develop an Assessment Plan when administering assessments that are generally administered to students in the class, school, or District.

Initial Assessment

Once consent for assessment has been received, the IEP Team must conduct the assessment, as defined above, to answer the following three questions:

  1. Does the student meet the eligibility criteria as an individual with a disability?  
  2. Does the severity of the disability have an adverse effect on the student’s educational performance?  
  3. Does the student require special education supports and services to achieve a free appropriate public education?

Note that SCUSD must assess all English Learners (EL) in the student’s primary language, unless it is not feasible to do so, by evaluators who are qualified specialists and proficient in the student’s primary language. The assessment report must address the validity and reliability of the assessments in light of the student’s language background and interpreted in a language that is accessible to the student’s parents.

Reassessment

Once a student has been identified by an IEP team as having a disability and needing special education, it is required that the student be reassessed unless the parent and SCUSD agree that it is unnecessary, at the following times (20 USC 1414 (a)(2), 34 CFR 300.303(b), 30 EC 56043(k)):

  • Every three years (triennially)  
  • At any time, at the request of the parent(s) or SCUSD staff except it shall not occur more frequently than once a year unless the parent and SCUSD agree  
  • When SCUSD determines that the educational or related service needs (including improved academic achievement and functional performance) warrant an evaluation  
  • To determine continued eligibility prior to transitioning from a preschool program to kindergarten, or to first grade (30 EC 56445.)

Generally, the purpose of a reassessment is to address one or more of the following concerns:

  • That the student may no longer have a disability  
  • That the student may have an additional or different disability  
  • That the student is not adequately progressing in achieving the goals and objectives set forth in his/her IEP  
  • That the student’s current special education and related services may no longer be appropriate  
  • That the student may no longer need special education and related services

Three-year (triennial) evaluations must include review and consideration of all required information (20 USC 1414(c)(1)(A), 34 CFR 300.305(a), 30 EC 56381(b).):

  • A review of existing data (20 USC 1414(c)(1)(A), 34 CFR 300.305(a)(1), 30 EC 56381(b).)  

    • If the review of existing evaluation data on the student indicates that there is no need to conduct additional evaluations, SCUSD must notify the parent of:  
    • The determination and the reasons for it  
    • The right of the parents to request an assessment to determine whether the student continues to be a student with a disability and to determine the student’s educational needs (20 USC 1414(c)(4), 34 CFR 300.305(d), 30 EC 56381(d).)  
  • Based on the review of existing evaluation data on the student, SCUSD conducts the additional assessments required to produce the information needed to complete the reevaluation (20 USC 1414(c)(1), 34 CFR 300.305© ,30 EC 56381(d).)  
  • SCUSD uses the required members of the IEP team and other qualified professionals as appropriate, to review existing evaluation data, and on the basis of that review, and input from the student’s parents:  Identify what additional data, if any, are needed to determine whether the student continues to have a disability, and the student’s educational needs (20 USC 1414(c), 34 CFR 300.305, 30 EC 56381(b).) A review of information provided by the parent (20 USC 1414(c)(1)(A), 34 CFR 300.305(a)(1)(i), 30 EC 56381(b).)  A review of teacher and related service provider information (20 USC 1414(c)(1)(A), 34 CFR 300.305(a)(1)(iii), 30 EC 56381(b).) A review of current classroom based, local, or State assessments and classroom based observations (20 USC 1414(c)(1)(A), 34 CFR 300.305(a)(1)(ii), 30 EC 56381(b).) A hearing and vision screening of the student unless parental permission is denied (34 CFR 300.304(c)(4), 30 EC 56320(f), 5 CCR 3027.)
SCUSD Best Practice   

Although educational code provides for SCUSD and parents to agree that reassessment is not warranted (30 EC 56043(k)), SCUSD institutes a best practice of providing a student a complete reassessment as described above.

Assessment Reports

SCUSD personnel must document the information gathered during the assessment process in an Assessment Report. This is in accordance with the following regulation:

  • Assessments result in a written report or reports that include the findings of each assessment (34 CFR 300.306(a)(2), 30 EC 56327.)

The Assessment Report must include:

  • Results of tests administered in the student’s primary language by qualified personnel (20 USC 1412(a)(6)(B), 34 CFR 304(c)(1(i), 30 EC 56320.)  
  • If a test was administered through an interpreter:  
    • The written report includes a statement regarding the validity of the assessment (30 EC 56320(b), 5 CCR 3023(a).)  
  • A description of the extent to which testing varied from standard conditions (20 USC 1414(b)(3)(A)(iii), 5 CCR 3023(a))
  • Information related to enabling the student to be involved in, and progress in, the general education curriculum or, for preschool students, to participate in appropriate activities (20 USC 1414(b)(2)(A)(ii).)  
  • A determination of whether the student needs special education and related services (30 EC 56327(a).)  
  • Information on relevant behavior noted during observation of the student in the appropriate setting (30 EC 56327(c).)  
  • Educationally relevant health, developmental and medical findings, if any (34 CFR 300.532, 30 EC 56327(e).)  
  • A determination of the effects of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage, where appropriate (30 EC 56327(g).)  
  • A description of the need for specialized services, materials, and equipment for students with low incidence disabilities (30 C 56327(h).)  
  • Consideration of independent evaluations (34 CFR 300.502(b), 30 EC 56329(b).)  
  • The basis for making the determination of eligibility for students with specific learning disabilities (34 CFR 300.311(a)(2) 30 EC 56327(b).)

Following completion of a student’s Assessment Report SCUSD must provide a copy to the student’s parents (20 USC 1414(b)(4)(B), 34 CFR 300.306(a)(2), 30 EC 56329.).

Parent Refusal to Allow Evaluation

The administrator or designated staff member is responsible for ensuring that all assessments are conducted, reports completed, and an IEP meeting is held within the 60-day timeline.  

If the parent/guardian does not return a signed special education Assessment Plan within a reasonable amount of time (5 days), the administrator/ designee must do the following:  

  • Contact the parents to determine if they received the plan and intend to sign and return it  
    • Note:  Documentation of any contacts made with parents regarding signing the plan should be maintained.
    • If necessary, a second copy of the plan should be sent to parents and the date documented on contact logs.  
  • Provide parents with information to answer any questions they may have 
  • If appropriate, revise the plan to accommodate concerns parents may have  
  • If parents refuse to sign the Assessment Plan, place a copy in the student’s cumulative folder, document on the web-based IEP system, and notify the personnel identified on the plan of the parent’s decision
SCUSD Best Practice

If a parent refuses to allow an initial assessment, SCUSD may, but is not required to pursue the evaluation. SCUSD must document its reasonable efforts to obtain parental consent. SCUSD must ensure that the Special Education Director is fully informed of attempts to obtain consent, and provide guidance as to whether or not to pursue an evaluation without consent.

District Refusal to Conduct Evaluation

If a student’s parent requests an evaluation, and the IEP team determines that an evaluation is not required or otherwise warranted, the IEP team must provide the parent written notice of SCUSD’s determination to refuse the evaluation. Written Notice of Refusal must state:

  • A description of the action refused by SCUSD  
  • An explanation of why SCUSD refuses to take the action  
  • A description of any other options that SCUSD considered and the reasons why those options were rejected  
  • A description of each evaluation procedure, assessment, record, or report that SCUSD relied upon when the action was refused  
  • A description of any other factors that are relevant to SCUSD’s refusal  A statement that the parents of a student with a disability have protection under the procedural safeguards described in previously  
  • Sources for parents to contact to obtain assistance in understanding the provisions of IDEA