Exceptional Children's Services

Frequently Asked Questions – Evaluation

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Questions and Answers about Evaluation

Question: How will my child be evaluated?  

Answer: After your child has been referred for evaluation, a process must be followed to determine his/her need for special education services. Your child must be evaluated in all areas related to the suspected disability or special need. Parents must give written permission for evaluations to be conducted.  

Question: What are you and other school personnel hoping to learn from this assessment?  

Answer: Assessment tools are used to gather relevant functional and developmental information about your child, including information from you, the parent, that may assist in determining whether your child has a disability. If it is determined that your child has a disability, the assessment information will assist the IEP Team (which includes you as the parent) in developing an appropriate Individualized Education Program (IEP) for your child, designed to address his or her unique needs.  

Question: What is the evaluation process?  

Answer: The following procedures will be followed if your child is referred for evaluation:

  • You must be given notice of the evaluations and a description of any evaluation procedures that Cumberland County Schools proposes to use.

  • Evaluations cannot proceed until you have given written consent. If you do not wish to have your child evaluated, the school system has the right to pursue an evaluation through mediation or a due process hearing.

  • A variety of assessment tools and strategies must be used to gather information about your child.

  • This information must be relevant and functional in order to determine if the child has a disability.

  • They must provide information that directly assists in determining a student’s needs.

  • Information can be provided by the parent and must be considered.

  • The evaluation procedures may not be limited to a single procedure as the sole determiner or whether or not a child has a disability or determining appropriate educational programming.

  • The student should be assessed in all areas of suspected disability.

  • Evaluation materials must not be discriminatory on a racial or cultural basis.

  • Evaluation materials must be provided in the child’s native language or other mode of communication.

  • Evaluation materials must be valid and reliable for gathering information.

  • Trained and knowledgeable persons must administer evaluations.

  • Evaluations must be administered according to instructions provided by the producer of the test.  

Question: What will happen as a result of the assessment?  

Answer: Once the evaluation process is completed, a decision must be made to determine if your child is eligible under Procedures and Guidelines, for special education and related services. This decision is made by the IEP Team, of which you, as a parent are a member. Team members must be knowledgeable about your child, the meaning of the evaluation data, and the possible placement options. The school must provide a copy of the evaluation report and the documentation of eligibility determination to the parent. In order for your child to be eligible for special education and related services he/she:

Must have a disability according to one of the eligibility categories. Must be adversely affected in their educational performance. Must be in need of special education if your child is eligible for special education and any related services. An Individualized Education Program will be developed for your child.  

Question: I have been invited to my child’s school to attend an IEP Team Meeting. What is an IEP Team? What purpose does it serve?  

Answer: The IEP Team is a group of qualified individuals who review and make decisions regarding the referral, identification and placement of students with disabilities. This group includes you as the parent, a regular education teacher, special educators, a Cumberland County Schools representative who has the authority to commit resources and make sure services are provided, and other personnel who work with your child.  

Question: Will my child always need special education services?  

Answer: When a child is referred, identified, and placed in special education, an IEP is developed. Your child’s IEP must be reviewed and a new one developed at least annually. However, an IEP can be revisited as often as is necessary, and changes made as deemed appropriate.

In addition, at least every three years, your child must go through a reevaluation process in order to determine if they continue to be eligible for special education and related services. A reevaluation can occur at any time that it may be warranted, but as stated earlier at least every three years.

Your child’s IEP is an on going process of reviewing, revising, and measuring educational growth. Your child will be exited from Special Education, if when going through the reevaluation process, it is determined that your child no longer meets eligibility requirements and is maintaining satisfactory progress in the general curriculum.  

Question: How can we determine if he/she is making progress?  

Answer: Your child’s progress will be monitored. You will receive a report of progress at least as often as you receive a report card from the regular classroom. As goals and objectives are developed, so are ways to evaluate the mastery of these goals. These evaluation measures will be noted on your child’s IEP. In addition, every child must be evaluated annually through the requirements of the state’s assessment program. Testing modifications may be of benefit if your child’s specific needs require them. These modifications will be discussed at the IEP meeting. The results of the state assessments will be shared with you.  

Question: Will anything change without my knowledge or consent?  

Answer: As a required member of the IEP Team, you, the parent, must be invited to all IEP Team Meetings regarding your child.

Parental consent is required to evaluate, reevaluate, and place your child. Therefore, no changes can be made without your consent.

If you refuse consent, the school may continue to pursue an evaluation, reevaluation, or placement by using a due process hearing or mediation. You, s a parent, may also seek a due process hearing or mediation should you disagree with decisions being made. Please refer to the Handbook on Parent’s Rights for more detailed information.  

Question: How do I advocate for my child?  

Answer: You can advocate in many ways. If you have concerns that need to be addressed through the IEP Team, you may request an IEP Team meeting be held.

As your child’s advocate, it is important to maintain positive communication not only with school personnel, but also with your child. Being aware of what your child’s school day is like, their daily responsibilities, homework assignments, etc., will enable you to not only provide support to your child but to inform the school, if needed, when you feel other modifications would be of benefit in helping your child to maintain progress.

Staying familiar with the procedures and guidelines will enable you to better advocate for your child.

Question: How do I put all this information together so it makes sense?  

Answer: You will receive copies of many forms as your child is referred, identified, and placed. It will be important for you to maintain a folder or notebook for this information, in the order it is received. This will enable you to “track” your child’s special education. It is also very helpful to maintain a file or notebook, in the event that your family moves to another system. Maintaining all copies of information received will help expedite your child’s entry into special education in other school systems.  

Question: Who do I contact if I have questions or concerns?  

Answer: When questions or concerns arise you should begin by speaking with your child’s teachers, both regular and special education. You may contact your school EC Case Manager, as well as the Principal. When questions or concerns continue to exist, you should feel free to contact the EC Instructional Specialists, EC Supervisors, or the Executive Director of Exceptional Children’s Services. Telephone numbers for EC personnel can be found on the inside cover of the Handbook on Parent’s Rights or on the attached Parent’s Quick Reference Guide.

Published by Shonda Virgil on August 12, 2019

Cumberland County Schools
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