Are schools required to conduct their own evaluations after an independent educational evaluation (IEE) is conducted?
“No,” is the answer from Rory Duffield and Lourrie Duddridge, two senior specialists with Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS), one of the largest school districts in the United States.
During a January 25, 2021, training, Rory advised FCPS special education staff of updates regarding IEEs and Virginia. Toward the end of his presentation, he answered a question that was posted in a chatroom:
“If there is a private assessment does FCPS have to do an equivalent evaluation? Like if they do request an IEE for speech should we then do an FCPS speech eval?”
It would be nice to do that, Erin, if we have the opportunity to. The key factor that we sometimes run into with that is that we don’t want to duplicate the same exact testing that was done in the private, because then it doesn’t make the results necessarily valid, so we might do some supplemental testing potentially, to get some additional information just so we can kind of have something on our end.
But that’s not always gonna be the case where we have the opportunity because the parent may not give us consent to do that evaluation. So of course, it’s contingent upon that. Any other questions? Well, thank you, everybody. If any further questions do pop up and feel free to contact us. Thank you, Lourrie, for putting that additional information in the chat. It is not required for FCPS to do that additional evaluation.
At the same time, in the chat room, Lourrie responded:
It is not REQUIRED that FCPS conduct an evaluation.
Rory’s and Lourrie’s answers to the one question are consistent with 300.303(b) and 300.502(b) and 300.502(c).
(a) General. A public agency must ensure that a reevaluation of each child with a disability is conducted in accordance with §§300.304 through 300.311—
(1) If the public agency determines that the educational or related services needs, including improved academic achievement and functional performance, of the child warrant a reevaluation; or
(2) If the child’s parent or teacher requests a reevaluation.
(b) Limitation. A reevaluation conducted under paragraph (a) of this section—
(1) May occur not more than once a year, unless the parent and the public agency agree otherwise;
(b) Parent right to evaluation at public expense.(1) A parent has the right to an independent educational evaluation at public expense if the parent disagrees with an evaluation obtained by the public agency, subject to the conditions in paragraphs (b)(2) through (4) of this section.(2) If a parent requests an independent educational evaluation at public expense, the public agency 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 agency demonstrates in a hearing pursuant to §§300.507 through 300.513 that the evaluation obtained by the parent did not meet agency criteria.
(c) Parent-initiated evaluations. If the parent obtains an independent educational evaluation at public expense or shares with the public agency an evaluation obtained at private expense, the results of the evaluation—
(1) Must be considered by the public agency, if it meets agency criteria, in any decision made with respect to the provision of FAPE to the child; and
(2) May be presented by any party as evidence at a hearing on a due process complaint under subpart E of this part regarding that child.
Transcript and Video
A partial transcript for the January 25, 2021, training is below, as is the full video for the training.
Whether you’re in the FCPS area or not, it is an interesting view of how Local Education Agencies provide training and the delay that exists between the release of new guidance and the training on the new guidance.
For example, in FCPS’s case, in September 2020, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) released guidance regarding IEEs. Another four months passed before FCPS shared it in the January 25th training video—which was seven months after the United Stated Department of Education’s (USDOE) Office of Special Education Instruction (OSEP) released a Differentiated Monitoring Report about Virginia that, among other things, cited VDOE for regulations that were inconsistent with federal regulations, and required the regulations to be changed.
Transcript (starting at about the 1:24:00 mark):
This particular summer, the super superintendents memo went out, as you can see [inaudible] to all school divisions explaining some clarification. The federal guidelines regarding IEE requests and with regards to parent’s rights, specifically as you can kind of read through this slide is that parents can now ask for an IEE in an area in which their child was not previously assessed. So, for example, if a child during reevaluation or initial eligibility only had a psychological, social-cultural, and an educational evaluation, the parent could also then in an IEE request a speech and language. Prior to us realizing or finding this out, it used to be one for one but we are now realizing that we cannot limit the parents to that. So that’s what came out and that superintendent’s memo.
So what that exactly means to us as a school team, before I move on to the next slide, and there are two takeaways that we would like for you guys to understand from this new guidance we have received. Specifically, because parents can now request an IEE in an area not evaluated, that there may now be some eligibility meetings or IEP meetings or whatever the case is where we have to consider a a private evaluation in which we do not have an FCPS equivalent evaluation. And that can also affect different areas of eligibility that we did not initially consider when we’re going through eligibility.
So for example, for parent requests of speech and language evaluation, and it had never been done before, and we never had any concerns of that, the parent for some reason does, then we have to consider that and we would have to look at that private evaluation with good eagle eyes and looking through that those evaluation. So . . . We may- W are definitely starting to see some new evaluations being requested from parents, so it is becoming a little bit of a hot topic and that’s the reason why we wanted to bring it to your attention here today. So, just keep that in mind as we move forward. It’s no part, in terms of the school team, not necessarily doing a good job with considering or doing a fully comprehensive evaluation, but just happening.
I see a question in the chat. If there’s a private assessment does FCPS have to do an equivalent evaluation? Like if they do request an IEE speech, whether they would then do an FCPS speech evaluation? It would be nice to do that, Erin, if we have the opportunity to. The key factor that we sometimes run into with that is that we don’t want to duplicate the same exact testing that was done in the private, because then it doesn’t make the results necessarily valid, so we might do some supplemental testing potentially, to get some additional information just so we can kind of have something on our end. But that’s not always gonna be the case where we have the opportunity because the parent may not give us consent to do that evaluation. So of course, it’s contingent upon that. Any other questions? Well, thank you, everybody. If any further questions do pop up and feel free to contact us. Thank you, Lourrie, for putting that additional information in the chat. It is not required for FCPS to do that additional evaluation.