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What is an Independent Educational Evaluation?

If your child receives special education services the school district will periodically use formal tests and measurements to evaluate your child. You may not agree with the assessment and are allowed to request an Independent Educational Evaluation, IEE. That means you ask a professional who is not employed by the school to do the evaluation.  You may qualify for this to be done at the school expense, not paid by the parents.

Why would you ask for an independent evaluation?

If you feel the district failed to access the area where your child’s particular skill or weakness would show, you should request the IEE. An IEE may provide the information you need to make informed decisions about your child’s education. For example: if you child has great articulation in speech but doesn’t understand spoken directions, or informal conversation with peers, a speech evaluation will assess and reveal those weaknesses. A test of their articulation would not be a complete profile of the student’s current level of performance.  If your child is very bright but when given an exam they are so anxious they forget all the answers, it would be appropriate for the district to do an inventory of basic emotional issues. Schools evaluate many children. I have seen testing done for a student named Robert and at the top of every page the evaluator speaks about John. This sets up red flags that a computer generated this report and the parent might question if this is really their child that is being reviewed?

How do we start this process?

The parent requests an independent evaluation at a CSE or in writing when they suspect the district evaluations fall short. The school can pay for it or the school district must file a due process complaint and state their district evaluation was appropriate.  A hearing officer will be appointed and hear the case. This officer will either request the evaluation be done or conclude the school’s evaluation was appropriate. If you are not successful at this level an appeal can be filed.

How do you pick the evaluator?

The school can provide you with a list of qualified individuals who could conduct the evaluation. You may review their list but reserve the right to use a provider that is not on the list as long as their qualifications meet the same criteria as the school’s providers.

What if the parent has their own evaluation that they have already paid for?

When a parent has an independent evaluation the school district must consider its content in any decision that is made about the child’s free appropriate public education.  This policy is part of the Procedural Safeguards.

Go online and look up more information about Independent Evaluations, or contact an advocate or non- profit that helps students with special education needs. A great resource on the web is or pick up some fantastic resources of Andrew Cuddy’s “ The Special Education Battlefield” on Amazon, or” When the School Says No…How to Get the Yes”, bu Dr. Vaughn K. Lauer.  If you have trouble finding help the school can refer you to someone who is qualified to help you understand your procedural safeguards.  Lisa Bock



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