I disagree with the school’s evaluation results. Now what?

Do you disagree with the results of your child’s school evaluation for ? Are you worried that the evaluation wasn’t thorough enough or is inaccurate? Here are steps you can take if you don’t agree with the school’s evaluation results.

If this wasn’t your child’s first evaluation, find out why evaluations of the same child can sometimes lead to different results.

Understand what a full evaluation should include.

Schools can’t use only one test or measure to see if your child has a learning or thinking difference. A full evaluation must include a variety of tests and data, especially in the areas where you or your child’s teachers have identified concerns.

Make sure all the tests and assessments you agreed to were conducted.

Before your child was evaluated, you had to sign a consent to evaluate form that gave the school permission to test your child. That form (or the prior written notice about evaluation) should have listed all of the tools that would be used to assess your child. Make sure that all of those tests were performed and that you have an evaluation report for all of them.

Express your specific concerns to the evaluation team.

There are different reasons you may disagree with evaluation results. If you’re concerned that the test results didn’t measure what needed to be looked at, ask the evaluator to explain the test in detail. Ask about the scope and limitations of the test.

If you disagree with the recommendations, be clear about what you don’t think is right. And be sure to talk to the evaluation team about alternative ideas for services and supports. The team should decide on what best meets your child’s needs even if it isn’t exactly what an evaluator recommended.

Provide outside evaluation results if you have them.

If you had private testing done, you may want to try to work with the school to use outside evaluation results alongside the school testing. However, it’s important to know that the (IDEA) only says schools must consider the recommendations and results. It doesn’t say they have to accept them.

Ask for additional testing in areas that weren’t looked at.

If you feel the school’s testing was incomplete, write a letter expressing your concerns. Be specific about the skills or areas of difficulty you don’t think were examined. Ask that your child be evaluated using additional testing. The school may not agree to the request, but this way your concerns are in writing and on file.

Request an independent educational evaluation (IEE) paid for by the school.

If you don’t agree with the results of the school’s evaluation of your child, you have the right to request an IEE “at public expense.” An IEE is conducted by an outside professional who isn’t employed by the school.

You need to put your request in writing. This set of letter templates includes one to help request an IEE at public expense.

The school must pay for an IEE unless it asks for a due process hearing to prove that the evaluation it conducted was accurate and thorough for your child. If you can’t get an IEE at public expense, learn the steps to take to seek a private evaluation on your own.

Ask for mediation.

Mediation is a private meeting in which you and the school work together to solve a dispute with the help of someone who doesn’t take sides — a mediator. IDEA says that schools have to provide mediation for free. But doing mediation is voluntary on both their part and yours. The school doesn’t have to agree to do it. You don’t have to do it, either, if the school suggests it. You or the district can file for a due process hearing at any time to resolve your dispute.

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