What is a reevaluation for special education?

By Amanda Morin

At a glance

  • A reevaluation isn’t the same as the annual review of your child’s IEP.

  • There are two types of reevaluations: a triennial reevaluation and a parent- or teacher-requested reevaluation.

  • The goal is to determine if a student’s needs have changed.

If your student has an , you’re probably familiar with the school evaluation process. The results helped determine eligibility for special education. But what is a reevaluation for special education? 

It’s an evaluation that happens after that first evaluation. It’s not the same as the annual review of an IEP or just additional testing. A reevaluation is a full-fledged look at a student’s needs. There are two types of reevaluations:

  • Triennial reevaluation (three-year review) 
  • Parent- or teacher-requested reevaluation

Unlike with an initial evaluation, a triennial reevaluation doesn’t have to be specifically requested. That’s because it’s required by law to happen. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires schools to reevaluate kids with IEPs at least once every three years.

The purpose of the triennial reevaluation is to see if a student’s needs have changed. It’s also to see if they still qualify for special education services.  

However, families and teachers may want a reevaluation at another time, or before the three-year mark. Under IDEA, a student may be evaluated only once per year. That leaves room for families or schools to request a new evaluation if new information is needed before the triennial reevaluation.

Just like an initial evaluation, a reevaluation is an involved process. It takes time and effort from you, the student, and school staff. Before starting, it’s important to think carefully about why it’s needed. You can ask school staff for their thoughts and advice. You’ll also want to think through how to explain a reevaluation to kids.  

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    About the author

    About the author

    Amanda Morin is the author of “The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education” and the former director of thought leadership at Understood. As an expert and writer, she helped build Understood from its earliest days. 

    Reviewed by

    Reviewed by

    Lindsay Jones, JD is chief executive officer of the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD).