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Initial Evaluations

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires local education agencies (LEAs) to conduct an initial evaluation when there is suspicion that a child has a disability and, as result of the disability, needs special education and related services. The full and individual initial evaluation (FIIE) includes procedures that are used selectively with an individual child.

Once a district determines an initial evaluation is necessary, IDEA regulations require LEAs to provide parents with prior written notice and obtain their informed consent for the proposed evaluation. In addition, parents are provided with procedural safeguards that explain the rights afforded to the parents and the child throughout the evaluation process. 


Special Education Initial
Referral Timeline

The Special Education Initial Referral Timeline provides an overview of the timeline and legal requirements for a referral for an initial special education evaluation from the point of campus or parent request for a referral for an initial evaluation to the initial ARD committee meeting where eligibility is determined, and may be another helpful resource for ensuring timelines and legal requirements are implemented.

Special Education Full and Individual Initial Evaluation (FIIE) Timeline

The Special Education Full and Individual Initial Evaluation (FIIE) Timeline provides an overview of the various timelines for an initial evaluation and ARD committee meetings where eligibility is determined based upon when the school district received written consent for an FIIE.

Special Education Full and Individual Initial Evaluation (FIIE) Assessment Log

The Special Education Full and Individual Initial Evaluation (FIIE) Assessment Log provides local education agencies (LEAs) a tool for tracking initial evaluations, and aligns with the data collection requirements of State Performance Indicator 11 and 12.


34 CFR, §300.300 Parental Consent

  1. Parental consent for initial evaluation.
    1. i. The public agency proposing to conduct an initial evaluation to determine if a child qualifies as a child with a disability under §300.8 must, after providing notice consistent with §§300.503 and 300.504, obtain informed consent, consistent with §300.9, from the parent of the child before conducting the evaluation.
      1. Parental consent for initial evaluation must not be construed as consent for initial provision of special education and related services.
      2. The public agency must make reasonable efforts to obtain the informed consent from the parent for an initial evaluation to determine whether the child is a child with a disability.
    2. For initial evaluations only, if the child is a ward of the State and is not residing with the child's parent, the public agency is not required to obtain informed consent from the parent for an initial evaluation to determine whether the child is a child with a disability if—
      1. Despite reasonable efforts to do so, the public agency cannot discover the whereabouts of the parent of the child;
      2. The rights of the parents of the child have been terminated in accordance with State law; or
      3. The rights of the parent to make educational decisions have been subrogated by a judge in accordance with State law and consent for an initial evaluation has been given by an individual appointed by the judge to represent the child.
    3. i. If the parent of a child enrolled in public school or seeking to be enrolled in public school does not provide consent for initial evaluation under paragraph (a)(1) of this section, or the parent fails to respond to a request to provide consent, the public agency may, but is not required to, pursue the initial evaluation of the child by utilizing the procedural safeguards in subpart E of this part (including the mediation procedures under §300.506 or the due process procedures under §§300.507 through 300.516), if appropriate, except to the extent inconsistent with State law relating to such parental consent.
    4. The public agency does not violate its obligation under §300.111 and §§300.301 through 300.311 if it declines to pursue the evaluation.

34 CFR, §300.301 Initial Evaluations

  1. General. Each public agency must conduct a full and individual initial evaluation, in accordance with §§300.304 through 300.306, before the initial provision of special education and related services to a child with a disability under this part.
  2. Request for initial evaluation. Consistent with the consent requirements in §300.300, either a parent of a child or a public agency may initiate a request for an initial evaluation to determine if the child is a child with a disability.
  3. Procedures for initial evaluation. The initial evaluation—
    1. i Must be conducted within 60 days of receiving parental consent for the evaluation; or
      1. If the State establishes a timeframe within which the evaluation must be conducted, within that timeframe; and
    2. Must consist of procedures—
      1. To determine if the child is a child with a disability under §300.8; and
      2. To determine the educational needs of the child.
  4. Exception. The timeframe described in paragraph (c)(1) of this section does not apply to a public agency if—
    1. The parent of a child repeatedly fails or refuses to produce the child for the evaluation; or
    2. A child enrolls in a school of another public agency after the relevant timeframe in paragraph (c)(1) of this section has begun, and prior to a determination by the child's previous public agency as to whether the child is a child with a disability under §300.8.
  5. The exception in paragraph (d)(2) of this section applies only if the subsequent public agency is making sufficient progress to ensure a prompt completion of the evaluation, and the parent and subsequent public agency agree to a specific time when the evaluation will be completed.

 

19 TAC §89.1011. Full Individual and Initial Evaluation

  1. Referral of students for a full individual and initial evaluation for possible special education services must be a part of the district's overall, general education referral or screening system. Prior to referral, students experiencing difficulty in the general classroom should be considered for all support services available to all students, such as tutorial; remedial; compensatory; response to evidence-based intervention; and other academic or behavior support services. If the student continues to experience difficulty in the general classroom after the provision of interventions, district personnel must refer the student for a full individual and initial evaluation. This referral for a full individual and initial evaluation may be initiated by school personnel, the student's parents or legal guardian, or another person involved in the education or care of the student.
  2. If a parent submits a written request to a school district's director of special education services or to a district administrative employee for a full individual and initial evaluation of a student, the school district must, not later than the 15th school day after the date the district receives the request:
    1. provide the parent with prior written notice of its proposal to conduct an evaluation consistent with 34 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), §300.503; a copy of the procedural safeguards notice required by 34 CFR, §300.504; and an opportunity to give written consent for the evaluation; or
    2. provide the parent with prior written notice of its refusal to conduct an evaluation consistent with 34 CFR, §300.503, and a copy of the procedural safeguards notice required by 34 CFR, §300.504.
  3. (c)  Except as otherwise provided in this section, a written report of a full individual and initial evaluation of a student must be completed as follows:
    1. not later than the 45th school day following the date on which the school district receives written consent for the evaluation from the student's parent, except that if a student has been absent from school during that period on three or more school days, that period must be extended by a number of school days equal to the number of school days during that period on which the student has been absent; or
    2. for students under five years of age by September 1 of the school year and not enrolled in public school and for students enrolled in a private or home school setting, not later than the 45th school day following the date on which the school district receives written consent for the evaluation from the student's parent.
  4. The admission, review, and dismissal (ARD) committee must make its decisions regarding a student's initial eligibility determination and, if appropriate, individualized education program (IEP) and placement within 30 calendar days from the date of the completion of the written full individual and initial evaluation report. If the 30th day falls during the summer and school is not in session, the student's ARD committee has until the first day of classes in the fall to finalize decisions concerning the student's initial eligibility determination, IEP, and placement, unless the full individual and initial evaluation indicates that the student will need extended school year services during that summer.
  5. Notwithstanding the timelines in subsections (c) and (d) of this section, if the school district received the written consent for the evaluation from the student's parent at least 35 but less than 45 school days before the last instructional day of the school year, the written report of a full individual and initial evaluation of a student must be provided to the student's parent not later than June 30 of that year. The student's ARD committee must meet not later than the 15th school day of the following school year to consider the evaluation. If, however, the student was absent from school three or more days between the time that the school district received written consent and the last instructional day of the school year, the timeline in subsection (c)(1) of this section applies to the date the written report of the full individual and initial evaluation is required. If an initial evaluation completed not later than June 30 indicates that the student will need extended school year services during that summer, the ARD committee must meet as expeditiously as possible.
  6. If a student was in the process of being evaluated for special education eligibility by a school district and enrolls in another school district before the previous school district completed the full individual and initial evaluation, the new school district must coordinate with the previous school district as necessary and as expeditiously as possible to ensure a prompt completion of the evaluation in accordance with 34 CFR, §300.301(d)(2) and (e) and §300.304(c)(5). The timelines in subsections (c) and (e) of this section do not apply in such a situation if:
    1. the new school district is making sufficient progress to ensure a prompt completion of the evaluation; and
    2. the parent and the new school district agree to a specific time when the evaluation will be completed.