Q&A: Independent Educational Evaluations

What is an independent educational evaluation?

It is an educational evaluation conducted by a qualified examiner who is not employed by the school responsible for the education of the child.

Do parents have the right to request an independent educational evaluation?

Parents of a child with a disability have the right under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to obtain an independent educational evaluation (IEE) at public expense.

What is the process when parents request an independent educational evaluation?

Upon request, schools are required to provide information regarding where parents may obtain an IEE, as well as the school’s criteria for the independent educational evaluation.

What does public expense mean?

Public expense means the school pays for the full cost of the evaluation or ensures that the evaluation is otherwise provided at no cost to the parent.

When are parents entitled to an independent educational evaluation?

Parents are only entitled to one IEE at public expense each time the school conducts an evaluation with which the parents disagree.

What must a school do after parents request an IEE?

Upon a request from a parent for an IEE, the school has two options, it must without unnecessary delay either 1) file a due process complaint to request a hearing to show that its evaluation is appropriate, or 2) ensure that an independent educational evaluation is provided at public expense. The school is not required to pay for an independent educational evaluation when it can demonstrate in an administrative hearing that the evaluation obtained by the parents does not meet school criteria.

What happens if the school files for due process and prevails in the administrative hearing?

Parents still have a right to an independent educational evaluation; however, not at public expense. In other words, parents must pay for the evaluation out of pocket.

Can the school demand a reason for objecting to the independent educational evaluation?

No, the school may ask the parents for the reasons they object to the independent educational evaluation. However, the school may not require the parent to provide an explanation and may not unreasonable delay either providing the independent educational evaluation at public expense or filing the due process complaint to defend the school’s evaluation.

What happens when a parent submits their own private evaluation with the school?

The results of an evaluation obtained by the parents at private expense must be: 1) considered by the school in any decision made with respect to the provision of a Free Appropriate Public Education to the child; and 2) may be presented by any party as evidence at a due process hearing.

What if the the school files for due process and the parents prevail?

When parents prevail and the hearing officer requests and independent educational evaluation as part of a due process hearing, the cost of the evaluation must be at public expense, that is, the school is required to pay for the evaluation.

If the school is paying for the IEE, can they impose any conditions?

No. The school may not impose any conditions or timelines related to obtaining an independent educational evaluation at public expense.

Can the school require parents to use a particular examiner?

No. Parents have the right to choose their own independent examiner.

What would be the criteria for obtaining and independent educational evaluation at public expense?

The only criteria is that the IEE, including the location of the evaluation and the qualifications of the examiner must be the same as the criteria the school uses for its evaluations, as long as this criteria does not conflict with the parent’s right to an independent educational evaluation.

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