If the IEP team feels that they do not have enough information and need to evaluate, they need your written parental consent to do so. Once the IEP Team has your written consent to test your child, they have 60 calendar days to complete the evaluation process and hold a meeting to determine eligibility.  Unless a parent states in writing that they do not want this, the school district must provide parents (by mail unless the parent and the school district agree on another method) copies of each examiner’s evaluation and assessment report(s) at least 5 days prior to the meeting.

As part of the evaluation process the IEP team will review the child’s educational history, including past opportunities to have learned certain skills and information.  The IEP team then considers the information they already have, including:

  • Evaluations and other information from the parents,
  • Current classroom-based assessments and observations,
  • Observations and recommendations by teachers and related service providers,
  • The results of the most recent local or statewide assessments, and
  • Other information from team members, such as medical records, observations, or independent evaluation

Evaluations have two purposes:

  • determine eligibility for special education and
  • determine your child’s educational needs.

Therefore, evaluations must use a variety of tools and strategies.  Areas to be tested may include academic, communication, developmental, language, motor, self-help, social/behavioral, vocational, and others.

Parents always have the right to have someone from outside the school district conduct an independent educational evaluation (IEE).

Next Step – Determining Eligibility

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, timelines for evaluations are year round and include weekends, holidays, school vacations (including summer vacations) and snow days.
For initial evaluations, the evaluation process must be completed within 60 calendar days after the school district receives parental consent for testing. No extensions are allowed for initial evaluations. For reevaluations, the evaluation process must be completed within 60 days, but the parents and school district may agree to an extension of a specific number of days, not to exceed 30 days.

You can find information about the types of evaluations and evaluators on this chart..  You can also discuss your concerns with the IEP team and ask if the evaluations that are being proposed will address all of the concerns you raised about your child.  For example, if your child has behavioral issues a Functional Behavioral Assessment will provide the IEP team with the information they will need to understand and support your child’s behavioral needs. For more information on testing, please contact the Parent Information Center on Special Education.

School districts have options for how they determine whether a child has a specific learning disability. However, school districts must have a written policy on how they determine a specific learning disability. Parents may request a copy of this policy.  It is important to know that Response to Intervention is not a complete evaluation.  It also cannot be used to delay or deny evaluating a child. Click for more information on RtI (PDF).

Children with disabilities are formally reevaluated at least every 3 years. Parents or other team members may request a reevaluation more frequently or if conditions warrant, but generally re-evaluations can not occur more than once a year. A child must be reevaluated before they can be determined no longer eligible for special education, except for when they will become no longer eligible because of graduation with a regular high school diploma or aging out of special education at age 21.

Evaluation Requirements

The NH Standards for the Education of Children with Disabilities lay out guidelines as to what types of evaluations are needed for each disability category and who is qualified to conduct those evaluations. The NH Standards also outline evaluation requirements including:

  • Evaluations must be nondiscriminatory and generally in the child’s native language or mode of communication.
  • Evaluations are to be provided and administered in the language and form most likely to yield accurate information on what the child knows and can do, academically and functionally
  • Tests must be validated, selected and administered to accurately reflect what the test measures, not the child’s impaired skills, unless that is the purpose of the test
  • Technically sound instruments are to be used to assess the relative contribution of cognitive, behavioral, physical or developmental factors
  • Evaluations are to be used for the purposes for which the assessments or measures are valid and reliable
  • Children are to be assessed in all areas of suspected disabilities
  • A single procedure may not be used to determine eligibility or an appropriate educational program
  • A variety of assessment tools and strategies, including information from the parents
  • The child’s present levels of academic achievement and related developmental needs are to be assessed
  • Evaluations must identify all of the child’s special education and related service needs, whether or not commonly linked to the child’s disabilities
  • Evaluation materials must assess specific areas of educational need and not merely provide a single general intelligence quotient
  • Tests are to be administered in accordance with the test instructions by certified or licensed personnel
  • If an assessment is not conducted under standard conditions (ex: portions of the test were read aloud to the student), a description of how it varied must be included in the evaluation report.

For students suspected of having a Specific Learning disability

  • An observation of the student’s academic performance in the regular classroom setting must be conducted and a written report developed
  • a LEA may use either the “discrepancy” model (identifying whether a significant discrepancy exists between the student’s ability and achievement), or they may use a process to determine if the child responds to scientific, research-based interventions.