Evaluation and Eligibility
In order to determine whether a child is eligible to receive special education and related services, schools are required to conduct a full and individual evaluation to determine whether a child is or continues to be a child with a disability under the IDEA. The evaluation must be conducted by a multidisciplinary evaluation team (MET), which includes the IEP team members and other qualified professionals.
In Arizona, initial evaluations and re-evaluations must be completed within 60 calendar days. The 60-day evaluation timeline begins on the date the school receives the parent’s informed written consent. The 60-day timeline concludes on the date of the MET’s determination of eligibility—a decision as to whether the child is or is not a child with a disability.
In conducting an evaluation, schools are required to assess the child in all areas of suspected disability, using a variety of assessment tools and strategies—not just a single measure or assessment—that provide relevant information for determining whether the child is a child with a disability and the appropriate educational program for the child. The evaluation must be sufficiently comprehensive to identify all of the child’s special education and related service needs, whether or not commonly linked to the disability category in which the child has been determined eligible (Gregson & Chavez, 2018).
Every three years a student’s eligibility is reviewed by the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) Team to determine if additional data is needed in order to re-determine eligibility. During the meeting the team will present current data that would reflect the student’s current academic and behavioral progress in the educational setting. The data may include, but is not limited to: classroom based testing, current state and/or district assessments, current attendance, current discipline records. The team discussion is provided to parents in written format and a prior written notice outlines the eligibility of services the student will qualify for and whether additional testing is necessary.
Gregson, K., Esq., & Chavez, S., M.Ed. (2018). The Special Education Handbook: A brief overview of the history and requirements of Part B of the IDEA. Retrieved from http://www.azed.gov/disputeresolution/resources-links/