The first step to getting a child enrolled in special education or obtaining an independent education plan (IEP) is to obtain an evaluation. However, requesting an evaluation is only the beginning of the process.
As we have discussed in previous blog posts, the entire evaluation process can involve many steps for both parents and their children. However, there is one step in between the request and the actual evaluation of which parents should be aware: the creation of the assessment plan.
What is the assessment plan?
When districts approve a request for a school evaluation, they must also create an assessment plan detailing how they will move forward with the evaluation. According to California law, the assessment plan must meet four specific pieces of criteria:
- The plan must use language that the public (parents) can understand
- The district must provide the plan in the native language of the parents
- The plan must include an explanation of the assessments they will conduct
- The district must state that they will only create an IEP from the evaluation with the parent’s consent
It is critical to note that parental consent is essential. If parents do not agree with the district’s assessment plan, they have other options to pursue, such as obtaining an independent education evaluation (IEE).
So, when will a child get an evaluation?
California’s laws also dictate how long this process will take. If parents consent to the assessment plan, then districts have 60 days in which they must:
- Conduct the evaluation
- Meet with parents to discuss the results
Even if parents agreed to the assessment plan, they may disagree with the findings of the completed evaluation. In these cases, parents can still pursue an IEE.
Obtaining special education services for children is a very involved – and often complicated – process. Understanding what to expect can help parents determine how they wish to move forward.