The Special Education Evaluation Process


Step 1: Referral for Evaluation

The initial referral for special education services can be made by a parent, doctor, school official, public agency worker or judicial officer. A student over eighteen years of age or emancipated can refer him/herself. A referral in writing should be made to the Committee on Special Education (CSE).

Step 2: Individual Evaluation Process


What is a proper evaluation?

An initial evaluation is arranged and carried out for the child within 60 days of the school’s receipt of signed consent forms.


An evaluation can not be based on one test or the opinion of one individual. The evaluation must be the work of a team including one special education teacher, one teacher and one specialist with knowledge about the disability being evaluated. The student must be evaluated in all areas related the suspected disability. Possible areas to be tested include health, vision, hearing, social and emotional status, general intelligence, academic performance, vocational skills, communicative status and motor abilities. The evaluation must be nondiscriminatory and conducted in the student’s native language. Parents can request an independent evaluation to be performed at school expense unless the school can prove at an impartial hearing that its evaluation was appropriate.

Step 3: Determine Eligibility for Services

Based on the evaluation results the CSE determines what types of services, accommodations and programs are required for the student (if any).

Step 4: Individualized Education Program (IEP)

The IEP is written to reflect the findings and recommendations from the CSE. It details the unique educational needs of the qualifying student and provides programming and services tailored to meet those needs.

Step 5: Annual Review/


The CSE reviews the IEP at least once a year and a child is reevaluated at minimum every three years. Parents may request and receive an evaluation every academic year.



(c) Legal Assistance of Western New York, Inc. ®

This article provides general information about this subject. Laws affecting this subject may have changed since this article was written. For specific legal advice about a problem you are having, get the advice of a lawyer.  Receiving this information does not make you a client of our office.


Last Review Date: June 2016


Last updated on .

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