What is an Independent Educational Evaluation?
The Georgia Department of Education defines an Individualized Educational Evaluation as an evaluation conducted by a qualified individual who is not an employee of the school system. Sometimes the school system pays for the independent evaluation and sometimes it is paid for by the parent, depending on circumstances. The LEA (local education agency — school district) may set a reasonable limit on the cost of the IEE. However, the LEA must also allow parents the opportunity to demonstrate that unique circumstances exist that warrant an IEE at public expense that does not meet LEA cost limitations.
When the evaluation meets the requirements of the LEA , the results of the evaluation must be considered by the IEP Team in any decision related to the provision of a FAPE (free appropriate public education) for the child, no matter who paid for the evaluation, and may be presented by either party as evidence in a due process hearing.
When do you ask for an Independent Educational Evaluation?
Parents are not entitled to an IEE at public expense before they allow the LEA to conduct its own evaluation. There are a few times when a parent can request an IEE:
- if you disagree with the district’s evaluation,
- if the district’s evaluation was incomplete and/or they used outdated measures and assessments,
- if the assessment measures used were not appropriate for the suspected eligibility area, and/or
- the district does not employ qualified evaluators for specific evaluations.
If a parent requests an IEE, the public agency must, without unnecessary delay, either:
(i) File a due process complaint to request a hearing to show that its evaluation is appropriate; or
(ii) Ensure that an independent educational evaluation is provided at public expense.
Additional details can be found at 34 CFR § 300.502 and Georgia Special Education Rules Manual.
How do you ask for an Independent Educational Evaluation?
Parents should initiate this request to the school district in writing.
The LEA may ask the parent why they disagree with the LEA evaluation, but the LEA cannot require an explanation. If the LEA agrees to provide an IEE, the LEA will provide the parents with a list of qualified examiners from which to choose for the IEE. The parent does not have to select an evaluator from the list provided.
What should be your strategy?
If possible, the parent should consider paying for the evaluation privately and then seek to be reimbursed by the district. Why? This is the difference between the speech-language pathologist being an ally/advocate or an expert. When the therapist is your ally, they work with your family directly to identify the challenges your child demonstrates in the classroom and determine if the school district is supporting these needs appropriately. In cases where the speech-language pathologist is the expert (and contracted by the school system), they are a neutral party and whatever information they collect, whether beneficial to your case or not, is presented to the district. Often, these cases require both parties to be present before results can be released.
What is the difference between a Clinical Speech-Language Evaluation and an Independent Educational Evaluation?
The breadth of investigation in a clinical assessment is not as in-depth as an IEE. A clinical evaluation is generally completed at the clinic or virtually, in one sitting, lasting, on average, an hour and a half. Areas of assessment and report are often medically driven.
Atlanta Speech Therapy offers Independent Educational Evaluations with an expanded look at specific concerns related to education, including classroom observations, teacher questionnaires, parent and student interviews, and a review of educational and medical records. This process identifies the child’s strengths and weaknesses to assist in overcoming any communication and/or academic challenges preventing access to the curriculum.
Interested in Atlanta Speech Therapy performing your child’s IEE?
As all cases are unique, and to ensure we are best suited to assist your family, let’s schedule a consultation to discuss your family’s needs.