Requesting an Evaluation in Public Schools
You can submit a written request for an academic evaluation for your child attending a public school to determine which type of academic accommodations plan would be most helpful. A completed evaluation is required to see if a child is eligible for special education under IDEA.
The school must have written authorization (informed consent and signature) from you before educators can evaluate your child. You can also refuse to have your child evaluated after having made a request, but if you want your child evaluated, you must sign the form. IDEA also requires an eligible child to be evaluated again at least every three years, unless you and the school agree that it is not necessary. You do not have to pay for these evaluations. If you do not agree with the results of the evaluation performed by the school district, you may be entitled to have an independent evaluation conducted at no cost to you.
How do I make a request for an educational evaluation of my child?
You may ask for an educational evaluation at any time, but be sure to do it in writing. Make a written request even if you have already talked to a teacher or principal. Date the request and keep a photocopy for your records. Send the request to your child’s homeroom teacher and building principal. You might also include your child’s guidance counselor in middle and high schools and the head of special education for your child’s school building.
If I request an evaluation, doesn’t the school have to do it?
No. The school is only required to evaluate a child if the educators feel there is a substantial impact on the child’s learning or behavior. If the school chooses not to evaluate, then it must supply a written response explaining why an evaluation was refused. If this is the case, ask how to appeal the decision and then follow that process.
How do I write a request for an academic evaluation?
You can use the following as the basis for your letter to your child’s school requesting an evaluation for special education services. You can personalize the letter below to your child’s situation:
[FULL NAME OF CHILD’S SCHOOL] [SCHOOL’S FULL ADDRESS] [DATE]
Dear [INSERT PRINCIPAL’S NAME]:
I am requesting that my child, [INSERT CHILD’S FULL NAME AND DATE OF BIRTH], be evaluated for special education services and/or accommodations granted under Section 504 or the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). I am concerned that [INSERT CHILD’S NAME] is having difficulty and may need special help in order to learn.
For the last [NUMBER] years [his/her] classroom teachers have noted that my child has difficulty completing assignments, is experiencing problems with excessive impulsivity and/or is unable to sit still and stay focused. Please note that [INSERT NAME AND CREDENTIALS OF HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL] has diagnosed my child as having Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). [INSERT NAME OF HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL] is concerned that [INSERT CHILD’S NAME]’s ADHD is resulting in decreased alertness in the classroom and may be significantly impacting [his/her] school performance, learning, and behavior.
I would like to meet with all those who will be doing the evaluation before my child is tested so that I may share information about [INSERT CHILD’S NAME] with them. I understand that the evaluation is provided at no cost to me. I also understand that I must provide written permission for these tests to be administered and I will be happy to do so once I have received all the appropriate forms and an explanation of the process. I will also expect a copy of the written report generated by each evaluator so that I may review them before the IEP or 504 planning meeting.
I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience so that we may begin preparations for the evaluation.
[INSERT YOUR NAME] [YOUR ADDRESS] [YOUR PHONE NUMBER]