IDEA states that you have the right to obtain an independent educational evaluation (IEE) of your child at public expense after a district has conducted an evaluation if as the parent, you disagree with the results of the special education evaluation that was performed by your school district.
An Independent Educational Evaluation is one that is conducted by a qualified examiner who is not employed by the school district. Public expense means that the school district either pays for the full expense of the evaluation or ensures that it is provided at no cost to you.
If you request a private evaluator, the school district must provide you with information as to how and where you can obtain the evaluation and about the school district’s criteria. The school district may ask you why you object to the evaluation that they performed but you are not required to provide an explanation and they may not delay with providing you the IEE because you failed to provide an explanation.
You are entitled to only ONE independent educational evaluation of your child at public expense each time your school districts conducts an evaluation of your child and you disagree with the results. This usually equals one private assessment per year.
If you obtain an IEE of your child, your school district must consider the results of the evaluation. You may also present the results of the private evaluation as evidence at a due process hearing. If a hearing officer requests an IEE of your child as part of a due process hearing, the cost of the evaluation must be at public expense.
An independent educational evaluation can be a valuable tool for parents. If you feel the school district's evaluation results do not reflect your child's disability, an IEE can provide you with additional data that supports your concerns.
If you find yourself in disagreement with the recommendations of the IEP team, requesting and independent evaluation could be your next step in the negotiating process.
IEP collaboration techniques can also be of great value to a parent when negotiating for services during an IEP meeting. If all else fails and you feel you need outside help, read my section on special education advocacy services.
If you feel this information would be useful to you in a workbook format, check out the Parent IEP Guide or the 504 Parent Handbook. Each of these provides all of the valuable information from this web page along with additional tips, strategies and sample forms to you in an instant download or printed hard copy. You can view the Table of Contents to see if the guide would be valuable to your families situation.