An independent educational evaluation (“IEE”) is an evaluation conducted by an independent qualified examiner (a person who does not work for the school district). A qualified examiner is defined as an individual who meets the same requirements as a school district employee. It is important that if a school is to consider the results of the independent evaluation, the person conducting the IEE must have the same “credentials” as required by the school district or intermediate unit, and the evaluation meets the same criteria the school entity would use to evaluate students.
Parents Right to Request IEE
Parents are always entitled to an IEE, [34 CER §300.502 (a)(1)]. However, parents are not always entitled
to an IEE at public expense (i.e., paid for by the school district or LEA) [34 CER §300.502 (b)(1)-(5)]. The regulations state that the public agency is permitted to ask the parent what their reason is for rejecting the school’s evaluation. However, the IDEA is also clear that parents are not required to provide an explanation, and reiterates that the school entities inquiry cannot unreasonably delay the decision to either request a hearing or agree to fund the IEE [34 CER §300.502 (b)(4)]. Since there is not a set period, it is very important to promptly respond to any request for an IEE at public expense, as a failure to do so (i.e., failure to request a timely hearing) could be interpreted by a hearing officer as a tacit strategy/attempt not to pay for the parent’s IEE. A guiding best practice would suggest the school entity should act within 10 school days unless documentation shows a good effort has been attempted and a timeframe of 10 school days cannot be adhered to by the district or intermediate unit.
Procedures When Parent
parent needs to make the request in writing to the Special Education Office. A
special education administrator must review the request. The school entity must
notify the parent indicating approval or denial of the request. If the school entity denies the request for an IEE at public
expense, the district must request a due process hearing.
the district or intermediate unit (for early intervention only) approves the request, the following
guidelines are recommended to be followed:
clear explanation of the testing and assessment results;
complete summary of all test scores, including, for all standardized testing
administered, all applicable full scale or battery scores, domain or composite
scores, and subtest scores reported in standard, scaled, or T-score format;
complete summary of all information obtained or reviewed from sources other
than testing conducted by the evaluator;
recommendations for educational programming;
evaluator must sign the report;
complete report must be submitted to District concurrently with submission to
of all testing and all assessment procedures should rule in or rule out the
existence of disabilities defined in IDEA and Chapter 14. These disabilities include Traumatic Brain
Injury, Hearing Impairment, Specific Learning Disability, Gifted without
Disability, Intellectual Disability, Orthopedic Impairment, Emotional
Disturbance, Speech or Language Impairment, Visual Impairment, Multiple
Disabilities, Autism, and Developmentally Delayed (early intervention
only). Administration of assessments
needs to be based on the reasonable suspicion of above-stated disability(ies)
expressed by staff, parents, and/or evaluator.
Timelines for IEE:
IDEA nor Chapter 14 delineates a time frame when an IEE must be completed.
Payment for IEE:
the school entity has approved the request, a letter should be sent to the
parent. The contents of the letter
assurance that the school district/intermediate unit will pay for an
independent educational evaluation as long as the evaluation meets all of the
requirements of an appropriate evaluation identified under section Procedures
when Parents Requests IEE;
direction that the school district/intermediate unit shall not pay for the
evaluation until it receives directly from the evaluator a complete copy of a
report of that evaluation and determines that the evaluation meets all of the
requirements of this procedure;
request that the parents consider accessing reimbursement for all or part of
the evaluation from public or private sources of insurance or
reimbursement. However, the district
will make it understood to parents that any reimbursement not covered by such
sources, will then be assumed by the district;
that the parent is responsible for arranging for the evaluation and for
ensuring that the evaluator contacts the Special Education Office to arrange
for payment of the evaluation. If the
evaluation has already been conducted and paid for, the correspondence shall
advise the parent that the school district/intermediate unit will not reimburse
the parent for the reevaluation until it receives
complete and un-redacted copy of the report of the evaluation and determines
that the evaluation meets all of the requirements of this procedure, and
substantiating that the parents paid for or incurred the obligation to pay for
the evaluation without reimbursement from a public or private source of
insurance or reimbursement.
The Special Education Office shall send the correspondence to the parent by certified mail or by other independently verifiable means of conveyance and enclose a copy of school district procedure as outlined in section “Procedures When Parent Requests IEE”.
Allowable Number of Independent Educational Evaluations
IDEA regulations state that a parent is only entitled to one IEE at public
expense each time the public agency conducts an evaluation with which the
parent disagrees. Obviously, the parent
is free to obtain as many IEEs at their own expense as they wish
34 CER §300.502 (b)(5).
Guidelines once an IEE request has been received by the district.
school entity must consider the results of the IEE. Regardless of who funds the IEE, the district/intermediate unit or the parent, if the IEE is shared with the district, the district/intermediate unit must consider those results with respect to providing FAPE to the student [34 CER § 300.502 (c)(1)]. It is important to remember, a school district’s obligation is only to “consider” the results of any IEE. There is no requirement about how much weight the district must give the IEE or that the district must incorporate any of the IEE recommendations into the student’s educational program. This is true even if the IEE was at public expense.