Special Education Assessment for Eligibility
During the SST process, the team may determine that an assessment plan for special education is warranted based on the student’s lack of progress with previously implemented interventions. One or more of the following staff members completes the assessment plan: school psychologist, behavior specialist, speech therapist, occupational therapist, assistive technology specialists, etc.
In order for an assessment to be administered, parents must sign an evaluation plan. Prior to signing an evaluation plan, parents must be informed about the assessment’s purpose, the methods or techniques which will be used, and the people (by title) who will be conducting the assessment. The purpose of the assessment is to answer one or more questions identified on the evaluation plan. The assessment is designed to identify a student’s current levels of performance, strengths and area(s) of need. If a parent does not approve an evaluation plan when the district believes an assessment is needed, the district or parent may request a mediation session through the North Coastal Consortium for Special Education (NCCSE), our Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA). Parents and the district also have the right to proceed directly to due process via the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH). This information is articulated on the California Department of Education website under Parent Rights.
An Assessment Team generally completes the assessment process. The assessment of a student is conducted to determine whether or not the student has special needs that qualify him or her for special education services. Testing should result in identification of the student's present levels of academic and/or behavioral need, and identify interventions that are intended to support the student to be successful. The process involves collecting important information from parents/guardians and from qualified district personnel who completed one or more assessments: parents, general education teacher, nurse, psychologist, speech language specialist, occupational therapist, adaptive physical education teacher, etc. Assessment administered and pertinent information gathered during this process are:
- Formal/informal test(s) administered in a one-on-one setting
- Review of school records and district assessments
- Parent interview
- Teacher interview
- Observation of the student in the classroom and possibly other settings, such as the playground
- Health and developmental history
- Hearing and vision screening
- Review of outside evaluations (when available)
- Achievement data
The assessment results are presented during an Individualized Education Program (IEP) team meeting. The following guiding questions will ensure that the assessment report is carefully reviewed and next steps considered:
- Based on what we know about the nature of the student's needs, is the assessment thorough?
- Does the assessment provide a clear picture of how the student performs academically and/or behaviorally?
- Does the assessment describe the student's areas of strengths and weaknesses?
- Do the assessment results provide sufficient information to develop instructional and/or behavioral goals?
- Do the assessment results provide sufficient information to identify interventions that will assist the student reach the goals?
- Did the assessment process answer the questions on the Assessment Plan?