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    Evaluation is the process used to determine if a student is eligible for special education services and what services the student may need.


    Before Evaluation

    A student must be referred before an evaluation can take place.

    If the district finds enough evidence from existing data to evaluate the student, the student's parent/guardian will be asked for permission to evaluate the student. If consent is given, an evaluation will be conducted.

    The recommendation regarding the decision to evaluate the student will be provided to parents/guardians in the form of Prior Written Notice. If an evaluation is not recommended, parents/guardians will be notified of the reason.

    The evaluation results are presented in a detailed report used to determine a student's eligibility for special education services.


    Evaluation Process

    Evaluations are conducted in a way that ensures the process is unbiased, age-appropriate, and valid. Evaluations use many kinds of data and tools to identify the student’s unique strengths and challenges. Materials used in a student evaluation may include: prior records, evaluation materials, interviews with adults familiar with the student, and/or direct testing.

    Parents/guardians and evaluators are encouraged to work toward consensus during evaluation, but the district is ultimately responsible for determining a student's eligibility for special education services.


    Evaluation Report

    An evaluation report is a detailed summary of the evaluation process and its outcomes. After an evaluation, the report is shared with parents/guardians. An evaluation report records:

    • If a disability has been identified, and how that conclusion was reached. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), defines categories of disability. Federally, eligibility for special education is based on these IDEA categories.
    • If special education services are needed. This includes specific service and support recommendations. While the IDEA categories of disability provide information about the student, they are only one data point. In Seattle Public Schools, services are not based only on a student’s qualifying disability. Instead, the services a student receives are determined through the qualifying areas identified in their evaluation.

    If the student's parent/guardian disagrees with the evaluation results, they may request an Independent Education Evaluation (IEE). If the student is not eligible for special education services, they may instead be eligible for a 504 plan.



    The purpose of a reevaluation is to determine if the student's service needs have changed. By law, a reevaluation happens every three years. However, reevaluations may occur more often if:

    • the district determines that a student's educational or related service needs warrant a reevaluation. For example, if there is evidence of improved academic achievement or functional performance.
    • the student’s parent/guardian or teacher requests a reevaluation.
    • the student's IDEA category of disability changes.
    • the IEP team is considering a significant change in placement.
    • the district is considering termination of services. The district must reevaluate a student to determine if the student is no longer eligible for special education services for reasons other than graduation with a diploma or exceeding the age of eligibility.

    Once reevaluation is complete, the school psychologist invites parents/guardians to a meeting to review the results of the reevaluation. Parents will receive a Prior Written Notice after the meeting, indicating one or more of the following:

    • Whether the student continues to be eligible and in need of special education services.
    • Present levels of performance and educational needs of the student.
    • Whether any proposed or refuted changes to special education services and related services are needed to help the student meet IEP annual goals and to participate, as appropriate, in the general curriculum.

    Reevaluations are not automatically conducted if students are not enrolled in Seattle Public Schools. Reevaluations only occur for these students if their parent/guardian requests a reevaluation.