Henrico County Public Schools Department of Exceptional Education

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1 Henrico County Public Schools Department of Exceptional Education EDUCATIONAL EVALUATION CRITERIA FOR CONSIDERATION OF PRIVATE EVALUATIONS Revised 06/12/2013 Professionals utilize educational evaluations in the schools to explore the levels of a student s current functioning and areas of deficit. Evaluation refers to the comprehensive assessment of a student that integrates information from many sources like formal tests, informal tests, observations, interviews and prior history from many individuals such as assessment specialists, teachers, parents, and the student. Within each of the previous information sources there are additional subdivisions. For example, formal tests can be used to measure cognitive abilities, academic achievement, language skills, medical status, and many other constructs. The results of these procedures provide the basis for determining whether the student meets eligibility requirements for special education and if so, the specific types of services needed. Public insurance must be the provider of first choice for evaluations conducted outside school and contract personnel. Fundamental criteria are necessary in all such evaluations: 1. The evaluation must be conducted by properly credentialed and trained professionals. 2. The evaluation must comply with Virginia Department of Education disability criteria. 3. The evaluation must include information obtained from the child s natural educational environment. 4. The evaluation must consist of tests of appropriate reliability and validity for the intended purpose and population. 5. The evaluation must cover all areas of suspected disability. 6. The evaluation consists of more than just one test or assessment procedure. 7. The evaluation must be in the child s native language unless clearly not possible to do so. 8. The evaluation must not discriminate against the child. 9. The evaluation must generate a signed report that lists results. Unsigned reports will not be accepted. 10. The evaluation should clearly specify that a diagnosis under Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: Fifth Edition (DSM-5) requirements does not necessarily equate with eligibility requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Improvement Act (IDEIA 2004) or Section 504 of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA- revised 2008). Evidence of a delay or impairment does not necessarily mandate services - evaluations offer specialized information and any recommendations to support an IEP or 504 Plan should note that services are a team rather than a unilateral decision 11. The evaluation should clearly specify the requirement that private evaluations must be considered by the local school division and that at no time is the local school division required to accept the results of a private evaluation. 12. The evaluation report needs to identify the individual practitioner who administered each evaluative component as well as the credentials of that individual practitioner. Absent that information, HCPS will operate under the assumption that the practitioner whose signature and credentials appears on the written report is the individual who administered all components of the evaluation. 13. HCPS welcomes, but does not require, private practitioner input at any meeting in which private evaluation results are being reviewed. The parent/guardian of the student may request for the private practitioner to attend any/all meetings for the student. Private practitioners may attend at their own cost or at the cost of the parent. HCPS employs individuals who are appropriately trained and credentialed to interpret private evaluation results and who will do so in the absence of the private practitioner.

2 Properly trained assessment specialists are an essential factor in obtaining valid evaluation results. Credentialing bodies require a minimum level of education and experience in establishing practice standards. Evaluators with the credentials listed below are eligible for administration and assessment duties in the specified areas in the Henrico County Public Schools and thus independent educational evaluators must also meet or exceed these standards in order for independent evaluations to be accepted by HCPS. Type of Assessment Achievement/ Adaptive Behavior Audiological Autism Assessment Qualifications Licensed Psychologist (Virginia Board of Licensed Special Education Teacher (Virginia Department of Education) Licensed Teacher (Virginia Department of Education) Licensed Psychologist (Virginia Board of Licensed Clinical Social Worker (Virginia Board of. Social Work) Licensed Audiologist with Au.D. ASHA CCC in audiology Licensed Psychologist (Virginia Board of Licensed Physician (for medical diagnosis Virginia Dept. of Health Professions) Intellectual and Cognitive Licensed Psychologist (Virginia Board of Emotional/Behavioral Medical Licensed Psychiatrist (Virginia Dept. of Health Professions) Licensed Psychologist (Virginia Board of Licensed Clinical Social Worker (Virginia Board of. Social Work) Licensed Speech/ Specialist (Virginia Department of Education) Licensed Audiologist (ASHA) Licensed Physician (Virginia Dept. of Health Professions) Licensed Physician (Virginia Dept. of Health Professions) Licensed Teacher (Virginia Department of Education) Licensed School Counselor (Virginia Department of Education) Licensed Psychologist (Virginia Board of Licensed Special Education Teacher (Virginia Department of Education) Licensed Physical Therapist (Virginia Dept. of Health Professions) Licensed Occupational Therapist- Virginia Dept. of Health Professions) (Certified OT 2

3 Assistant/Licensed may participate) Licensed Clinical Social Worker (Virginia Board of. Social Worker) Parent (Pre-school children may not be enrolled in a formal educational program and home hospital children may not be able to attend the formal educational program. The home would be the natural educational environment in these instances.) Physical Therapy Occupational Therapy Vision Licensed Physical Therapist (Virginia Dept. of Health Professions) Licensed Occupational Therapist- Virginia Dept. of Health Professions) (Certified OT Assistant/Licensed may participate) Master's Degree with CCC-SLP from ASHA and/or VDOE license in Pathology Licensed by the State Board of Audiology/Speech Pathology Licensed Ophthalmologist (Virginia Dept. of Health Professions) Licensed Optometrist (Virginia Dept. of Health Professions) Licensed Teacher of the Blind/Visually Impaired (Virginia Department of Education) Assessment procedures must be consistent with State of Virginia disability criteria and HCPS best practice. A Special Education Eligibility Manual is available for review at the HCPS Exceptional Education Office. The IEP team reviews the evaluation results and determines the educational programming for the student. Evaluations that do not reflect current practice in HCPS are unlikely to be considered. Disability Autism Deafness Deaf/Blindness Emotional Disability Minimum Areas Required for Pragmatic Language Adaptive Autism Assessment Audiological Vision Emotional/Behavioral 3

4 Developmentally Delayed Impairment Specific Learning Disabilities Intellectual Disability Multiple Disabilities Orthopedic Impairment Adaptive Behavior (dependent on programs considered) (if school aged) Developmental Adaptive Behavior Will depend upon individual disability areas Other Health Impairment *For Certain Medical Conditions (e.g., ADHD, chronic health conditions) other assessment areas such as, Behavior, and may be necessary. Speech or Language Impairment Traumatic Brain Injury Visual Impairment Cognitive Adaptive (specific to injury) Vision Report from Optometrist/ Ophthalmologist Functional Vision Data from the actual environment in which the individual operates are essential to ecologically valid evaluation. Evaluators need to be familiar with the experiences and demands of the child s instructional program. Learning and behavior do not function in a vacuum and information needs to be obtained from teachers and other personnel involved in the child s daily world. Thus for an evaluation to be considered valid and acceptable, current classroombased assessments, observations by teachers and related service providers, review of previous evaluation data, and information provided by the parents are necessary. A private evaluation must integrate information from school 4

5 personnel and at least one observation needs to be completed by the examiner in the child s natural educational program. The private examiner must adhere to HCPS policy to be permitted to observe the child in school, including completion of release forms from the student s parents and criminal background checks (at the expense of the private examiner) as requested. Technically sound tests that have been validated for the specific purpose and population must be selected and administered under the conditions specified by the test publisher. Evaluation instruments are frequently re-normed and the most recent edition of an evaluation instrument is required (the immediately previous edition may be used for a period of one calendar year after a new edition has been released in order to allow time for purchase/order). If an assessment is not conducted under standard conditions, a description of the extent to which it varied from these conditions must be included in the evaluation report. The child is assessed in all areas related to the suspected disability, including, if appropriate, health, vision, hearing, emotional status, general intelligence, academic performance, communicative status, and motor abilities. The evaluation needs to be sufficiently comprehensive in order to identify all of the child s special education and related services needs, whether or not commonly linked to the disability category in which the child has been classified. It is the responsibility of the private examiner to be familiar with current rules and regulations governing placement of students into special education. At no time should a private examiner indicate that a student is or is not eligible for Special Education or related services. Eligibility decisions are made by a team of individuals at the student s assigned school and may not be made by one individual. Evaluation relies on approximations towards reality. This is achieved by obtaining multiple types of data, from formal assessment to progress in the curriculum. This is especially important in the evaluation of children. Their behavior can be greatly influenced by situational variables. Therefore, data obtained from formal measures need to be compared with that obtained from informal means, and information obtained on one day needs to be compared to that obtained from another day. No single measure is to be used as the sole criterion for determining the presence of a disability and for determining an appropriate educational program. Tests must be administered in the child s native language unless it is clearly not feasible to do so. Materials and procedures to assess a child with limited English proficiency must be selected and administered to ensure that they measure the extent to which the child has a disability and needs special education, rather than measuring the child s English language skills. Tests must be selected and administered so as not to be discriminatory on a cultural or ethnic basis. They must be selected and administered to best ensure that if a test is administered to a child with impaired sensory, manual, or speaking skills, the test results accurately reflect the child s aptitude or achievement level or whatever other factors the test purports to measure, rather than reflecting the child s impaired sensory, manual, or speaking skills (unless those skills are the factors that the test purports to measure). A report that lists specific conclusions/recommendations must be developed. It should list the specific instruments administered, dates of administration, the results of such assessments to include all scaled, standard, and/or T-scores as well as qualitative range description, and any other information used in the development of conclusions/recommendations. Reports detailing only the range of scores or percentile rank for which a child s ability fall are not acceptable for use by HCPS. Reports should also include a statement indicating the private examiner s awareness that private evaluation results must be considered, but are not required to be accepted, by the local education agency. 5

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