Evaluation is an important part of special education. Data from evaluations determines eligibility for special education and is used throughout the IEP process, especially in the Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance statement. Reevaluation can be used to document a student’s changing needs. Reevaluation for a student with a disability should happen when:
- The district determines the student’s special education services or related service needs warrant a reevaluation; or
- The child’s parent or teacher requests a reevaluation.
For students who receive special education services, eligibility status must be reviewed every three years, unless the parent and the district agree that reevaluation is not necessary. A review of existing evaluation data should document the information that explains the decision that reevaluation is unnecessary.
Reevaluation may occur not more than once a year unless the parent and the district agree otherwise.
What is a REED?
Evaluation (and particularly reevaluation) begins with a review of existing data available for the child, and may include the child’s classroom work, discipline records, performance on State or district assessments, and information provided by the parents.
The purpose of this review is to decide if the existing data is sufficient or if additional information is needed.
Michigan Department of Education uses the term Review of Existing Evaluation Data (REED) to describe the review of existing evaluation data and evaluation planning process. It is not required for a REED to be completed in a formal meeting. Members may meet individually or in small groups to review existing data in their area of expertise.
- MDE, OSE Guidance for Timelines for Initial Evaluations
- Special Education Re-Evalaution (PACER)
- Evaluation: What does it mean for your child? (PACER)
When is the REED process used for Initial Evaluations?
The IEP Team may conduct a REED for an initial evaluation. While the REED process is not required by law for an initial evaluation, it is considered best practice to collect and review all existing evaluation data on a student before beginning an initial evaluation.
When is the REED process used to re-determine eligibility?
For students who receive special education services, eligibility status must be reviewed every three years, unless the parent and the district agree that reevaluation is not necessary. The REED may be conducted anytime during the 36-month period, but the evaluation must be completed by the date identified and documented by the IEP Team. It is considered best practice to do the evaluation at a time when the data gathered could also be used for the next IEP meeting.
Even if no additional data is needed to decide that the child is still eligible, there may be a need for more evaluation data and recommendations on the details of the child’s educational needs and services.
When might a parent request additional evaluations?
Sometimes a child has needs that are not addressed by the current IEP. It may be that need was not identified in the evaluation data. If something is missing in the IEP, it is important to go back to the PLAAFP statement to see if that specific area of need was actually identified.
Parents can request additional evaluations be done if there are concerns that areas of need are not being identified and addressed.
Does the parent have to agree to the REED?
The school team develops an evaluation plan and must obtain parental consent to implement the evaluation plan. Whether or not a REED is used for an initial evaluation, parental consent for special education evaluations must be obtained.
School personnel must document multiple attempts to obtain parental consent for a re-evaluation. However, a school may proceed with re-evaluations after making multiple, reasonable attempts to obtain consent. Staff must document these attempts to obtain consent. Parental consent for an evaluation is not required for reviewing existing data, or for administering a test or other evaluation administered to all children.
Can I see a sample REED form?
There is no model form for REED provided by the state. Ask your district for their REED form and guidance.
What are the implications of changing my child’s eligibility label?
IEP services are not tied to a label. Once a child is determined to be eligible for services, all of their needs have to be addressed. It’s most important for the IEP to have a full picture of a student, that’s why a comprehensive evaluation is important. An IEP label should not be changed to reduce or remove the services a student needs to be successful.
Parents can ask questions like:
- What is my child’s present level of academic achievement and related developmental needs?
- What data is the Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance based on?
- Why is the evaluation necessary? For example: has the child’s service needs, achievement, or performance changed?
- What is the evaluation plan?
- What evaluations will be completed and by who?
- Have they met their IEP goals?
- What is my child’s independent level of learning?
- Has their skill gap closed?
- Are they now working at grade level to meet state standards?
- Are the IEP programs/supports/services that they’ve been receiving necessary to continue participating in the general education curriculum and making progress?
Can a REED be used to end special education services?
The IEP Team conducts a REED to decide what additional information is needed to determine that the student is no longer a student with a disability or no longer in need of special education programs or services. A district is not required to conduct additional assessments in order to terminate a student’s eligibility. But if the REED indicates a need for additional assessment, the identified assessments must be completed prior to the IEP meeting where the determination of eligibility will be made.
An evaluation is not required before a student graduates with a diploma or when a student ages out. The school must provide the student with a summary of his/her academic achievement and functional performance and recommendations on how to assist the student to meet his/her postsecondary goals.
Schools should consider the effect of exiting a student from special education who has received special education and related services for many years and how the removal will affect the student’s educational progress, particularly for a student who is in the final years of high school.
It is important to remember a student does not have to fail or be held back in a course or grade to receive special education and related services.