Initial Evaluations for Eligibility

A child may be referred for special education services through the public school, a private school or a parent/ guardian. Parents/Guardians must give consent for the evaluation and the school then has 60 calendar days to complete the evaluation. Eligibility is based on two factors: (1) Does your child have a disability and (2) Does the disability impact the education (academic, functional and/or developmental areas) of the student? Your child must meet the requirements in at least one of the eligibility categories in order for special education and related services to be offered.

Prior to Evaluation

Prior to evaluation for special education services, the school system must show what they have tried to do to help your child with learning difficulties. They should have documentation of the different strategies or methods they have used to help your child learn and data that shows your child is still not making acceptable progress toward learning grade level information. This is often called RtI (Response to Intervention) or the Student Achievement Pyramid of Intervention. RtI can be used when there are learning or behavior concerns. If the school does not have this information when an evaluation is requested, they will gather this information during the evaluation period.

Find out more about Response to Intervention (RTI).


A re-evaluation of a student receiving special education services occurs at least
once every three years.

Independent Educational Evaluations

If you disagree with the results of an evaluation conducted by the public
school, you may request an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) paid for by
the public school.

For more information on these eligibility criteria please contact Pathfinder Parent Center:  http://www.pathfinder-nd.org/

Understanding IEP’s

What is an IEP?

If your child receives special education and related services, it is required that he/she have an Individualized Education Program (IEP). The IEP will address your child’s unique abilities and needs and describe how he/she will access the general curriculum.

Who is on the IEP Team?

The group of people who will make decisions concerning your child’s educational program for the next year is called the IEP Team. Included are individuals with expertise in different
areas and a common goal to see the student reach their goals.

The IEP Meeting

During the IEP meeting, team members (including the parent) share their thoughts and concerns about the child and his/her strengths and needs.

Contents of a Written IEP

Every IEP must contain specific information required by the special education law, IDEA.

Preparing for IEP Meeting

Preparation for the IEP meeting can make a big difference in getting the services for your child that are needed.

Student-Led IEPs

Students should be actively involved in all aspects of the IEP, as their age and ability allow. To be successful in their life after high school, middle and high schoolers especially benefit from developing an understanding of their strengths and needs and how to share that information.

Addressing Behavior

If a student with disabilities has behaviors that impede their learning or the learning of others, the IEP team must consider strategies and supports to address that behavior.

For more information on Understanding IEP’s please contact Pathfinder Parent Center:  http://www.pathfinder-nd.org/