Triennial Evaluations and Updated Data

Triennial Evaluations and Updated Data

This post was inspired by a follower asking the following question: my son's IEP goals have been carried over from year to year, although in 7th grade, all assessments are from first and 2nd grade. I disagree that these are his baselines. How can I get them to update this information?

To answer this question, we'll dive into what a triennial evaluation is. A triennial is different from an initial evaluation because it doesn't need to be specifically requested. According to IDEA, the school or district is required to reevaluate students at least every three years.

IDEA 2004 states a student must be reevaluated at least every three years. This is known as a triennial review; the purpose of a triennial is to:

  • find out if the student continues to be eligible as a student with a disability as defined by IDEA
  • to find out if the student has educational needs

The triennial reevaluation is much like the initial evaluation to determine eligibility. First, the school or assessors collect readily available information about the student. Then, if more information is needed, they will seek sources to collect it. If the IEP team decides that additional information is needed and additional assessments should be given, then the parents of the child must provide their consent for the school to assess.

Although IDEA states that students with disabilities should be reevaluated every three years, if the parents, teachers, or school believe that a more frequent evaluation is necessary, it can be done with parental consent.

(a) General. A public agency must ensure that a reevaluation of each student with a disability is conducted in accordance with Sec. Sec.

300.304 through 300.311—

(1) If the public agency determines that the educational or related services needs, including improved academic achievement and functional performance, of the student warrant a reevaluation; or

(2) If the student's parent/guardian or teacher requests a reevaluation.

(b) Limitation. A reevaluation conducted under paragraph (a) of this section

(1) May occur not more than once a year, unless the parent/guardian and the public agency agree otherwise; and

(2) Must occur at least once every 3 years, unless the parent/guardian and the public agency agree that a reevaluation is unnecessary.(Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1414(a)(2))

Depending on information already available through previous evaluations and observations, the team that will reevaluate your child may differ from the original assessment team. Assessments also may vary according to the age of your child and state guidelines.

When the triennial evaluation has been completed, the assessment team will meet with the IEP team, including the parents, to review the results. In some states, this may happen in an annual review IEP meeting. In others, it may be a freestanding eligibility meeting.

My clients often ask me if it's necessary to do a triennial evaluation. If, after reviewing the records of the student, the IEP team decides that they have sufficient data to support the need for continued services, a reevaluation may not be needed. If the parents and the school agree in writing that they do not want to do a triennial reevaluation because there is sufficient data, it can be foregone.

However, even if it is crystal clear that a student is still eligible for services, it is possible after three years that, their needs and abilities have changed. A reevaluation could provide a more in-depth insight into the child's needs. You may have a new area of concern to add to the IEP that could be discovered through a reevaluation. Additionally, this is an opportunity to ask for assessments in specific areas that may had been ill-addressed in the previous evaluation.

Parents should also note that if they disagree with the results after the triennial evaluation is completed, they can request an IEE or independent testing at public expense.

So, dear follower, if your child's data hasn't been updated for years, you are legally not only entitled, but the school is required to provide you with an updated triennial assessment.

Using baseline data that does not represent a child's present levels is not in best practice or providing your child with a free and appropriate education.

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