What is an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE)?
The school district has completed their Evaluation of your child, but you aren’t sure if you agree with their test results. If you, as a parent of a child with a disability, do not agree with the results of the school’s evaluation of your child you have the right to obtain what is known as an Independent Educational Evaluation, or an IEE (§300.502 – see below for the exact text). This means that you may ask that a professional, competent evaluator who is not employed by the school system conduct another evaluation of your child.
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A parent and/or adult student has the right to obtain an IEE at public expense if he or she disagrees with an evaluation obtained or conducted by the LEA. Parents are not entitled to an IEE at public expense before they allow the LEA to conduct its own evaluation. The LEA will provide the parents with a list of qualified examiners from which to choose for the IEE.
The parent and/or adult student is entitled to only one IEE at public expense for each LEA evaluation. The parent and/or adult student has the right to an IEE at his or her own expense at any time, and the MEEGS group or IEP team must consider the results of each individual assessment completed.
The LEA may initiate a due process hearing, without undue delay, to determine if the evaluation it conducted is appropriate. If the final decision of a hearing officer, or a court of law’s decision on an appeal, is that the evaluation conducted by the LEA was appropriate, the parent and/or adult student still has the right to an IEE but at his or her own expense. Conversely, a hearing officer may order an IEE at public expense if he or she determines that the evaluation conducted by the LEA was not appropriate.
Many times the district will work with the parents to find a mutually agreeable evaluator. Usually a parent will make all the arrangements and provide the transportation.
Who pays for the independent evaluation?
The answer to this question is that some IEEs are conducted at public expense (meaning, the school system pays for the evaluation), and others are paid for by the parents.
Let’s see how that works out! Let us say that you are the parent of a child with a disability and you don’t agree with the school’s evaluation of your child. You have the right to request an IEE at public expense. This means that the school system would pay for an entirely new and independent evaluation of your child.
The school may grant your request and pay for the IEE, or it may file a due process complaint and request a due process hearing to demonstrate that its own evaluation was appropriate. The school may ask you why you object to its evaluation, but it may not require that you explain, or cause unreasonable delays in providing the IEE at public expense or in initiating due process to defend its evaluation.
If the school initiates due process, and the final decision of the hearing officer is that the evaluation of the school was appropriate, you still have the right to an IEE but not at public expense. If you have an IEE conducted of your child, you will have to pay for it yourself.
Sometimes, as part of a due process hearing, the hearing officer will ask that an IEE be conducted of the child. If this happens, the evaluation must always be conducted at public expense.
When an IEE is paid for with public funds, it must comply with the same criteria that the school system uses when conducting an initial evaluation of a child. The school must tell parents what those criteria are—such as the location of the evaluation and the qualifications of the examiner. These criteria must be the same as those used by the school system for its own evaluation to the extent that these are consistent with the parents’ right to an IEE. Nonetheless, the school system may not impose other conditions or deadlines with respect to conducting the IEE at public expense.
If a parent obtains an independent educational evaluation at his or her expense, the results of the evaluation that meet state and district criteria shall be considered by the district in any decision made with respect to the provision of FAPE for the child. If a parent and/or adult student obtains an IEE and makes that evaluation available to the LEA, the results must be considered by the LEA in any decision made with respect to the provision of a FAPE, identification, eligibility, or educational placement. The results may also be presented as evidence at a hearing regarding the student. The results of an IEE cannot be the sole determining factor for eligibility. The evaluation group has the responsibility to use existing evaluation data in addition to the IEE to determine whether a student has or continues to have a disability under the IDEA.
To download a sample letter on how to write a letter to an LEA to request an IEE, see Parent Letter Assistance.
§300.502 Independent educational evaluation.
(1) The parents of a child with a disability have the right under this part to obtain an independent educational evaluation of the child, subject to paragraphs (b) through (e) of this section.
(2) Each public agency must provide to parents, upon request for an independent educational evaluation, information about where an independent educational evaluation may be obtained, and the agency criteria applicable for independent educational evaluations as set forth in paragraph (e) of this section.
(3) For the purposes of this subpart—
(i) Independent educational evaluation means an evaluation conducted by a qualified examiner who is not employed by the public agency responsible for the education of the child in question; and
(ii) Public expense means that the public agency either pays for the full cost of the evaluation or ensures that the evaluation is otherwise provided at no cost to the parent, consistent with §300.103.
(b) Parent right to evaluation at public expense.
(1) A parent has the right to an independent educational evaluation at public expense if the parent disagrees with an evaluation obtained by the public agency, subject to the conditions in paragraphs (b)(2) through (4) of this section.
(2) If a parent requests an independent educational evaluation at public expense, the public agency must, without unnecessary delay, either—
(i) File a due process complaint to request a hearing to show that its evaluation is appropriate; or
(ii) Ensure that an independent educational evaluation is provided at public expense, unless the agency demonstrates in a hearing pursuant to §§300.507 through 300.513 that the evaluation obtained by the parent did not meet agency criteria.
(3) If the public agency files a due process complaint notice to request a hearing and the final decision is that the agency’s evaluation is appropriate, the parent still has the right to an independent educational evaluation, but not at public expense.
(4) If a parent requests an independent educational evaluation, the public agency may ask for the parent’s reason why he or she objects to the public evaluation. However, the public agency may not require the parent to provide an explanation and may not unreasonably delay either providing the independent educational evaluation at public expense or filing a due process complaint to request a due process hearing to defend the public evaluation.
(5) A parent is entitled to only one independent educational evaluation at public expense each time the public agency conducts an evaluation with which the parent disagrees.
(c) Parent-initiated evaluations.
If the parent obtains an independent educational evaluation at public expense or shares with the public agency an evaluation obtained at private expense, the results of the evaluation—
(1) Must be considered by the public agency, if it meets agency criteria, in any decision made with respect to the provision of FAPE to the child; and
(2) May be presented by any party as evidence at a hearing on a due process complaint under subpart E of this part regarding that child.
(d) Requests for evaluations by hearing officers.
If a hearing officer requests an independent educational evaluation as part of a hearing on a due process complaint, the cost of the evaluation must be at public expense.
(e) Agency criteria.
(1) If an independent educational evaluation is at public expense, the criteria under which the evaluation is obtained, including the location of the evaluation and the qualifications of the examiner, must be the same as the criteria that the public agency uses when it initiates an evaluation, to the extent those criteria are consistent with the parent’s right to an independent educational evaluation.
(2) Except for the criteria described in paragraph (e)(1) of this section, a public agency may not impose conditions or timelines related to obtaining an independent educational evaluation at public expense.
(Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1415(b)(1) and (d)(2)(A))