• Guiding Principles

    The purpose of any evaluation in West Linn-Wilsonville is to support each child to know themselves as a learner and to strengthen the circles of support around that child, never to lower expectations or limit possibilities. 

    The specific additional goal of a special education evaluation is to consider eligibility for special education under one of the 12 specific categories, and to determine if the child requires specially designed instruction because of that disability. In West Linn-Wilsonville, we understand the obligations of Child Find (locating, evaluating, and identifying students with disabilities).
    West Linn-Wilsonville has a Circles of Support system in place to ensure that all students who need support get it right away, and that there are appropriate considerations in place through each building's Circles of Support Team to determine who should be referred for a special education evaluation.

    A special education evaluation is a set of procedures used to determine whether the student is disabled, and the nature and extent of the special education and related services that the child needs. The evaluation must address all areas of suspected disability for each student.

    For children who are Emerging Bilinguals, additional components are included in the Circles of Support process to help differentiate between language difference and learning disability. Tests and procedures are administered that measure the extent to which the child has a disability and needs special education, rather than merely measuring the child’s English language skills. See the EL/SPED section of the Special Ed handbook for more information on evaluation of English learners.


    Procedural Guidance

    For Initial Evaluations:

    • In most cases
      • Teacher notices concern regarding academics, independence, communication, social growth, or behavior
      • Teacher communicates with the student and parents and receives their students.
      • Teacher works to help the student be more successful through additional strategies of high-quality classroom instruction.
      • If concern continues, teacher collaborates with other teachers (building specific process) to hone instructional strategies or consider other ways of helping the student be more successful 
        • Teacher continues communication with the student and parents 
      • If concern continues, teacher makes referral to the school's Circles Team (see School Counseling Handbook guidance for Circles of Support process):
        • Teacher formally notifies parents of referral to the Circles Team (notification, not consent)
        • A Circles Team member observes the student during area of concern.
        • The Circles of Support Team, including teacher, reviews current data and then plans for adjustments to classroom instruction (interventions) for a reasonable period of time, usually for at least two cycles of review
        • If the student makes progress through these additional classroom interventions, then the teacher should continue the interventions.
        • The Circles Team meets to determine whether interventions should continue, interventions should be faded out, or new interventions should be tried
        • If concern continues after several rounds of interventions, the Circles Team can refer the student for evaluation for either special education or 504
        • If parent signs Consent for Evaluation, the school team has 60 school days to determine eligibility
        • If parents choose not to consent to a special education evaluation, the team should document this and continue to provide high-quality instruction through general education
      • Student Services Office is contacted to open SPED portion of Synergy (including referral and evaluation tabs)

    • In rare cases
      • The concerns noticed may be of such an extreme or physical nature that the Circles Team may decide to move directly to SPED Evaluation without the full Circles of Support process

        • For example: the student is blind or has just been released from a residential mental health facility
    • For articulation only
      • When the concerns ONLY involve the articulation of sounds, and there are no other areas of concern for the student, the teacher may refer directly to the Speech Language Pathologist
      • The Speech Language Pathologist will notify the Circles of Support Team if in agreement to move forward straight to special education evaluation
      • For additional information, see the SPEECH & LANGUAGE section of this handbook

    • When parents (or a community partner) present a request for evaluation for special education
      • A team should meet with the family as soon as possible and take meeting notes. The team should include:
        • a classroom teacher
        • a school psych (or speech language pathologist if the concern is only articulation or language)
        • school counselor, principal, or instructional coordinator
      • At the meeting, the parents will share the nature of their concerns and any additional information
      • At the meeting, school staff should share all relevant data and information that they have regarding the child's progress, learning, social growth, and behavior.
      • All of this information is documented in Panorama in the Student Referral or in Panorama Student Documents

      • There are 3 possible pathways at this point:
        1. Based on the new information from the parent as well as data from the school, the team agrees to move forward with a special education evaluation
          • In other words, we don't necessarily need to go through rounds of intervention and data collection in this case, but we still review and document the input of team members and the decision to evaluate in the meeting notes and prior written notice.
          • If parent signs Consent for Evaluation, the team has 60 school days to determine eligibility
        2. Based on the information from the school, the parent may agree that we should not move forward with special education evaluation
        3. Based on the information from the parent and school, the team may decide to enter the Circles of Support process - trying an intervention for a period of time, and coming back together to see if that intervention was successful.
          • This is the most common pathway when a parent requests an evaluation
      • If the team and parents do not come to agreement on one of these steps, contact Student Services Administrator for support on next steps - including a Prior Written Notice of SPED Action to explain the decision

      • At the conclusion of the meeting, the team should document one of the following decisions in the Meeting Minutes in Synergy:
        1. Student has responded well to interventions - end of Circles of Support - no further evaluation necessary
        2. Concerns are due to previous lack of instruction - continue instruction (and possibly interventions) - no further evaluation necessary
        3. Concerns are due to language/culture - continue instruction and address language/culture concerns - no further evaluation necessary
        4. Referral for evaluation for 504 or Special Education

    For Re-Evaluations:

    • Re-Evaluations occur:
      • at least every 3 years or when a change in the student's performance warrants an evaluation (i.e. the student is meeting all of their goals or the team suspects another area of disability)
      • when parents or teacher requests a re-evaluation
      • not more than once a year - unless team agrees otherwise
    • The IEP team provides information about the student's previous evaluations and current levels of performance on the Re-Evaluation Planning Form (example form) usually about 3 months prior to 3 year evaluation due date. The Re-Evaluation Planning Form includes, but is not limited to, the following:
      • Input from parents
      • Classroom-based observations
      • Classroom performance
      • Previous assessments
    • The Re-Evaluation Planning process can be done in a meeting with the entire IEP team present, or it may occur without a meeting with different team members sharing their input and opinions
    • If there is any sense of disagreement among team members, we should hold the Re-Evaluation Planning meeting 
    • Based on the review of information gathered in the Re-Evaluation Planning process, the team will determine:
      • If additional assessment is needed to determine eligibility or for educational planning purposes
      • What additional assessments will be given, if any
        • Parents sign the Consent for Evaluation Form 
        • Prior Written Notice: This documents the team's decision, the reasons for it, and the parent's right to request additional assessment
      • If no additional assessment is needed, the team can move straight to reviewing eligibility based on current data


    Evaluation Guidelines:
    • Assess the student in all areas of suspected disability
    • The evaluation should be sufficiently comprehensive to identify all of the student's special education and related needs
    • The evaluation includes information provided by the parent as well as a variety of assessment tools and strategies
    • The assessments and other evaluation materials are:
      • selected and administered so as not to be discriminatory on a racial or cultural basis
      • provided in the child's native language or other mode of communication unless it is clearly not feasible to do so
      • used for purposes for which the assessments are valid and reliable
      • administered by trained and knowledgeable personnel
      • administered in accordance with the instructions provided by the producer of the assessment
    • No single measure or assessment can be the sole factor to determine whether a child qualifies for special education services


    For Emerging Bilingual Students:

    • Being bilingual is always an asset. Our processes and the language we use to talk about Emerging Bilingual students should clearly communicate this belief.
    • Differentiating between language difference and disability is an extremely complex endeavor.
    • The length of time needed to fully acquire a second language varies greatly, but the average time is 5-7 years.
    • We must always pay attention to culture and language whenever the question is raised about possible need for SPED evaluation.
    • Someone with language acquisition expertise must be on the evaluation team for students who are emerging bilinguals.
    • Consult with the Student Services Office to determine if assessments need to be conducted in a language other than English, and by whom.
    Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE):
    • If the parents disagree with an evaluation for special education that has been conducted by the district, they may request an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE). Additional consideration regarding whether a parent is requesting a re-evaluation is warranted should be given to any request for an IEE that is made more than six months after the date of the last evaluation.
    • The Student Services Administrator will be notified of any request for an IEE, and will decide whether to agree to the request or initiate a due process hearing to prove that its evaluation was appropriate.
    • If the district agrees to the IEE, parents will be given a copy of the policy and procedures, information about where they may obtain an evaluation, and the criteria that must be met. The district may ask why the parents disagree with the evaluation conducted by the district; however, the parents are not required to provide an explanation.
    • Parents may only request one publicly funded independent evaluation for each evaluation completed by the district.
    • Evaluators selected to conduct IEE's must possess the minimum qualifications specified and be located within the greater Portland metro area. Only the cost of the evaluation is covered.
    • Independent evaluators conducting the IEE must agree to release their assessment information and results directly to the district's Student Services department before payment is rendered.
    • Results of any evaluation data and other information provided will be considered by the team in making decisions regarding the provision of a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) as required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
    • Payment will be denied for any Independent Educational Evaluations completed prior to obtaining written agreement from District Student Services department.


    Evaluation FAQs
    Does the district have any obligation to provide evaluations for the use of other agencies, such as Vocational Rehabilitation or the Office of Disabilities for a college, as a part of the transition process?
    The district does not have any obligation to provide evaluation or assessment for purposes outside of our Child Find and Special Education processes. In general, we will work to support families in learning about the other resources available to them in the community. If a student does not need additional evaluation for their K-12 educational services, the district will not conduct an evaluation.


    Board Policy IGBAH