An initial evaluation involves the use of a variety of assessment tools and strategies to gather relevant functional, developmental, and academic information to assist in determining if the child is eligible for special education. A two-pronged test for eligibility: (1) whether the child is a child with an exceptionality (disability or giftedness); and (2) by reason thereof, has a need for special education and related services, has driven eligibility decisions for many years. However, it is clear more than ever in the law that evaluations are incomplete if the evaluation does not result in the determination of the present levels of academic achievement and functional performance (related developmental needs) of the child (K.S.A. 72-986(b)(1); K.A.R. 91-40-8(a)(c)(2); 34 C.F.R. 300.305(a)(2)(i)(ii)(iii)). This shifts the focus of the initial evaluation from access to services to what the child needs to enable him or her to learn effectively and to participate and progress in the general education curriculum. Kansas State Department of Education Process Handbook Chapter 3.
Changes in Initial Evaluation and Reevaluation
An evaluation that is conducted for a child currently identified with an exceptionality, is considered a reevaluation. Schools must ensure that a reevaluation of each child with an exceptionality is conducted if conditions warrant a reevaluation, or if the child’s parents or teacher requests a reevaluation, but at least once every three years. Reevaluations may not occur more than once a year, unless the parent and the school agree otherwise. New requirements also allow the parent and the school to agree that a three year reevaluation is not necessary (K.S.A. 72-986(h)(2)(B); 34 C.F.R. 300.303(b)(2)). Kansas State Department of Education Process Handbook Chapter 7.