Independent Education Evaluations

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An Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) is an evaluation done by a qualified examiner who is not employed by the public school or agency responsible for the education of your child. An IEE may evaluate any skills related to your child’s educational needs, such as behavior, social skills, or occupational therapy; it is not limited to academic skills.

Students receiving special education receive free educational evaluations from the time they are initially referred until they no longer qualify for services. Depending on the age of your child, these evaluations occur at least every 3 years, and more frequently for younger children and children with intellectual disability. Yet, you may be unsatisfied with your child’s current special education evaluation or may believe that another evaluation is needed. Your child’s school can agree to perform an evaluation more frequently, but it is not required to do so.

If your child’s current evaluation is not appropriate, you may be able to have your school or educational agency pay for an Independent Educational Evaluation. What makes an evaluation inappropriate? The evaluation may not seem accurate – for example, if the scores seem incorrect compared to your child’s performance. The evaluation may no longer be relevant – for example, if your child has had substantial progress or regression since his or her last evaluation. Or perhaps the evaluation is incomplete – for example, if it did not cover a specific area of need or if there is not enough information about the testing which was done.

If you ask the school or agency to pay for an IEE, the school/agency has two options: (1) agree to pay for it; or (2) request a special education hearing. If the school or agency agrees to pay for the IEE, make sure you understand any restrictions on who can perform it and on the scope of the evaluation.

If the school or agency does not agree to pay and requests a hearing, the school or agency will have to prove at the hearing that its evaluation is appropriate. If the hearing officer finds that the school/agency evaluation is sufficient, the school/agency will not have to pay for an IEE. If its evaluation is not appropriate, the school/agency will have to pay for an IEE or reimburse you for an IEE if you have already paid for one on your own. Note that you can only have one free IEE for every evaluation done by the school or agency.

Even if the hearing officer finds the evaluation of the school or agency to be appropriate, you may still obtain an IEE and pay for it yourself. The school/agency must consider the IEE when determining your child’s service needs – as long as the IEE was performed by a “qualified examiner.”

A “qualified examiner” must have the same credentials as the person the school or agency would use if it was doing the evaluation. For example, most schools use certified school psychologists for academic and IQ testing. There are other psychologists who do this testing as well, but if your school or agency requires a certified school psychologist and your evaluator is not one, you will not be able to be reimbursed and the school or agency is not required to consider your evaluator’s report. If you are unclear who is a “qualified examiner,” ask your school or agency what criteria they require. Your school or agency should also tell you where you can get an IEE, and may even provide a list of qualified evaluators to you. The United States Department of Education has also indicated that a state may require parents to choose from a list of qualified examiners, and a school may refuse to consider a report from an examiner who does not appear on the list.

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Last Updated: August 13, 2020

The Center for Autism Research and The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia do not endorse or recommend any specific person or organization or form of treatment. The information included within the CAR Autism Roadmap™ and CAR Resource Directory™ should not be considered medical advice and should serve only as a guide to resources publicly and privately available. Choosing a treatment, course of action, and/or a resource is a personal decision, which should take into account each individual's and family's particular circumstances.


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