Admin

Evaluations

EVALUATIONS

The first step in determining whether or not a student is a qualified disabled student under Section 504 is the evaluation process. 

If the 504 team determines that it suspects a disability under 504, it must conduct an evaluation of the student in a timely manner, at no cost to the parents.  A student can be suspected of a disability under Section 504 even if he/she is exhibiting only behavioral and not academic challenges.  All suspected areas of the disability must be evaluated.   An evaluation under Section 504 must draw from a variety of sources in evaluating the student for Section 504 eligibility.  Any tests used must be individualized and selected and administered to insure that the test results reflect the factors being measured.  They must be validated for the specific purpose for which they are used and appropriate administered by trained personnel.

Information obtained from all evaluative sources must be documented.  

A diagnosis by a medical provider, while an important piece of information in considering eligibility, is not in and of itself sufficient to determine eligibility for Section 504.
The team should consider any outside evaluation or information provided by the parents/guardians as part of the evaluation process.

Sources of information to consider as part of the 504 evaluation process may include, but are not limited to:

- GRADES
- INFORMATION PROVIDED BY THE PARENTS
- INFORMATION PROVIDED BY THE STUDENT
- STANDARDIZED TESTING
- ACADEMIC TESTING
- OBSERVATIONS OF STUDENT
- STUDENT WORK SAMPLES
- INFORMAL ASSESSMENTS
- CHECKLISTS/BEHAVIOR RATING SCALES
- TEACHER REPORTS
- BEHAVIORAL RECORDS
- ATTENDANCE RECORDS
- MEDICAL INFORMATION
- SECTION 504 REFERRAL FORM

If, based on the facts and circumstances of an individual case, the school district determines that a medical assessment is necessary to conduct an evaluation in order to determine if a student has a disability and requires special education and related services under Section 504, the school district must ensure that the student receives this assessment at no cost to the student’s parents .  However, the parent may choose to obtain that evaluation at his/her own cost, though they must be provided notice that the district has an obligation to evaluate the student at no cost to the parents.  
   
504 evaluations must be conducted in a timely manner.  The Norwalk Public Schools has adopted the same timeline for 504 evaluations as the timeline provided by the State Department of Education for evaluations conducted for students suspected of a disability under the Individuals with Disability Act (IDEA) .  This means that the team has 45 school days from the date of referral to the date of implementation of the 504 plan, less any time during which parents have not consented to the evaluations.

Section 504 requires that a Student be evaluated initially for eligibility and periodically after eligibility.  The Norwalk Public Schools evaluates eligible students every three years, consistent with the IDEA, or earlier/later upon the agreement of the team or the request of the parents or guardians, or before making any significant change in placement.

If it is decided that the student will not be evaluated, the parents must be provided with a copy of their Procedural Safeguards, alerting them of their rights to challenge this decision.  (See Section re: Procedural Safeguards).

At any point, the 504 team may determine that there is reason to suspect that the student may be a student who has a disability under the IDEA.  In that event, the 504 team should refer the student to a planning and placement team meeting.

Parental consent is required for evaluations.   Written consent should be obtained for any evaluations conducted by the 504 team.

[1] See Parent and Education Resource Guide to Section 504 in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools; U.S. Department of Education; Office of Civil Rights; December 2016, at page13.

[1] See June 27, 2008 Memo from Ann Louise Thompson to Special Education/Pupil Personnel Directors re Evaluation Timeline Data Collection;  see also R.C.S.A. Section 10-76d-13(a)(1).