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Types of Evaluations in Special Education

October 20, 2021
Special Education

Evaluations determine at what level a student is performing in cognitive, academic, and speech and language skills, as well as in physical, social, and behavioral development.  The Individualized Education Program (IEP) team uses the results to determine if a student is eligible, or continues to be eligible, for special education (SE) services. If so, the IEP team will use the evaluation results to develop or adjust an IEP that meets the child’s needs.

Initial Evaluation

  • If a parent/guardian suspects their child has a disability, they may refer them for an initial evaluation. This referral must be in writing. School staff who suspect that a child may have a disability must refer the student to be evaluated. The school or the Committee on Special Education (CSE) will send or mail home a form called Prior Written Notice: Referral: Initial within 15 days of referral. Parents must sign to give consent for the evaluation.
  • An initial evaluation is conducted at the district’s expense by the NYC Department of Education (NYCDOE) school psychologist and must be completed within 60 days of a parent’s signed consent.


  • Mandated Three-Year Reevaluation: Every three years, a student with an IEP must be reevaluated. The results are used to determine continued eligibility for SE services, and to make necessary adjustments to their IEP.
  • Other Reevaluations: Parents can request a reevaluation at any time. They do not have to wait until the Mandated Three-Year Reevaluation. Note: A student is not typically assessed more than once a year, although there are exceptions such as parental disagreement with evaluation results, student regression, or other factors.  If you believe that your student needs to be reassessed within one year, you may request an Independent Educational Evaluation (described below).

Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE)

An IEE is an evaluation that is paid for by the NYCDOE, but completed by a psychologist or other qualified professional who is not a NYCDOE employee. Refer to INCLUDEnyc’s IEE Tip Sheet for more details.  

Parents must make the request for an IEE in writing. Refer to this template.

Parents have the right to choose the evaluator.

Parents should consider asking the evaluator to participate in the follow up IEP meeting (via a virtual platform, if necessary) to discuss the results and their recommendations for meeting the needs of the student.

Private, Out-of-Pocket Evaluation

Parents can obtain an outside evaluation at their own expense anytime.  Parents can opt to provide the evaluation results to the IEP team at a meeting held in person or online. The team must consider this evaluation information when developing the IEP, but the IEP team is not required to follow any recommendations. As with an IEE, parents should consider asking the evaluator to participate in the IEP meeting (online, if necessary).