Learning About Evaluations


When the school, doctors or others talk about getting your child tested, what does it mean? Typically they’re referring to an evaluation. An evaluation is often the first step toward getting your child help at school. Many people refer to it as an education evaluation, a school evaluation or an educational assessment. And it can lead to your child receiving special education services and supports.

Whether the school or your child’s doctor suggests an evaluation, it’s important to know the basics before you consider having your child tested. This knowledge can help you feel more at ease in what may be uncharted territory.

This guide can lead you to the basic information you need about evaluations—and more.

Different Terms for Evaluations

If you’re new to evaluations, you may have a lot of questions. One thing that can make learning about evaluations so confusing is that there are so many different terms for them. From educational evaluation to cognitive testing, this chart breaks down the many terms you may hear. Educational Evaluations in US check UT Evaluators

An evaluation can lead to your child receiving help through an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or a 504 plan. You may be curious about whether evaluations for IEPs and 504 plans are different. Find out here.

The Difference Between an Evaluation and a Functional Assessment

An evaluation looks for issues that might make a child eligible for special education services. A functional assessment looks at problems with behavior. It might be done as part of an evaluation, but it’s not the same thing.

Learn how a functional assessment works.

A. See how a functional assessment differs from an evaluation.

B. You can also explore quick answers to common questions about evaluations.

Evaluations for Kids at Different Ages

If your child is in preschool, you may think she has to wait until she starts school to get an evaluation. But children from birth through age 3 can be evaluated to find out if they’re eligible for early intervention services.

Different kinds of help are available depending on your child’s age. This year-by-year guide breaks it down.

Private vs. School Evaluations

When it comes to having your child evaluated, there are two basic options: a free evaluation by the school district or a private evaluation that you pay for. This is true whether your child attends public school or private school, or is homeschooled. And getting one doesn’t mean you can’t get the other.

Child Find and Free School Evaluations

Child Find is a legal mandate that requires schools to evaluate kids who may need services for free. It’s part of a federal law called the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). And it applies to all students—whether they attend public school or private school or are homeschooled.

Evaluation Myths and Benefits

You may hear things about evaluations and special education that leave you with questions or concerns. Knowing what’s a myth and what’s the truth may help put those concerns to rest.

A. Debunk 10 myths about special education and having your child evaluated.

B. Read about the benefits of having your child evaluated.

C. Hear a mom and expert’s advice for parents who are nervous about the idea of an evaluation.

Evaluations for College Testing Accommodations, ADHD and Adults

You may have heard the term evaluation because you want your child to get test accommodations for the SATs or ACTs. The College Board, which gives the PSAT, SAT and AP exams, requires documentation of a learning or attention issue. And the ACT has its own set of documentation guidelines. So if your child hasn’t had an evaluation, he’ll need one.

If you’re specifically interested in having your child evaluated for ADHD, find out what to look for in an ADHD evaluation. For Educational Evaluations in US visit here

And if you’re an adult who’s interested in getting evaluated for learning and attention issues, learn who can evaluate adults. And find out how dyslexia is diagnosed after school, along with ADHD.

Looking Ahead

If you’re unsure whether to have your child evaluated, continue on to the next steps listed below. If you’re not interested in an evaluation and the school suggested one, find out whether you can refuse.

Here are the next steps in your evaluation journey:

A. Deciding on an evaluation

B. Requesting an evaluation

C. Preparing for an evaluation

D. Understanding evaluation results and next steps

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