Special Education Evaluations

The staff members at Mahtomedi schools pride themselves in offering research-based instruction for all learners in such areas as reading, math and social skills. However, sometimes children demonstrate the need for a more intensive, individualized program. The data collected through special education evaluations assists in determining the following: Whether a child is eligible for special education services; the child’s current educational performance level; his or her education needs; what services/supports he or she may need to benefit from instruction; and the intensity level of needed instruction.

Once we receive a parent's written permission to proceed, the evaluation team has 30 school days to complete the evaluation and report results to parents. The evaluation itself can consist of various strategies or procedures that are selected to best gather information about the child’s strengths and needs. Most commonly, evaluations include interviews with the child’s parent(s) and teacher(s); a review of the child’s cumulative health and academic record; classroom observations where the child is compared with classmates of the same gender; standardized tests of the child’s proficiency with reading, writing, and math tasks; and standardized tests of the child’s formal problem-solving skills (e.g. memory, reasoning, verbal comprehension). A child being evaluated for special education services will miss classroom time to complete any standardized, individually-administered assessments; however, the assessors do their best to do this at times when the child won’t miss crucial classroom instruction.

Once the evaluation is completed, the team which includes parents, a building administrator, the child’s teacher, the school psychologist, a special education teacher, and any additional evaluators - will meet to discuss the data that has been collected. At that time, the team makes a decision regarding special education eligibility and instructional planning.