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U.S. Department of Education: Promoting Educational Excellence for all Americans

Additional Procedures for Evaluating Children With Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD)

Section 300.307 (Specific learning disabilities) has been revised, as follows:

(1) Proposed paragraph (a)(1) of Sec. 300.307, which allowed a State to prohibit the use of a severe discrepancy between intellectual ability and achievement for determining if a child has an SLD, has been removed, and proposed paragraph (a)(2) of Sec. 300.307 has been redesignated as paragraph (a)(1).

(2) Section 300.307(a)(2) (proposed paragraph (a)(3)) has been changed to clarify that the criteria adopted by the State must permit the use of a process based on the child's response to scientific, research-based intervention.

Section 300.308 (Group members) has been changed to require the eligibility group for children suspected of having SLD to include the child's parents and a team of qualified professionals, which must include the child's regular teacher (or if the child does not have a regular teacher, a regular classroom teacher qualified to teach a child of his or her age) or for a child of less than school age, an individual qualified by the SEA to teach a child of his or her age; and at least one person qualified to conduct individual diagnostic examinations of children, such as a school psychologist, speech-language pathologist, or remedial reading teacher. These are the same requirements in current Sec. 300.540.

Section 300.309 (Determining the existence of a specific learning disability) has been revised, as follows:

(1) Paragraph (a) of Sec. 300.309 has been changed (A) to clarify that the group described in 300.306 may determine that a child has a specific learning disability if the child does not achieve adequately for the child's age or to meet State-approved grade-level standards in one or more of eight areas (e.g., oral expression, basic reading skill, etc.), when provided with learning experiences and instruction appropriate for the child's age or State-approved grade-level standards; and (B) to add "limited English proficiency" to the other five conditions that could account for the child's learning problems, and that the group considers in determining whether the child has an SLD.

(2) Section 300.309(b) has been changed to clarify (A) that, in order to ensure that underachievement in a child suspected of having an SLD is not due to lack of appropriate instruction in reading or math, the group must consider, as part of the evaluation described in Sec. Sec. 300.304 through 300.306, data that demonstrate that prior to, or as a part of, the referral process, the child was provided appropriate instruction in regular education settings, delivered by qualified personnel, and (B) to replace (in paragraph (b)(1)) the term "high quality research-based instruction" with "appropriate instruction."

(3) Section 300.309(c) has been changed to provide that the public agency must promptly request parental consent to evaluate a child suspected of having an SLD who has not made adequate progress after an appropriate period of time when provided appropriate instruction, and whenever a child is referred for an evaluation.

Section 300.310, regarding Observation, has been revised, as follows:

(1) Paragraph (a) of proposed Sec. 300.310 has been revised (A) to remove the phrase "trained in observation, and (B) to specify that the public agency must ensure that the child is observed in the child's learning environment.

(2) A new Sec. 300.310(b) has been added to require the eligibility group to decide to (A) use information obtained from an observation in routine classroom instruction and monitoring of the child's performance that was done before the child was referred for an evaluation, or (B) have at least one member of the group described in Sec. 300.306(a)(1) conduct an observation of the child's academic performance in the regular classroom after the child has been referred for an evaluation and parental consent is obtained. Paragraph (b) of proposed Sec. 300.310 has been redesignated as new Sec. 300.310(c).

Section 300.311 (Written report) has been renamed "Specific documentation for the eligibility determination," and has been revised, as follows:

(1) Section 300.311(a)(5), regarding whether the child does not achieve commensurate with the child's age, has been modified and expanded to add whether the child does not achieve adequately for the child's age or to meet State-approved grade-level standards consistent with Sec. 300.309((a)(1), and (A) the child does not make sufficient progress to meet age or to meet State-approved grade-level standards consistent with Sec. 300.309(a)(2)(i), or (B) the child exhibits a pattern of strengths and weaknesses in performance, achievement, or both, relative to age, State-approved grade level standards or intellectual development consistent with Sec. 300.309(a)(2)(ii).

(2) Proposed Sec. 300.311(a)(6), regarding whether there are strengths or weaknesses or both in performance or achievement or both relative to intellectual development, has been removed.

(3) A new Sec. 300.311(a)(6) has been added to clarify that the documentation must include a statement of the determination of the group concerning the effects of visual, hearing, or motor disability, mental retardation, emotional disturbance, cultural factors, environmental or economic disadvantage, or limited English proficiency on the child's achievement level.

(4) A new Sec. 300.311(a)(7) has been added to provide that if the child has participated in a process that assesses the child's response to scientific, research-based intervention, the documentation must include the instructional strategies used and the student-centered data collected, and documentation that the child's parents were notified about (A) the State's policies regarding the amount and nature of student performance data that would be collected and the general education services that would be provided, (B) strategies for increasing the child's rate of learning, and (C) the parents' right to request an evaluation.