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

Evaluations before change in eligibility (proposed Evaluations before change in placement) (Sec. 300.305(e))

Comment: One commenter stated that the heading for Sec. 300.305(e), "Evaluations before change in placement" should be changed because the regulations that follow do not deal with changes in placement. Another commenter requested clarification regarding the meaning of the term "placement." The commenter stated that Sec. 300.305(e) uses the term to mean that special education services are no longer required, but that this is not the meaning when used in the context of alternative educational placements. The commenter also asked whether moving a child from a self-contained classroom to a resource room is a change of placement.

Discussion: We agree that the heading for Sec. 300.305(e) should be changed to more accurately reflect the requirements in this subsection. We will, therefore, change the heading to "Evaluations before change in eligibility," which is consistent with the heading in section 614(c)(5) of the Act.

With regard to the commenter's question about whether moving a child from a self-contained classroom to a resource room would be a change of placement, we believe that it would be, as it would change the child's level of interaction with his or her nondisabled peers. However, as noted previously, the term "change of placement" should not have been used in connection this regulation.

In the example provided by the commenter, generally, if a child is moved from a self-contained classroom to a resource room, it is likely that the child's current IEP cannot be implemented in the resource room, because the educational program in the resource room is likely to be substantially and materially different than the educational program in the self-contained classroom or the educational program in the resource room would change the level of interaction with nondisabled peers. Therefore, this situation would likely be a change of placement under the Act.

Changes: We have removed the heading "Evaluations before change in placement" in Sec. 300.305(e) and replaced it with "Evaluations before change in eligibility" for clarity and consistency with the heading in section 614(c)(5) of the Act.

Comment: Many commenters recommended that evaluations for other institutions (e.g., vocational rehabilitation agencies, colleges and universities) should be required before a child graduates from secondary school with a regular diploma or exceeds the age limit for FAPE. However, a number of commenters disagreed and stated that public agencies should not be required to conduct evaluations that will be used to meet the entrance or eligibility requirements of another institution or agency. One commenter requested clarification regarding whether schools must provide updated evaluations for college testing and admissions purposes and recommended including language in the regulations that explicitly states that public agencies are not required to conduct tests that are needed for admission to postsecondary programs. Another commenter recommended that the regulations clarify that LEAs have responsibility for providing the postsecondary services that are included in the summary of the child's academic achievement and functional performance.

One commenter requested requiring a reevaluation before a child exits the school system. Another commenter recommended clarifying that a comprehensive evaluation is not required for children aging out of special education.

A number of commenters provided recommendations on the information that should be included in the summary of a child's academic and functional performance required in Sec. 300.305(e)(3). Commenters suggested that the summary report should include information about the child's disability; the effect of the disability on the child's academic and functional performance (sufficient to establish eligibility under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, if appropriate); any needed modifications or adaptations essential to the child's success; the child's most recent evaluations by professionals, including the child's academic achievement and functional performance levels; assistive technology and other supports used by the child; and any modifications and supports that would facilitate the child's successful transition to postsecondary education or employment.

Discussion: We do not believe that the regulations should require public agencies to conduct evaluations for children to meet the entrance or eligibility requirements of another institution or agency because to do so would impose a significant cost on public agencies that is not required by the Act. While the requirements for secondary transition are intended to help parents and schools assist children with disabilities transition beyond high school, section 614(c)(5) in the Act does not require a public agency to assess a child with a disability to determine the child's eligibility to be considered a child with a disability in another agency, such as a vocational rehabilitation program, or a college or other postsecondary setting. The Act also does not require LEAs to provide the postsecondary services that may be included in the summary of the child's academic achievement and functional performance. We believe it would impose costs on public agencies not contemplated by the Act to include such requirements in the regulations.

It would be inconsistent with the Act to require public agencies to conduct evaluations for children who are exiting the school system because they exceed the age for eligibility under State law. Section 300.305(e)(2), consistent with section 614(c)(5)(B)(i) of the Act, is clear that an evaluation in accordance with Sec. Sec. 300.304 through 300.311 is not required before the termination of a child's eligibility under the Act due to graduation from secondary school with a regular diploma or due to exceeding the age eligibility for FAPE under State law.

Section 300.305(e)(3), consistent with section 614(c)(5)(B)(ii) of the Act, states that the summary required when a child graduates with a regular diploma or exceeds the age eligibility under State law must include information about the child's academic achievement and functional performance, as well as recommendations on how to assist the child in meeting the child's postsecondary goals. The Act does not otherwise specify the information that must be included in the summary and we do not believe that the regulations should include a list of required information. Rather, we believe that State and local officials should have the flexibility to determine the appropriate content in a child's summary, based on the child's individual needs and postsecondary goals.

Changes: None.

Comment: One commenter stated that public agencies should not be required to conduct an evaluation of a child who graduates with a regular diploma because a regular diploma means that the child has met the same requirements and achieved the same or similar level of competency as the child's nondisabled classmates. The commenter also requested that the regulations define a regular diploma to mean that the child has reached a comparable level of achievement as the child's nondisabled classmates.

Discussion: Section 300.305(e)(2) specifically states that a public agency does not need to evaluate a child with a disability who graduates with a regular diploma. In addition, as noted in the Analysis of Comments and Changes section for subpart B, we have clarified in Sec. 300.101(a)(3)(iv) that a regular diploma does not include alternate degrees, such as a general educational development (GED) credential. We do not believe that any further clarification with respect to the definition of "regular diploma" is necessary.

Changes: None.