The IDEA requires that a student who has an IEP be re-evaluated by his or her school system at least every three years. This is commonly referred to as a “triennial evaluation.” The expectation is that the school team re-assess the student to determine whether they continue to be eligible for special education and related services, and if so, under what category.
I’ve been noticing a troubling trend which seems to be gaining momentum, and that is for the district to propose a “records review” in place of the triennial. In other words, little or no testing will be done. Parents are usually sold on this procedure with comments like “we all already know he’s eligible, so why put him through the testing?”
BEWARE of this practice! There are many reasons to thoroughly re-evaluate a child, including getting a sense of progress. In addition, but giving the district a pass on testing, should the parents later want to get outside testing, the district will probably claim they want to test first, and you will prolong the process. If your district says they want to do a records review instead of a full triennial, YSER says it’s time to say no, and request what the federal law requires: a comprehensive evaluation in all areas of suspected disability.
To learn more about Triennial Evaluations, watch this video in our IDEA BASICS series.