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Under the new IDEA laws, how long does a school system have to respond and/or test a child if a parent requests testing? Is the school required to test?


Dear Cindy:

The time period within which a school must respond to a parental request for testing is determined by state law. Schools are not obligated to test a child just because a parent requests testing. However, whenever a parent submits a request for testing, the school district is obligated to inform the parent of whether the school will do the testing or is refusing to do the testing. If the school is agreeing to the testing, it must explain to the parents what testing is proposed and obtain the parents’ written informed consent to the testing.

If the school refuses to do the testing, it must inform the parents of the decision to refuse to test, the reason for the refusal, and that the parents have the right to request a due process hearing to challenge the refusal to test. The IDEA requires that schools complete the evaluation within 60 days of receiving parental consent for evaluation, unless state law specifies some other time frame. You should check your state’s special education law for the timeline for testing from the date of consent and whether the state law provides a deadline for responding to the parents’ request for testing.

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