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The IDEA gives you the right to have your child evaluated independently. This means you have the right to have your child evaluated by someone other than staff who work for the school system. The purpose of the evaluation is to see if your child has a disability and, if so, what his or her special needs are. In some cases, you may pay for an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE). In other cases, the school system may pay for it. If the school system pays for the IEE or sees that the IEE is done at no cost to you, this is known as an IEE at public expense. (For more information about your right to an IEE, please see Question #11 in NICHCY’s publication called Questions and Answers about IDEA .)

Why would I want to request an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) at public expense?

Sometimes a family may feel that the results of the school’s evaluation do not accurately describe their child. Some parents may want additional academic tests or medical exams. Or they may be interested in having evaluations done in skill areas the school staff did not test. Parents can choose to have their child tested outside the school system, for these or other reasons.

However, if you want the school to pay for an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE), you will need to make your request BEFORE any independent testing is done. Some reasons you may want to request an independent evaluation include:

  • You believe the original evaluation was incorrect.
  • The original evaluation was not done in your child’s native language.
  • You believe that the original evaluation was incomplete and additional tests are needed.
  • The evaluation was not done with the needed accommodations (for example, in Braille or administered by someone who knows sign language).

The school system may agree to your request and pay for the IEE. On the other hand, the school system may deny your request and ask for a hearing to show that its own evaluation was appropriate. You will have the chance at this hearing to state your reasons why the school system should be required to pay for the IEE. An impartial third person (called a hearing officer) listens to and reviews the evidence. This individual then decides if the school system must pay for an independent evaluation. If the hearing officer decides in favor of the school system, you may still obtain an independent evaluation, but you must pay for it. The results of the IEE must be considered by the school in any decision made regarding your child’s free appropriate public education.

Sample Letter 3: Requesting an Independent Educational Evaluation at public expense

Today’s Date (include month, day, and year)

Your Name
Street Address
City, State, Zip Code
Daytime telephone number

Name of Person to Whom You Are Writing
Street Address
City, State, Zip Code

Dear (name),

My son/daughter, (child’s name) is in the ( _ ) grade, at (name of school), in (teacher’s name) class. He/She was evaluated for special education services in (month/year). I am writing to request an Independent Educational Evaluation at public expense, for the following reasons:
(BRIEFLY list your reason(s). Be very specific. For example,

“I disagree with the evaluation results because…”

“The evaluation should have included…”

“Evaluation should have been done in the area of…”

I would like this Independent Educational Evaluation to be done as quickly as possible so that we can fully address (child’s name) needs. Please respond as soon as possible and send me copies of the school’s guidelines for this. My daytime telephone number is (give your phone number). Thank you.


Your name

cc: your child’s principal
your child’s teacher

This information is copyright free.

Readers are encouraged to copy and share it, but please credit the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY). NICHCY Parent Guides are published in response to questions from individuals and organizations that contact us. We encourage you to share your ideas and feedback with us!

Publication of this document is made possible through a Cooperative Agreement between the Academy for Educational Development and the Office of Special Education Programs of the U.S. Department of Education. The contents of this document do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

P.O. Box 1492
Washington, DC 20013
v/tty: (800) 695-0285
Fax: (202) 884-8441
e-mail: [email protected]

Excerpted from Communication with Your Child’s School Through Letters. National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities. (2002). Washington, D.C.: Academy for Educational Development.
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