Tips to Equip Video #1: What is an IEE? (Part 1)

May 4, 2023 | Articles, Videos



In part 1 of this IEP Tips to Equip Series, we will discuss the definition of the independent educational evaluation, or IEE, and how to get the process started.

What is an IEE?

An IEE is an evaluation conducted by qualified examiner who is not employed by the public agency or the school district. So that person is a private provider such as a speech therapist, an occupational therapist, a psychologist, or a neuropsychologist, someone who is not employed by the school district.

Why might a parent or a school district want an independent evaluator?

Well, they may want to gain additional information about a child’s learning style, particularly if the child has a complex disability. And maybe the district does not have an evaluator with that level of expertise on staff. Also, the parent may want a second opinion. For example, if the district evaluation finds the child not eligible for an IEP, the parent may want to challenge that evaluator’s conclusions by having their own private evaluator determine the child’s eligibility factors.

Now, the right to an IEE is an important procedural safeguard under the IDEA, or Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act, the special education law. The right to an IEE allows the parent the opportunity to collect additional information from an outside source to present to the IEP team for consideration.

Two Kinds of IEE

There are two kinds of IEE’s, the privately funded IEE, paid for by the parent, or the publicly funded IEE, which is paid for by the school district. A parent has the right to obtain a privately funded IEE at any time and present it to the IEP team for consideration.

Let’s focus on the publicly funded IEE.

Quick Tip Number One.

The parent must disagree with a completed evaluation. The way the IEE process works is that the parent writes a letter to the school district disagreeing with the district evaluation and requesting an IEE at public expense. But if the district hasn’t completed its evaluation or has yet to conduct one, the parents aren’t entitled to an IEE at public expense because there is no district evaluation for the parent to disagree with.

The caveat is if the district has completed its evaluation but didn’t assess in all areas of need within that evaluation, the parent can still request an IEE at public expense. This is because the district has completed its evaluation. So, for example, if the district completes an occupational therapy evaluation for a student with autism and sensory needs, but only evaluates for fine and gross motor skills, failing to assess for sensory integration.  The parent can still disagree with that occupational therapy assessment because the evaluation has been completed.

To obtain an IEE at public expense, the parent should write a letter to the school district disagreeing with the district’s evaluation and requesting an IEE at public expense. The parent doesn’t have to specify the reason or reasons that they disagree with the district evaluation. The district can ask the parent for that reason or reasons, but under the law, the parent does not have to explain their disagreement. And for school districts, you have the right to conduct an evaluation and you have a right to complete an evaluation before the parent has a right to request an IEE at public expense.

Next time, we will be releasing Quick Tip Number Two on IEEs, which is the two legal options the district has in response to the parents request for an IEE at public expense.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *