IDEA Part C: Evaluation and Assessment Definitions
IDEA Part C Final Regulations
Evaluation and Assessment Definitions (§303.321)
Definitions have been clarified in the 2011 IDEA Part C final regulations. This document, unlike the other Part C Issue Briefs, is intended to illustrate for ASHA members the distinct differences between the Evaluation and Assessment categories described in §303.321 of the 2011 IDEA Part C final regulations.
Establishing Eligibility (Evaluation)
Evaluation means "the procedures used by qualified personnel to determine a child's initial and continuing eligibility..."
An initial evaluation refers to "the child's evaluation to determine his or her initial eligibility..."
"Procedures for evaluation of the child. In conducting an evaluation, no single procedure may be used as the sole criterion for determining a child's eligibility under this part. Procedures must include—
(1) Administering an evaluation instrument;
(2) Taking the child's history (including interviewing the parent);
(3) Identifying the child's level of functioning in each of the developmental areas in §303.21(a)(1) [PDF];
(4) Gathering information from other sources, such as family members, other care-givers, medical providers, social workers, and educators, if necessary, to understand the full scope of the child's unique strengths and needs; and
(5) Reviewing medical, educational, or other records."
Informed Clinical Opinion
"Qualified personnel must use informed clinical opinion when conducting an evaluation and assessment of the child...however, in no event may informed clinical opinion be used to negate the results of evaluation instruments used to establish eligibility..."
Determining Strengths and Needs of the Child and the Family (Assessment)
(ii) Assessment means "the ongoing procedures used by qualified personnel to identify the child's unique strengths and needs and the early intervention services appropriate to meet those needs throughout the period of the child's eligibility...and includes the assessment of the child...and the assessment of the child's family..."
(iii) Initial assessment refers to "the assessment of the child and the family assessment conducted prior to the child's first IFSP meeting."
"Procedures for assessment of the child and family. (1) An assessment of each infant or toddler with a disability must be conducted by qualified personnel in order to identify the child's unique strengths and needs and the early intervention services appropriate to meet those needs. The assessment of the child must include the following—
(i) A review of the results of the evaluation conducted under paragraph (b) of this section;
(ii) Personal observations of the child; and
(iii) The identification of the child's needs in each of the developmental areas in §303.21(a)(1)."
"A family-directed assessment must be conducted by qualified personnel in order to identify the families resources, priorities and concerns and the supports and services necessary to enhance the family's capacity to meet the developmental needs of the family's infant or toddler with a disability. The family-directed assessment must-
(i) Be voluntary on the part of each family member participating in the assessment;
(ii) Be based on information obtained through an assessment tool and also through an interview with those family members who elect to participate in the assessment; and
(iii) Include the family's description of its resources, priorities and concerns related to enhancing the child's development."
Note: All evaluations and assessments of the child and family must be conducted in a nondiscriminatory manner, in the native language of the child or family, by a multidisciplinary team.
Multidisciplinary means "the involvement of two or more separate disciplines or professions with respect to-
(a) Evaluation of the child in §§303.113 and 303.321(a)(1)(i) and assessments of the child and family in §303.321(a)(1)(ii), may include one individual who is qualified in more than one discipline or profession..."