What Is Meant by Non-discriminatory Evaluation?

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The term “non-discriminatory evaluation” refers to procedures that must be followed in educating children with disabilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The IDEA says all children with disabilities are entitled to equality of opportunity in their public education, as well as "full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency." Each child’s education must be provided with as few restrictions as possible and is guided by an individual education plan based on non-discriminatory evaluation and assessment. Parents have the right to participate in decisions and to be kept informed about all records involving their child's schooling.

Non-discriminatory Evaluation and the IDEA

  • When a child is diagnosed with a disability by qualified professionals and parents give consent, school officials evaluate the child’s eligibility for services. Eligibility means determining what resources are required so the student can learn. Six criteria govern non-discriminatory evaluations. They must be free of cultural or racial bias. Evaluation procedures must be conducted in the native language of the child’s parents whenever possible. A multidisciplinary team that includes educators and professionals qualified to evaluate children with the relevant impairments conducts the evaluation. The process must include multiple tests and procedures; no single test may be the sole criterion of the child’s eligibility. The tests and other materials used in the evaluation process must have been previously validated for the purpose for which they are used, including consistency of results.

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