2161.2P Procedure - Specific Learning Disability (SLD) Eligibility Procedures Using Multi-Tier Systems of Support (MTSS)/Response to Intervention (RTI) Data in Comprehensive Evaluation

Child Find Obligations within the Franklin Pierce MTSS/RTI System
Implementing a MTSS/RTI system does not alter the obligation of Franklin Pierce Schools to identify students with disabilities (“Child Find”). Parents, teachers, or anyone else can initiate a referral at any time. District personnel should be aware that a parent has the right to make a special education referral even for students who have not yet demonstrated a lack of responsiveness to an intervention. The district may continue MTSS/RTI interventions if they have already been initiated while processing the referral and determining whether or not the student is a candidate for special education evaluation within required timelines.
Parent Participation
Involving parents at all phases is a key aspect of a successful MTSS/RTI program. As members of the decision making team, parents can provide a critical perspective on students, thus increasing the likelihood that MTSS/RTI interventions will be effective. For this reason, Franklin Pierce Schools will make a concerted effort to involve parents as early as possible, beginning with instruction in the core curriculum. This will be done by notifying parents of student progress within the MTSS/RTI system on a monthly basis.
Because MTSS/RTI is a framework of delivering the general education curriculum for all students, written consent is not required before administering universal screenings. However, when a student fails to respond to interventions and the decision is made to evaluate a student for special education eligibility, written consent must be obtained in accordance with special education procedures.
Special Education Referral Procedures
A special education referral for a student suspected of having a Specific Learning Disability may be deemed necessary after the student has received tiered interventions, and the interventions provided were not successful in closing the achievement gap. A student may be referred during Tier III, but eligibility will not be determined until interventions have been implemented with fidelity. Fidelity will be monitored as described in Tier 2 and Tier 3 procedures.
  • The student’s Tier 1 general education core instruction provided the opportunity to increase the rate of learning.
  • Two or more intensive research-based interventions (not necessarily different materials) were implemented with fidelity and for sufficient duration to establish that the rate of learning did not increase at a rate higher than a typical peer’s ROI and is closing the achievement gap.
  • The duration of the intensive research-based interventions was long enough to gather sufficient data points below the aimline (4 consecutive data points) through progress monitoring before changing the intervention.
Data based decisions will be made at each tier using a minimum of 8-10 data points (if progress monitoring every other week) OR 10-15 data points (if progress monitoring weekly). Furthermore, a change in intervention (4 consecutive data points below the aimline are required to change the intervention) will be considered within each tier before moving to the next tier of intervention. The intervention must have empirical evidence supporting its use in remediating the area of suspected disability (i.e., Basic Reading Skills), and the progress monitoring tool selected must be able to provide evidence that the student did not make a sufficient amount of progress in the area of suspected disability. It is the district’s responsibility to document that the student received intervention and was progress monitored.
Student Screening
Students may be screened by a specialist (e.g., school psychologist or learning specialist) at any time within the tiers to provide instructional and/or program planning information. For example, the student’s phonological processing or academic skills may be screened to provide additional information to inform instruction and/or intervention. All screenings will be conducted in accordance with the examiner’s manual with regard to standardization. Prior to a special education referral, this screening information may only be used to help identify the needs of the student and to assist with instructional program planning. Furthermore, this information will not be used to predetermine the student’s ability or lack thereof to make progress. If a student fails to make adequate progress after receiving intervention at all levels, the information obtained from any screenings completed during the intervention process may be used as part of the eligibility determination following informed written parental consent. Screenings conducted for instructional programming may be necessary but are not sufficient to document underachievement in the event a special education referral is made.
If, within the MTSS/RTI process, the team suspects that a student may be evidencing a disability other than a Specific Learning Disability, then the referral/evaluation process for that disability must be followed. It is important to note that the MTSS/RTI process is not required or appropriate for all areas of suspected disability. For example, a student who is suspected of having an Intellectual Disability may be referred prior to the completion of the MTSS/RTI process.  Any information collected through the screening/progress monitoring process will be vitally important when making these decisions. None of these procedures will conflict with the U.S. Office of Special Education Programs Memorandum 11-07.
Data management is also crucial within a MTSS/RTI system. Schools that use MTSS/RTI for SLD eligibility will need to identify the person or persons responsible for ensuring that data are properly obtained and analyzed. As students’ needs advance to more intensive interventions, school psychologists, special education teachers, counselors, speech/language pathologists, or other specialists may be called upon to manage, interpret, or synthesize student data to support decision-making teams.
Goal Setting in a Multi-Tiered Model (MTSS)
Franklin Pierce Schools will use two types of goal setting strategies as described in the table below.
Key terms:
  • Time Frame: when the goal is to be reached.
  • Grade Level Material: the assessment material in which the student is expected to be successful at this time.
  • Goal Material: the assessment material in which the student is expected to be successful at the end of the intervention and in which progress will be measured.
  •  Present Level of Performance: the assessment material in which the student is currently successful.
  • Criterion for Acceptable Performance (CAP): how successful performance will be judged.
Goal Format:
<Student> <Behavior> <CAP> <Goal Material> <Time Frame>
<Time Frame><Student> <Behavior> <CAP> <Goal Material>
<Goal Material> <Student> <Behavior> <CAP><Time Frame>
Goal Example:
<Sue> <Will Read> <115 Words Correctly (WRC) with 3 or fewer errors> <from a randomly selected Grade 4 Standard Reading Passage> <by the end of the 2013 school year>
<Sue> <Will Earn a score of greater than 35 points> <on a randomly selected Grade 5 Mathematics Applications Probe> <in 1 Year when her IEP expires>
Time Frame
Goal Material
CAP Outcome
PM Frequency
IEP Annual Review Date
Individualized to Reduce the Gap
Significantly Reduces the Gap/Local Norms
1-2 times per week
Tier 3
End of school year
Expected grade level or some cases at goal material level (between present level of performance and grade level as determined by the goal and supported by an adequate/rigorous ROI
Significantly Reduces the Gap/Local Norms
1 time per week
Tier 2
End of school year
Expected grade level
Reduces the gap/local norms
Benchmark assessment monthly or bi-weekly
Tier 1
End of school year
Expected grade level
Passing state assessment
Benchmark screening
Special Education Referral Information
A referral to special education will include (at a minimum):
  • Parent Input to include any pertinent familial information, family/student medical history, and etc.;
  • Teacher Input to include an indirect observation, work samples, documentation of differentiated instruction, etc.;
  • Documentation of the Problem to include classroom‐based performance assessments, standardized testing results, and other relevant assessment data;
  • A Detailed Description of the Intervention Process to include interventions used, attendance, frequency of implementation, duration of implementation, and fidelity monitoring; and
  • Progress Monitoring data indicating a lack of responsiveness to intervention.
Comprehensive Evaluation
Use of an MTSS/RTI process does not replace the requirement for a comprehensive evaluation. Even with MTSS/RTI, the evaluation must include a variety of data gathering tools and strategies, which includes the results of MTSS/RTI activities.[1] It has been noted that IDEA requires students to be assessed in all areas related to the suspected disability, including if appropriate, the eight specified areas. The IEP team (and other qualified professionals, as appropriate) use this standard to identify the particular areas of review for the student. Therefore, the determination of “comprehensiveness” is based on each student’s individualized needs. The following is guidance for this determination process.
In the past, the required “comprehensive evaluation” was interpreted by most to mean a common battery of assessments for all students suspected of having a particular disability. Now it is anticipated that the data gathered during the MTSS/RTI process, related directly to the student’s performance in the learning context, should reduce the need for the “common battery” approach to assessments.
In conducting an evaluation, the team may not use any single measure or assessment as the sole criterion for making a disability determination and for determining an appropriate educational program. While a student’s response to scientific, research-based intervention is crucial to disability identification and educational planning, other types of information and assessment data must also be collected throughout the MTSS/RTI process. See below.
The U.S. Department of Education, in the final IDEA regulations (Source: Federal Register/Vol. 71, No. 156. Page 46651) in 2006 directly addressed the question of the necessity of a cognitive processing assessment:
“Discussion: The Department does not believe that an assessment of psychological or cognitive processing should be required in determining whether a child has an SLD. There is no current evidence that such assessments are necessary or sufficient for identifying SLD. Further, in many cases, these assessments have not been used to make appropriate intervention decisions.”
“Concerns about the absence of evidence for relations of cognitive discrepancy and SLD for identification go back to Bijou (1942; 4 see Kavale, 2002) 5. Cronbach (1957) 6 characterized the search for aptitude by treatment interactions as a ‘‘hall of mirrors,’’ a situation that has not improved over the past few years as different approaches to assessment of cognitive processes have emerged (Fletcher et al., 2005; Reschly & Tilly, 1999)”
Franklin Pierce Schools encourages the requirement to collect additional information and assessment data be addressed through what is commonly called the RIOT (Record review, Interviews, Observation, and Testing) process, which is typically an integral part of the early intervening period. Below are examples of data sources and evaluation tools in each of these four categories that might be included in a full and individual evaluation. The collection of this information and data may occur during the MTSS/RTI process and/or after the special education evaluation period begins.
  • Record Review: Student work samples, grades, office referrals, etc.
  • Interviews: Of teachers, parents, counselors, the student, and others involved in the student’s education
  •  Observation: Of the student in specific, relevant settings and of the learning environment
  • Testing: Universal screening, CBMs (depending on tier), classroom tests, district-wide and state tests, functional behavior assessments, etc.
The following is a list of some of the evaluation tools that might be included in a full and individual evaluation:
  • Interviews
  • Observation of the student in specific, relevant settings
  • Error analysis of work samples
  • CBAs/Functional Academic Assessments, including CBMs and CBE
  • Progress monitoring data
  • Results from state and local assessments
  • Functional Behavioral Assessments
  • Behavior Rating Scales
  • Vocational assessments
  • Developmental, academic, behavioral, and functional life skills checklists
  • Standardized (norm-referenced) assessments
MTSS/RTI-Based SLD Identification Process
The Franklin Pierce MTSS/RTI-based SLD identification process is in compliance with the Federal regulations found at 34 CFR 300.307-300.311 and the Washington State Administrative Code at 392-172A-03055 to 392-172A-03080. These procedures provide guidance on meeting the six components contained in the regulations referenced above.
1. Failure to meet age or grade level State standards in one of eight areas when provided appropriate instruction.
2. Lack of sufficient progress in response to scientific, research-based intervention.
3. Findings are not primarily the result of a visual, hearing, or motor disability, an intellectual disability, emotional disturbance, cultural factors, environmental or economic disadvantage or limited English proficiency.
4. Underachievement is not due to lack of appropriate instruction in reading or math.
5. Observation of student’s in the learning environment documents academic performance and behavior in areas of difficulty.
6. Specific documentation for eligibility determination includes required components.
Component 1: Failure to meet age- or grade-level State standards in one of eight areas when provided appropriate instruction:
  • Oral expression
  • Listening comprehension
  • Written expression
  • Basic reading skill
  • Reading fluency skills
  • Reading comprehension
  • Mathematics calculation
  • Mathematics problem solving
The eight areas are not specifically defined in Washington State WAC. The following provide generally accepted definitions of the eight areas of achievement:
Oral expression is the ability to convey wants, needs, thoughts, and ideas in a meaningful way using appropriate syntactic, pragmatic, semantic, and phonological language structures. It relates to a student’s ability to express ideas, explain thinking, retell stories, categorize, and compare and contrast concepts or ideas, make references and problem solve verbally.
Listening comprehension refers to the understanding of the implications and explicit meanings of words and sentences of spoken language. This includes following directions, comprehending questions, and listening and comprehending in order to learn (e.g., auditory attention, auditory memory, and auditory perception). Listening comprehension also includes the ability to make connections to previous learning.
Written expression is the communication of ideas, thoughts, and feelings. Required skills include using oral language, thought, grammar, text fluency, sentence construction and planning to produce a written product. Spelling difficulties alone cannot be considered to represent a specific learning disability in written expression.
Basic reading skill includes phonemic awareness, sight word recognition, phonics, and word analysis. Essential skills include identification of individual sounds and the ability to manipulate them; identification of printed letters and sounds associated with letters; and decoding of written language.
Reading fluency skills refer to the ability to read words accurately, using age appropriate chunking strategies and a repertoire of sight words, and with appropriate rate, phrasing and expression (prosody). Reading fluency facilitates reading comprehension.
Reading comprehension refers to the ability to understand and make meaning of written text and includes a multifaceted set of skills. Reading comprehension is influenced by oral language development including new vocabulary acquisition, listening comprehension, working memory, application of comprehension monitoring strategies and understanding of text structure including titles, paragraphing, illustrations and other details. Reading comprehension is significantly affected by basic reading skills.
Mathematics calculation is the knowledge and retrieval of mathematical facts and the application of procedural knowledge in computation.
Mathematics problem solving is the ability to use decision-making skills to apply mathematical concepts and understandings to real world situations. It is the functional combination of computation knowledge and application knowledge, and involves the use of mathematical computation skills and fluency, language, reasoning, reading, and visual-spatial skills in solving problems. Essentially, it is applying mathematical knowledge at the conceptual level.
(Source: Wisconsin Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD) Rule)
A student needs to meet this criterion in only one of the eight areas. The school team should identify the area(s) of concern during its review of existing data. The area(s) of low achievement should be what prompted referral for evaluation for the possible presence of a Specific Learning Disability. To make this determination the school team should use existing data from a variety of sources. These sources may include:
  • Performance on Washington State assessments. 
  • Universal screening. Benchmark testing of all students, administered three times per year, focusing on foundational skills.
  • Formative assessments linked to grade level CCSS standards.
  • Progress monitoring. It is expected that most students will learn when provided with the general education curriculum as verified by progress-monitoring data based on CBM.
  • Classroom-based observation(s).
  • One or more observations by teachers (other than the student’s teachers) and related services providers in the instructional environment(s) and during instruction of the area of concern.
  • Information provided by the student’s parents through prior evaluations, developmental history questionnaires, other information, etc.
An evaluation of Oral Expression and Listening Comprehension will be completed pursuant to the Speech or Language Impairment eligibility standards. If a student has been evaluated by a Speech Language Pathologist and does not qualify as Language Impaired, then the IEP team may consider a Specific Learning Disability in either Oral Expression or Listening Comprehension if either continues to be a suspected area of disability; however, the rigorous intervention and progress monitoring standards must be met.
Component 2: Lack of sufficient progress in response to scientific, research-based intervention.
Franklin Pierce Dual Discrepancy Requirement
Dual discrepancy refers to both a performance discrepancy and an improvement discrepancy.
a. A student will have a performance discrepancy if his/her performance on a validated screening tool is at the 10th percentile or less. The evaluation team may verify the 10th percentile with another data source such as the individually administered achievement test.
b. A student will exhibit an improvement discrepancy when progress on CBM is below the Rate of Improvement (ROI) that significantly reduces the severe achievement discrepancy when Tier 3 intervention is of appropriate intensity and delivered with fidelity.
Determining the extent of student underachievement can be accomplished using curriculum-based measurement (CBM). In some cases norm-referenced tests may also be used to gather additional data on the student’s academic achievement. In order to substantiate inadequate achievement, an individual, standardized, and norm‐referenced measure of academic achievement may be administered after initial consent is obtained in the area of suspected disability (i.e., Basic Reading Skills, Reading Fluency, Reading Comprehension, Written Expression, Mathematics Calculation, and Mathematics Problem Solving). The decision to include other assessment data is an evaluation team decision.
Intensive intervention must occur within the tiers before inadequate classroom achievement can be assessed. The score from a standardized achievement test administered prior to receiving intensive intervention may not be used to determine inadequate classroom achievement. The team will select assessment instruments that are sensitive to floor effects and developmental levels, especially for students in the primary grades.
The goal is to determine the magnitude of difference between the student’s current skills from what is expected for his or her age and grade (Deno 2013).
Progress Monitoring Requirements
A lack of sufficient progress in one or more areas (i.e., Basic Reading Skills, Reading Fluency, Reading Comprehension, Written Expression, Mathematics Calculation, Mathematics Problem Solving) based on the student’s responsiveness to scientific, research‐based intervention will be documented using the following criteria:
Tier of Instruction and Intervention
Guidelines of Tier
Screening and Progress Monitoring
Tier 1
Tier 1: Defined in the Tier 1 guidelines
AIMSweb skills based universal screening
K-5: 3 times per year in the fall, winter and spring
Ongoing assessment
Tier 2
Tier 2: Defined in the Tier 2 guidelines
3 times per year universal screening plus progress monitoring in target area that is validated to be sensitive to change and provides ROI
Every other week
Minimum of 8-10 data points to make a data-based decision to change to Tier 3.
Tier 3
Tier 3: Defined in Tier 3 guidelines
3 times per year universal screening plus progress monitoring in target area that is validated to be sensitive to change and provides ROI
Minimum of 10-15 data points with Tier 3 interventions to make a data-based decision to refer for special education consideration
A measure of cognition is not required for all students referred to special education based on a suspected Specific Learning Disability. Only when the team suspects the student may be evidencing another disability (e.g. Intellectual Disability or Functional Delay) will a comprehensive measure of the student’s intelligence be administered.
Component 3
Within the special education evaluation process, these factors must be ruled‐out as the primary reason for the student’s underachievement.
a. A visual, hearing, or motor disability;
b. Intellectual disability;
c. Emotional disturbance;
d. Cultural factors;
e. Environmental or economic disadvantage; or
f.  Limited English proficiency.
Exclusionary Factor
Source of Evidence
Vision, Hearing, Motor Disability
Vision and hearing screenings, medical records, observation
Intellectual Disability
Classroom performance, academic skills, language development, adaptive functioning, IQ
Cultural Factors
Level of performance and rate of progress compared to students from same ethnicity with similar backgrounds
Environmental or Economic Factors
Level of performance and rate of progress compared to students from similar  economic backgrounds, situational factors that are student specific
Limited English Proficient
Measures of language acquisition and proficiency (BICs and CALPS)
Excessive Absenteeism
Attendance records, number of schools attended.
Component 4: Ensure that underachievement is not due to lack of appropriate instruction in reading or math.
“To ensure that underachievement in a child suspected of having a specific learning disability is not due to lack of appropriate instruction in reading or math, the group must consider, as part of the evaluation described in §300.304 through 300.306--
(1)  Data that demonstrate that prior to, or as a part of, the referral process, the child was provided appropriate instruction in regular education settings, delivered by qualified personnel; and
(2) Data-based documentation of repeated assessments of achievement at reasonable intervals, reflecting formal assessment of student progress during instruction, which was provided to the child’s parents.” §300.309
Adequacy of Core Instruction in Reading and Math
Since MTSS/RTI requires universal screening, data to evaluate the adequacy of core instruction should be readily available to the school team. A review of the number and percentage of students (in a class/grade/school) that are performing below the benchmark should be undertaken as part of Component 4.
If it is found that large numbers of students are performing at or below the benchmark it should be concluded that there is a class/grade/school issue with core instruction. In the face of such a finding, the core instruction issue should be addressed before individual students are moved into Tier 2 and Tier 3 interventions.
The Center for Educational Effectiveness, Inc., conducted a study of recent educational literature and existing rubrics/frameworks that focus on the practice of effective teaching. From this analysis came the following list of six core, essential practices of high quality teaching and learning that cut across all content areas and grade levels. The teacher:
  • Designs effective, standards-based instruction;  
  • Delivers high-quality, student-centered instruction;
  • Promotes high levels of student engagement;
  • Uses assessment for student learning;
  • Uses a positive behavior management strategy; and
  • Has clear evidence that students are learning.
(Source: R. MacGregor, the Essential Practices of High Quality Teaching and Learning, 2007)
The University of Oregon Center for Teaching and Learning lists the following as indicators of research-based instruction:
Models instructional tasks when appropriate
Provides explicit instruction
Engages students in meaningful interactions with language
Provides multiple opportunities for students to practice
Provides corrective feedback and initial student responses
Encourages student effort
Students are engaged in the lesson during teacher-led instruction
Students are engaged in the lesson during independent work
Students are successfully completing activities to high criterion levels of performance
(Source: Thomas-Beck, 2006. University of Oregon Center for Teaching and Learning)
Component 5: Observation.
Franklin Pierce Schools must ensure that the child is observed in the student’s learning environment (including the general education classroom setting) to document the student’s academic performance and behavior in the areas of difficulty.
a. Systematic observation of routine classroom instruction, and
b. Systematic observation during intensive, scientific research‐based or evidence‐based intervention.
There are many types of classroom observations. While the regulations do not prescribe the type of observation to be conducted, the following methods may be appropriate:
  • Behavioral observation procedures (e.g., event recording, time sampling, interval recording) that result in quantifiable results;
  • Informal or anecdotal recordings that address referral questions, instructional practices and instructional fidelity.
Most importantly, the observation should provide information that is data driven, empirical and objective. The observation should be sufficient to produce a detailed analysis of the instructional process, the classroom environment, and the student’s level and type of engagement. Simple narratives do not provide adequate or objective information. Observations across instructional settings (e.g., different classes) are especially valuable, as are observations by different team members. In all cases the observation must not be conducted by the person delivering instruction.
Questions the school team might consider regarding the results of an observation include:
  • Was the student’s performance and behavior in the area of concern “typical” during the observation compared with how the student performs at other times?
  • What learning skills were difficult for the student?
  • What student strengths were noted during the observation?
  • Was the student engaged and cooperative during instruction? 
  • Did the student’s behaviors interfere with learning to such an extent that they might be the primary reason the student is not making sufficient progress?
  • Did the student have the prerequisite skills to perform the tasks being observed?
  • Are the data collected during the observations consistent with other formal and informal data about the student in the area(s) of concern?
  • What is the relationship between the targeted student’s performance and behavior to other students?
(Adapted from Wisconsin’s Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD) Rule) 
In the case of a student who is in a placement outside of the Franklin Pierce School District, a team member must observe the student in an environment appropriate for a student of that age.
Component 6: Documentation (WAC 392-172A-03080).
The documentation of the determination of eligibility must contain a statement of:
a) Whether the student has a specific learning disability;
b) The basis for making the determination, including an assurance that the determination has been made in accordance with WAC 392-172A-03040;
c)  The relevant behavior, if any, noted during the observation of the student and the relationship of that behavior to the student's academic functioning;
d) Any educationally relevant medical findings;
e) Whether:
i. The student does not achieve adequately for the student's age or meet state grade level standards in one or more of the areas described in WAC 392-172A-03055(1); and
ii. A. The student does not make sufficient progress to meet age or state grade level standards when using a process based on the student's response to scientific research-based interventions consistent with WAC 392-172A-03060; or
B. The student meets eligibility through a severe discrepancy model consistent with WAC 392-172A-03070; and
C. If used as part of the eligibility determination under (A) or (B) of this subsection, a discussion of the student's pattern of strengths and weaknesses in performance, achievement or both, relative to age, state grade level standards, or intellectual development.
f) The determination of the group concerning the effects of a visual, hearing, or motor disability; intellectual disability; emotional disturbance; cultural factors; environmental or economic disadvantage; or limited English proficiency on the student's achievement level; and
g) If the student has participated in a process that assesses the student's response to scientific, research-based intervention:
i. The instructional strategies used and the student- centered data collected in accordance with the district's response to intervention procedures; and
ii. The documentation that the student's parents were notified about:
A. State and school district policies regarding the amount and nature of student performance data that would be collected and the general education services that would be provided;
B. Strategies for increasing the student's rate of learning; and
C. The parents' right to request an evaluation.
Each group member must sign the document as to whether the report reflects the member's conclusion. If it does not reflect the member's conclusion, the group member must submit a separate statement presenting the member's conclusions.
The group members should be those who have been involved in the MTSS/RTI process and are familiar with the student’s data. Ultimately, the school team must make a determination of the existence of SLD and the need for special education through a careful evaluation of multiple sources of data. Special education eligibility is a high-stakes decision for students. As such, it must be made in a comprehensive manner. The team may use additional assessments as necessary to assist in appropriate decision‐making for the student.
All re-evaluations for students with a Specific Learning Disability will be grounded in progress monitoring data. For students who qualified for services using the discrepancy model, it is assumed that the initial eligibility process was valid. Existing student-centered data including ongoing assessments of progress and focused/diagnostic evaluations will be reviewed through the re-evaluation report to determine if additional information is needed. Again, a gap analysis will be completed and the student’s ROI will be calculated in order to determine the amount of services/intervention required to close his or her achievement gap. The level of service required (special education versus general education) will be used to negate or substantiate continued eligibility.
When a student with a SLD transfers from one Washington school district to Franklin Pierce, the school psychologist will conduct a records review to ensure that all eligibility components were met.
When a referred student transfers from one Washington State school district to Franklin Pierce before an eligibility determination is made, Franklin Pierce must facilitate the timely completion of the requested evaluation. The previous school district should send all relevant assessment information to Franklin Pierce as soon as possible so that the evaluation and eligibility determination processes are not delayed. If additional time is needed to establish the student’s eligibility for services, then the school psychologist may submit a request to extend the evaluation timeline. This may be accomplished by using the formal extension process, which requires any extension of the timeframe be amended by mutual written agreement between the student’s parents and a group of qualified professionals.
Consistent with previous Franklin Pierce procedures, all out‐of‐state transfers will be reviewed to determine if the student meets Washington State special education evaluation criteria and Franklin Pierce MTSS/RTI criteria.
For students with an SLD who were made eligible using a model other than RTI, whose pre‐referral intervention and/or progress monitoring data is missing, or whose previous evaluation does not meet Franklin Pierce criteria, it is assumed that the student did not respond to general education intervention; however, at the time of the next re-evaluation, a comprehensive re‐evaluation (i.e., progress monitoring and achievement data collection) will be completed for eligibility purposes. The student’s responsiveness to intervention as indicated by progress monitoring data will be collected, based on services (intervention) provided through the IEP. Again, a gap analysis will be completed and the student’s ROI calculated in order to determine the amount of services/intervention required to close his or her achievement gap. The level of service required (special education versus general education) will be used to negate or substantiate continued eligibility. All information will be collected and an eligibility determination will be made within the Washington State evaluation timeframe.
Parent Request for Evaluation
The regulation allow a parent to request an initial evaluation at any time to determine if a child is a child with a disability. The use of RTI strategies cannot be used to delay or deny the provision of a full and individual evaluation to a child suspected of having a disability. If the district does not suspect that the child has a disability, and denies the request for an initial evaluation, the district must provide written notice to the parents explaining why the district refuses to conduct an initial evaluation and the information that was used as the basis for the decision.
Extending the Evaluation Timeline
The district and the student’s parent(s) may agree to extend the evaluation timeline to allow for the collection of necessary data. For example, the school team and the parent(s) may agree to allow additional time to complete an intensive intervention and collect progress monitoring data. In accordance with Federal regulations, this agreement must be made in writing. Federal regulations do not limit the amount of time an evaluation can be extended. Timeline extensions may not, however, be used to unnecessarily delay special education evaluations. (§300.309 (c))
Progress Monitoring and Intervention Procedures in Special Education
Students who qualify for special education with a Specific Learning Disability will be assigned services by their Individualized Education Program (IEP) team. Special education services will be the most intensive level of intervention. To the greatest extent possible and while still making progress towards goals, the student will remain in the core instruction (Tier I) and will have access to tiered intervention within the general education curriculum. The same problem solving approach used in the general education RTI process will be used in special education. Furthermore, interventions will be tailored to the student in the area of identified disability, and progress toward their IEP goals will be monitored one or two times per week. When students fail to respond to intervention as a result of the provision of special education services, an IEP team meeting will be reconvened.
Dismissal from Special Education
If the IEP team has sufficient data to consider exiting a student from special education services, the IEP team will recommend that a re-evaluation be conducted to consider and recommend dismissal from services.
Date: 1/13/15  

[1] OSEP Letter to Prifitera (March 1, 2007). Retrieved from https://www2.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/idea/letters/2007-1/prifitera030107eval1q2007.doc.