Last Modified: April 8, 2023 | Published: April 6, 2023
This article was originally published on Clear Child Psychology.
You’ve just received results from your child’s child psychology evaluation. What should you do now? In most cases, sharing the results of your child’s assessment with the school can be quite helpful.
Schools are bound by FERPA (Family Education Rights and Privacy Act). These laws require school professionals to keep your evaluation records private unless you give your permission to share them. In the case of a psychological evaluation report, it would generally make sense to allow the school evaluation team to have access. Many parents also provide the report to their child’s teacher, but that is entirely up to you.
The reason that it is helpful to share the psychological report is to build understanding among your child’s school team. Knowing that your child has a true deficit, not just an “unwillingness to try,” can bring about a big shift in how team members support your child.
Why You Might Share Your Child’s Results
In a comprehensive psychological evaluation, the report will provide detailed recommendations for your child’s school team. The evaluation reports will also have data to support the need for these services.
The private evaluation results may help you develop a plan with the school that supports your child’s learning and happiness in school. Often, during school team meetings, the staff will comb over the ‘Recommendations’ section of the report, looking for ideas to implement.
Your child’s school is required to consider your evaluation results. They are also required to consider any recommendations or strategies given. Although, there may be some suggestions that are just not practical at school, there can be other ideas that help a lot!
If needed, you can ask the private evaluator to give you an abbreviated report that only includes information relevant to your child’s learning. This document can help if you are worried about the personal family information provided in the report.
What Schools Do With Reports
If your child is being considered for an Individualized Education Program (IEP), the school team must review this report as data for the evaluation. Schools must consider the data, but they are not required to implement the recommendations or accept the data for their own purposes.
For example, if the outside evaluator reports an extreme deficit in reading, the school has three options about what to do next.
Option A: the school team can review that data and accept the reading issues as an area of need.
Option B: the school team can choose to do their own reading testing and not use the results from the private evaluation. If the two results disagree, the school can choose to use their own data instead.
Option C: the school team can choose to do both. They would accept the reading results and do additional testing at the school. This can be a comprehensive option as the various reading assessments may yield results in different areas.
In many cases, a school team will welcome this data as it can save them time and resources. A school will likely do assessments in areas of learning, such as reading, writing, and math. Schools have access to other learning data such as standardized test results and classroom assessments. Generally, best practice is to use a variety of data, from both internal and external sources, to get a comprehensive picture of your child’s needs in all areas.
What to Look For in an Outside Evaluator
Suppose you are still in the process of getting your child evaluated. If you are also in the process or considering having your child evaluated for an IEP, here are a few things to consider.
Start by checking with the IEP team at your child’s school. Ask what tests and evaluations they accept as a part of their requirements in providing services. For example, schools cannot make a diagnosis of ADHD or autism. Many school professionals are competent in reviewing results of such testing, however. There may be specific assessments they are familiar with and would appreciate seeing in the report.
It is helpful to ask the school what kind of data they want in considering a child’s overall needs at school. Sometimes, the school may be looking for specific strategies to address a specific challenge your child is facing in the classroom. A common example is organization and planning. If your child is unorganized, the school team may be interested in strategies from the evaluator that can be implemented at school.
However, keep in mind…the school does not have to accept every word of it!
Although the outside evaluator may suggest certain supports and strategies, the school may not agree. The school evaluation will determine the services at school, not the outside evaluation. The outside evaluation can really help by providing additional data and insights for the school.
Taken together, it is often a great help to share data with the school, but families have the final say as to whether they want the school to have access to the psychological evaluation results.
Ready to Learn More?
Would you like to learn more about getting a 504 plan? Check out our Cadey course on getting a 504 plan. Want immediate help? Ask a question on HelpMe Cadey, our free AI-infused way to get you recommendations fast.