Getting a referral for the evaluation

The next step is for your child to get an evaluation, also called a pupil appraisal evaluation or 1508 evaluation.

This is a series of tests to see if they need special services.

Usually, your child's teacher or other school staff will make a referral for the evaluation. But you can also do it yourself. No matter who is making the referral, it's important to put this in writing! This will help you keep track of when you made the request and who it was sent to.

Here's what you can do:

  • If your child's teacher or principal has not started this process, contact the Director of Special Education (or ESS) at your school district. Tell them you would like a referral for a pupil appraisal evaluation.

  • Ask for a copy of the referral. Make sure it has a date.

  • Ask questions! If there's anything you don't understand, ask them to clarify it for you.

  • Note: You can still request an evaluation even if the school is trying different interventions to see if they help your child learn. (The interventions usually happen through a process called RTI - click the box below to learn more).

Response to Intervention (RTI) is an approach to help students in the classroom before referring them for special education services.

  • RTI has different levels of interventions, such as using reward systems or making tasks easier.

  • The teacher will start with the lowest level and move up to a higher level if there are no changes in your child's behavior or learning.

  • If the interventions don't help, then the school will refer your child for an evaluation.

The goal of RTI is to help identify students who need special education services in school, and also prevent unnecessary labeling of students who don't.

Here's what you can do:

  • If the RTI interventions are not helping your child, talk to their teacher.

  • Ask for an evaluation. You can do this while the RTI interventions are going on.

  • Don't wait too long.The interventions can last up to 8 weeks, but you don't have to wait until the end.

Source: RTI Action Network

This rarely happens!

But if it does, the school must explain why they are denying your request in writing and send it to you. This is called a Prior Notice.

If you don't understand their reasons, ask the school to meet with you to explain.

For more information about the whole process, see this 29-page booklet:

Source: LA DOE

The Prior Notice must include :

  1. A description of the action refused by the school system

  2. An explanation of why the LEA refuses to take the action

  3. A description of each evaluation procedure, assessment, record, or report the agency used as a basis for the refused action

  4. A statement that the parents of a student with a disability have protection under the procedural safeguards

  5. Sources for parents to contact to get help in understanding their procedural safeguards

  6. A description of other factors that are relevant to the school district's refusal

Here is a sample Prior Notice letter. Take a look! (Click to open it in a new tab on your screen.)

Source: LA DOE




'Image of a folder and a sheet of ruled paper.'Keep records of all your communications with the school!

  • Include emails, letters, phone calls, even conversations
  • Make sure there's a date
  • This can prove what you have asked for, and when
  • It may help later on if you have to stick up for your rights


What happens next?

  • The school district will send you a form to sign to give consent (permission) for the evaluation

  • They also must give you a copy of the 29-page booklet (at the link below) that describes the whole process and your legal rights:

Louisiana's Educational Rights of Children with Disabilities: Special Education Processes and Procedural Safeguards (Click on the link to open it in a new window on your screen)

Image of a globe with the word language translated in different languages. Do you speak a different language? Know your rights! You have a right to get all information in your own language! This means paperwork and meetings. Ask for an interpreter or translated notices if you need them.

Source: LA DOE