In response to many questions we have received from private practitioners, we offer this information in the hope that we can be of assistance to you when providing valuable consultations and/or evaluations to your clients. If you have other questions not covered here, please feel free to call our offices via Hilary Cargill, Psychological Services Secretary at 772-219-1200 ext. 30436.
On occasion, parents obtain at their expense an evaluation of their child by a practitioner in private practice. The results of these evaluations are sometimes submitted to the School District for purposes of seeking placement in (determining eligibility for) special programs or services. The results of such an evaluation must be considered by the School District in any decision made with respect to the provision of a free, appropriate education to the child. Martin County School District will consider such evaluation results as part of the School District evaluation.
Parents and private practitioners should recognize that determining student eligibility for a special program is more than administering a battery of tests. The eligibility criteria vary from one special program to another. Often a multi-disciplinary evaluation team is required to assess a student. Most categories of disability also require that parent conferences, observations, and interventions be attempted prior to referral and eligibility determination. State Board rules indicate general education interventions with response to intervention data must be used to determine eligibility for Specific Learning Disabilities. An evaluation by a private practitioner, including a psychologist or school psychologist, does not eliminate the need to assure that all procedures are followed for an eligibility determination.
The private practitioner must submit a signed report of test results and interpretations, and be willing to submit test protocols (including student's responses and examiner's scoring) directly to the District Psychological Services Department for review by the district's school psychologists. A case review committee consisting of at least three school psychologists shall review the data to determine if the private practitioner's results are acceptable and what additional evaluation procedures are needed from the school for making decisions related to eligibility. School district acceptance of a private evaluation does not imply eligibility for services.
What MCSD School Psychologists look for when reviewing private reports and protocols:
- Private Practitioner is licensed and meets credentialing requirements set forth in Fla. Admin. Code Rule 6A-6.0331 (1)(a) and licensed under Chapter 490
- Testing was completed recently (within the past 3 years generally acceptable)
- Evaluations use the most recent normative data (most recent version of test)
- Standardization is followed in test administration
- Student responses are documented on protocols
- Subtest and cluster scores are included in the report, along with interpretation of scores
- Scoring is accurate and reliable
- Results are consistent with existing data from school such as district academic benchmarks or cognitive screenings
- Private practioner did not administer an intellectual test that has been administered within the previous 12 months
**This does not limit or govern a parent's right to obtain an independent educational evaluation if the parent disagrees with the School District's evaluation.