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The information on the Caledattorney website is general information for California residents only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice or relied upon for any purpose. Contact California special Education Attorney Molly Watson for more information about legal services.

Molly Watson is available to meet with parents by Skype or FaceTime.


Serving exceptional children & their families



Independent Educational Evaluations

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, a parent of a child with a disability has a right to request an independent educational evaluation at public expense if the parent disagrees with the special education assessment performed by the child’s school district.  


After your child’s school district receives your request for an IEE, the school district will respond in one of three ways: 1) fund the IEE, 2) ignore your request, or 3) file for due process to prove that the school district's assessment is appropriate.

Due process of the law is a right guaranteed under the United States Constitution. This rights prohibits all levels of government from arbitrarily or unfairly depriving individuals of their basic constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property.

Special education due process are the formal legal proceedings carried out  in accordance with established rules and principles. 

n California, the Office of Administrative Hearings "OAH" handles special education due process cases.


After a due process complaint is filed with OAH by either the school district or the child's parents regarding the appropriateness of the District's assessment, the school district is likely to do one of two things: 1) either fund an IEE for the child, or 2) argue that their assessment is appropriate, which argument may eventually be at hearing made before an administrative law judge. 


If the school district agrees to the IEE, the district may try to restrict the cost or limit who may conduct the evaluation. The law is silent on the on the procedure for selecting an independent evaluator. Make sure that the evaluator is not an employee of the school district and has the necessary qualifications to perform the assessment.

In the alternative, if you don’t want to risk going to hearing and losing, instead of requesting that the school district fund an IEE, you can always obtain an IEE at your own expense. If the school district accepts the recommendations of your assessor, you might ask to be reimbursed for it.


In most cases, you should have the independent assessor observe your child in his or her classroom. The assessor should communicate with your child’s teachers and other service providers to make sure that any recommendations the independent assessor makes conforms with your child’s unique educational needs. If the school district conducted an observation as part of its assessment, your independent assessor has the same right to observe the child in his current or the proposed educational placement.


Whether the school district funds the IEE or you do, the school district is obligated to consider the results of an independent educational evaluation in a decision regarding a free appropriate public education (FAPE) for your child. Once you obtain the IEE, provide the school district with a copy of it and ask for any recommended services in writing.