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(16.11) What is the evaluation process for Section 504?

(16.11) What is the evaluation process for Section 504?

Section 504 does not establish a specific assessment process. But each school district must have standards and procedures in place and ensure that:

  1. Tests and other evaluation materials have been validated for the specific purpose for which they are used and are administered by trained personnel in conformance with the instructions provided by their producer;
  2. Tests and other evaluation materials include those tailored to assess specific areas of educational need and not merely those which are designed to provide a single general intelligence quotient; and
  3. Tests are selected and administered so as best to ensure that when a test is administered to a student with impaired sensory, manual, or speaking skills, the test results accurately reflect his aptitude or achievement level or whatever other factors the test purports to measure, rather than reflecting his impaired sensory, manual, or speaking skills (except where those skills are the factors that the test purports to measure).
    [34 C.F.R. Sec. 104.35.]

Additionally, Section 504 does not establish a timeline for completing evaluations. However, districts must complete the process, which includes the initial evaluation, within a reasonable period of time. [Lumberton (MS) Pub. Sch. Dist., (OCR 1991).] OCR looks to state law as a guideline to decide what is a reasonable period of time. [Beach Park (IL) CMTY Consol. Sch. Dist. (OCR 2013).]  In California, the timeline for conducting a special education evaluation is 60 days from the date parent gives informed consent to the evaluation.[Cal. Ed. Code Sec. 56344(a).]  If a district does agree that a child has or may have such an impairment, a delay of four months to conduct the evaluation was found to be violation of Section 504.  [Tracy Unified School District (2015) Office for Civil Rights, Western Division, San Francisco.]

Once a child is found eligible under Section 504, the school district must also conduct periodic re-evaluations of that child. [34 C.F.R. 104.35(d).] To meet this duty, the school district can follow the evaluation requirements and procedures under the IDEA. Parents should write to their district Section 504 Coordinator and obtain a copy of the district’s 504 Policies and Procedures. [34 C.F.R. Sec. 104.35.]