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(2.41) What are the legal requirements that ensure appropriate and accurate special education assessment for multicultural students?

(2.41) What are the legal requirements that ensure appropriate and accurate special education assessment for multicultural students?

Federal law requires:

  1. Tests must be selected and administered so as not to be racially, culturally, or sexually discriminatory;
  2. Tests must be administered in the student’s primary language or other mode of communication;
  3. Tests must be validated for the specific purpose for which they are used;
  4. Testing must assess specific areas of educational need and not merely produce a single general intelligence quotient (no single procedure can be used as the sole criterion for determining an appropriate educational program for a student);
  5. When a student with impaired sensory, manual, or speaking skills is being tested, the testing must ensure that the results accurately reflect the student’s aptitude or achievement level, and not the student’s impaired skills, unless those skills are to be measured by the testing; and
  6. A student must be assessed in all areas related to a suspected disability, including, where appropriate, health and development, vision (including low vision), hearing, motor abilities, general ability, academic performance, self-help, orientation and mobility skills, career and vocational abilities and interests, and social and emotional status.
    [34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.304.]

In addition, for a child with limited or no English proficiency, materials and procedures must be provided in the pupil’s native language or mode of communication and must yield accurate information on what the pupil knows and can do academically, developmentally, and functionally, unless it is clearly not feasible to do so.  [Cal. Educ. Code Sec. 56320(a)(b).]

Federal law requires that parents give informed consent for student evaluation procedures and student placement.  Informed consent means that you, as a parent, have been fully informed of all information relevant to the activity for which consent is sought, in your native language or other mode of communication. 34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.300 & 300.9.]

State law provides the same protections as federal law.  In addition, the state requires that:

  1. The assessment plan be provided in the primary language of the parent unless to do so is clearly not feasible;
  2. Any psychological assessment of students be conducted by a credentialed school psychologist who is trained and prepared to assess cultural and ethnic factors appropriate to the student being assessed; and
  3. For students whose primary language is other than English, linguistically appropriate goals, objectives, programs and services be included in a student’s IEP. 
    [Cal. Ed. Code Secs. 56320(a)(3), 56321(b)(2), 56324(a), & 56345(b)(2).]