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(3.9) Are IQ scores the only basis for eligibility for special education based on intellectual disability?

(3.9) Are IQ scores the only basis for eligibility for special education based on intellectual disability?

No.  In order for a student to be eligible under this category, she must show

  1. deficits in adaptive behavior,(which is a child’s ability to function effectively in age-appropriate activities with others), and
  2. significantly below average general intellectual functioning. 

Both must have manifested during the developmental period and adversely affect her current educational performance.  [34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.8(c)(6); 5 C.C.R. Sec. 3030(b)(6).]  Adaptive behavior means age-appropriate behavior that enables a student to live independently, function successfully in every day life activities, and interact appropriately with others.

Because of the Larry P. v. Riles case, the California State Department of Education (CDE) has prohibited school districts from using standardized IQ tests to determine special education eligibility for all African-American students. Therefore, school districts should utilize alternative methods of assessment to avoid the use of IQ scores for special education eligibility determination of African/American students.  See Chapter 2, Information on Evaluations/Assessments.