Special Education

A Response to Intervention (RtI) Process Cannot Be Used to Delay or Deny an Evaluation for Eligibility under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

May 2011

A Response to Intervention (RtI) Process Cannot Be Used to Delay or Deny an Evaluation for Eligibility under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) - PDF PDF document (281 KB)

To:
District Superintendents
Superintendents of Public Schools
Superintendents of State-Operated and State-Supported Schools
Superintendents of Special Act School Districts
Principals of Public, Nonpublic and Charter Schools
New York City Department of Education
Impartial Hearing Officers
Special Education Parent Centers
Regional Special Education Technical Assistance Support Centers
Commissioner’s Advisory Panel for Special Education Services
Organizations, Parents and Individuals Concerned with Special Education

From:        
James P. DeLorenzo   

Subject:     
A Response to Intervention (RtI) Process Cannot Be Used to Delay or Deny an Evaluation for Eligibility under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

This is to inform you that the United States Department of Education (USDOE), Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) has issued guidance and clarification regarding the relationship between Response to Intervention (RtI) and evaluations pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  Please share this memorandum and the attached federal guidance with appropriate staff, including Directors of Special Education, Committee on Special Education Chairpersons, Directors of Pupil Personnel Service, as well as Parent Teacher Associations. To access this guidanceexternal link electronically, use the link under Attachment at the end of this memorandum. 

RtI is a nationally recognized instructional process that begins with appropriate core instruction; early screening and identification of students who are struggling in academic and behavioral areas; targeted instructional strategies and supports to address learning problems; and continuous monitoring to assess their progress during instruction.  New York State regulations define the components for an RtI process and establish parental notification requirements, including notification of a parent’s right to refer a student for an initial evaluation if the parent suspects the student has a disability and needs special education.  See 8 NYCRR section 100.2(ii). 

New York State regulations also establish procedures for identifying students with learning disabilities (8 NYCRR section 200.4(j)) that recognize and encourage school districts to use the research-based RtI process prior to, or as part of, the individual evaluation to determine whether a student has a learning disability.  Effective on and after July 1, 2012, an RtI process is required for all students in grades Kindergarten through grade four suspected of having a learning disability in the area of reading. 

State and federal regulations require that if a student has participated in an RtI process, parents must be informed of their right to refer the student for an individual evaluation to determine whether the student has a disability and requires special education.  Upon receipt of a referral from a parent, a school district must provide the parent with prior written notice informing the parent of the proposed evaluation and seek consent from the parent to conduct the individual evaluation.  Upon receipt of such consent, the initial evaluation must be completed within 60 calendar days and may not be delayed unless the parent and the school district, by mutual written agreement, extend this timeline to another agreed upon date in order for the student to participate in the RtI process as part of the individual evaluation. 

If a school district refuses to conduct the initial evaluation of the student upon a parental referral, the district must provide the parent with prior written notice and the parent has the right to request a due process proceeding if it disagrees with the decision.  A school district may use the procedures in section 200.4(a)(8) if it does not believe the referral of the student is appropriate.  Through these procedures, the school and the parent may reach agreement that the referral be withdrawn and that the student be provided additional general education support services. 

Please review the attached federal guidance on this topic and your school district’s procedures relating to individual evaluations.  If you have general questions regarding implementation of RtI, please see the guidance document, “Response to Intervention: Guidance for New York State School Districts” at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/RTI/guidance/cover.htm and further information on the RtI Technical Assistance Center website at www.nysrti.orgexternal link.  Questions regarding this memorandum may be directed to the Office of Special Education Policy Unit at 518-473-2878. 

Attachment
http://www2.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/idea/memosdcltrs/osep11-07rtimemo.pdf external link

Last Updated: May 13, 2011