Private Evaluations: What You Need to Know

ByAmanda Morin

At a glance

  • A private evaluation is an evaluation by a professional not working for your child’s school.

  • You control the type of testing that happens in a private evaluation.

  • In some cases, a school will agree to pay for—or be required to pay for—private testing.

An evaluation can help you learn more about your child’s needs. When the evaluation takes place outside of school, it’s called an “outside” or “private” evaluation. Sometimes a school will pay for a private evaluation—that’s when you’ll hear the term “ (IEE).” Knowing about private evaluations and IEEs can help you make good choices about your child’s education.

Private Evaluation

A private evaluation is an evaluation by a professional not working for your child’s school.

As a parent, you have complete control over a private evaluation. You can choose which type of testing to have done. You can also choose the person who does the testing. The evaluation can be comprehensive or just focused on a single issue.

You can have a private evaluation done at any time. The school doesn’t have to agree that it’s necessary, and the testing doesn’t automatically become part of your child’s school record. You don’t even have to tell the school. The drawback is that a private evaluation can be very expensive, sometimes thousands of dollars.

Independent Educational Evaluation

An IEE is a kind of private evaluation. The term comes from the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. An IEE comes into play when the school is evaluating your child for services and for some reason an outside evaluation is needed.

As a parent, you always have the right to pay for an IEE and share it with the school. The school must consider the IEE, although it doesn’t have to accept its results or recommendations. The IEE becomes part of your child’s educational record.

Paying for an IEE

“Parents usually pay for an IEE or private testing. But sometimes the school may agree or be forced to pay.”

Parents usually pay for an IEE or private testing. But sometimes the school may agree or be forced to pay. The school will usually agree to pay in cases where an outside evaluation is clearly needed, including:

  • When the school doesn’t have the staff needed to do the testing that your child needs
  • When the school’s evaluation team thinks outside testing is needed

A school may also be forced to pay for an IEE. If you don’t agree with the results of a school’s evaluation, you have the right ask for what’s called an IEE at public expense.

After you ask, the school must pay for an IEE unless it starts a due process hearing. During the hearing, the school must show that the evaluation it conducted was right for your child. If it can’t do that, it will have to pay for the IEE.

Professionals Who Administer Testing

There are different types of professionals who are qualified to do a private evaluation. Some are able to do all of the necessary tests. Others specialize and are certified only in certain areas. Here are some things to consider before hiring a private evaluator.

Professionals who can help include:

  • Clinical psychologists (for psychological and educational testing)
  • Educational psychologists (for educational testing)
  • Neuropsychologists (for brain processing and functioning testing)

Types of Testing

A private evaluation for learning and thinking differences involves various types of tests. It also includes a review of your child’s history and a conversation with and observation of your child. It can take a few testing sessions to finish and usually involves two main things:

What to Expect After Testing

After your child has been tested, the professional will gather and analyze all the information. You’ll sit down together to talk about the results and get your questions answered.

You’ll get a written report, too. This will recap all the information gathered and reviewed. It will also list the tests used, show your child’s results and provide more information about your child’s specific issues. A report should include a statement about how those issues affect your child and recommendations of things that can be done to help.

Once you have the report, you can decide if you want to share the results with the school. The report can provide information to help you and the school find ways to support your child’s learning. Learn more about your legal rights in the evaluation process.

Key takeaways

  • You can choose a private evaluator who specializes in your child’s needs.

  • You don’t have to share the results of a private evaluation with the school.

  • You can use the evaluator’s recommendations to help find ways to support your child’s learning.

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About the author

About the author

Amanda Morin is the director of thought leadership at Understood and author of “The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education.” She worked as a classroom teacher and early intervention specialist for more than a decade.

Reviewed by

Reviewed by

Kylah Torre is an instructor in the department of special education at Hunter College.