2005 California Education Code Sections 56320-56331 Article 2. Assessment

EDUCATION CODE
SECTION 56320-56331

56320.  Before any action is taken with respect to the initial
placement of an individual with exceptional needs in special
education instruction, an individual assessment of the pupil's
educational needs shall be conducted, by qualified persons, in
accordance with requirements including, but not limited to, all the
following:
   (a) Testing and assessment materials and procedures used for the
purposes of assessment and placement of individuals with exceptional
needs are selected and administered so as not to be racially,
culturally, or sexually discriminatory. Pursuant to subparagraph (B)
of paragraph (6) of subsection (a) of Section 1412 of Title 20 of the
United States Code, the materials and procedures shall be provided
in the pupil's native language or mode of communication, unless it is
clearly not feasible to do so.
   (b) Tests and other assessment materials meet all the following
requirements:
   (1) Are provided and administered in the language and form most
likely to yield accurate information on what the pupil knows and can
do academically, developmentally, and functionally, unless it is not
feasible to so provide or administer as required by clause (ii) of
subparagraph (A) of paragraph (3) of subsection (b) of Section 1414
of Title 20 of the United States Code.
   (2) Are used for purposes for which the assessments or measures
are valid and reliable.
   (3) Are administered by trained and knowledgeable personnel and
are administered in accordance with any instructions provided by the
producer of the assessments, except that individually administered
tests of intellectual or emotional functioning shall be administered
by a credentialed school psychologist.
   (c) Tests and other assessment 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.
   (d) Tests are selected and administered to best ensure that when a
test administered to a pupil with impaired sensory, manual, or
speaking skills produces test results that accurately reflect the
pupil's aptitude, achievement level, or any other factors the test
purports to measure and not the pupil's impaired sensory, manual, or
speaking skills unless those skills are the factors the test purports
to measure.
   (e) Pursuant to subparagraph (B) of paragraph (2) of subsection
(b) of Section 1414 of Title 20 of the United States Code, no single
measure or assessment is used as the sole criterion for determining
whether a pupil is an individual with exceptional needs or
determining an appropriate educational program for the pupil.
   (f) The pupil is assessed in all areas related to the suspected
disability including, if appropriate, health and development, vision,
including low vision, hearing, motor abilities, language function,
general intelligence, academic performance, communicative status,
self-help, orientation and mobility skills, career and vocational
abilities and interests, and social and emotional status. A
developmental history shall be obtained, when appropriate. For pupils
with residual vision, a low vision assessment shall be provided in
accordance with guidelines established pursuant to Section 56136. In
assessing each pupil under this article, the assessment shall be
conducted in accordance with subsections (h), (i), and (j) of Section
300.532 of Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
   (g) The assessment of a pupil, including the assessment of a pupil
with a suspected low incidence disability, shall be conducted by
persons knowledgeable of that disability. Special attention shall be
given to the unique educational needs, including, but not limited to,
skills and the need for specialized services, materials, and
equipment consistent with guidelines established pursuant to Section
56136.
   (h) As part of an initial assessment, if appropriate, and as part
of any reassessment under Part B of the federal Individuals with
Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. Sec. 1400 et seq.) and this
part, the group that includes members of the individualized education
program team, and other qualified professionals, as appropriate,
shall follow the procedures specified in subsection (c) of Section
1414 of Title 20 of the United States Code. The group may conduct its
review without a meeting.
   (i) Each local educational agency shall ensure that assessments of
individuals with exceptional needs who transfer from one district to
another district in the same academic year are coordinated with the
individual's prior and subsequent schools, as necessary and as
expeditiously as possible, in accordance with subparagraph (D) of
paragraph (3) of subsection (b) of Section 1414 of Title 20 of the
United States Code, to ensure prompt completion of full assessment.
56320.1.  All identification, evaluation, and assessment procedures
for individuals with exceptional needs who are younger than three
years of age shall be provided pursuant to Chapter 4.4 (commencing
with Section 56425) and the California Early Intervention Services
Act, Title 14 (commencing with Section 95000) of the Government Code.
56321.  (a) If an assessment for the development or revision of the
individualized education program is to be conducted, the parent or
guardian of the pupil shall be given, in writing, a proposed
assessment plan within 15 days of the referral for assessment not
counting days between the pupil's regular school sessions or terms or
days of school vacation in excess of five schooldays from the date
of receipt of the referral, unless the parent or guardian agrees, in
writing, to an extension. However, in any event, the assessment plan
shall be developed within 10 days after the commencement of the
subsequent regular school year or the pupil's regular school term as
determined by each district's school calendar for each pupil for whom
a referral has been made 10 days or less prior to the end of the
regular school year. In the case of pupil school vacations, the
15-day time shall recommence on the date that the pupil's regular
schooldays reconvene. A copy of the notice of a parent's or guardian'
s rights shall be attached to the assessment plan.  A written
explanation of all the procedural safeguards under the federal
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. Sec. 1400 et
seq.), and the rights and procedures contained in Chapter 5
(commencing with Section 56500), shall be included in the notice of a
parent's or guardian's rights, including information on the
procedures for requesting an informal meeting, prehearing mediation
conference, mediation conference, or due process hearing; the
timelines for completing each process; whether the process is
optional; and the type of representative who may be invited to
participate.
   (b) The proposed assessment plan given to parents or guardians
shall meet all the following requirements:
   (1) Be in language easily understood by the general public.
   (2) Be provided in the native language of the parent or guardian
or other mode of communication used by the parent or guardian, unless
to do so is clearly not feasible.
   (3) Explain the types of assessments to be conducted.
   (4) State that no individualized education program will result
from the assessment without the consent of the parent.
   (c) The local educational agency proposing to conduct an initial
assessment to determine if the child qualifies as an individual with
exceptional needs shall obtain informed consent from the parent of
the child before conducting the assessment, in accordance with
subparagraph (D) of paragraph (1) of subsection (a) of Section 1414
of Title 20 of the United States Code. If the parent of the child
does not provide consent for an initial assessment, or the parent
fails to respond to a request to provide the consent, the local
educational agency may pursue the initial assessment utilizing the
procedures described in Section 1415 of Title 20 of the United States
Code and in accordance with paragraph (3) of subdivision (a) of
Section 56501 and subdivision (e) of Section 56506. The parent or
guardian shall have at least 15 days from the receipt of the proposed
assessment plan to arrive at a decision. The assessment may begin
immediately upon receipt of the consent.
   (d) The local educational agency shall not be required to obtain
informed consent from the parent of a child for an initial assessment
to determine whether the child is an individual with exceptional
needs under any of the following circumstances listed in subclause
(II) of clause (iii) of subparagraph (D) of paragraph (1) of
subsection (a) of Section 1414 of Title 20 of the United States Code:
   (1) Despite reasonable efforts to do so, the local educational
agency cannot discover the whereabouts of the parent of the child.
   (2) The rights of the parent of the child have been terminated in
accordance with state law.
   (3) The rights of the parent to make educational decisions have
been subrogated by a judge in accordance with state law and consent
for an initial assessment has been given by an individual appointed
by the judge to represent the child.
   (e) Consent for initial assessment may not be construed as consent
for initial placement or initial provision of special education and
related services to an individual with exceptional needs, pursuant to
subclause (I) of clause (i) of subparagraph (D) of paragraph (1) of
subsection (a) of Section 1414 of Title 20 of the United States Code.
   (f) In accordance with paragraph (3) of subsection (a) of Section
300.505 of Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations, parental
consent is not required before reviewing existing data as part of an
assessment or reassessment, or before administering a test or other
assessment that is administered to all children, unless before
administration of that test or assessment, consent is required of the
parents of all the children.
   (g) Pursuant to subparagraph (E) of paragraph (1) of subsection
(a) of Section 1414 of Title 20 of the United States Code, the
screening of a pupil by a teacher or specialist to determine
appropriate instructional strategies for curriculum implementation
shall not be considered to be an assessment for eligibility for
special education and related services.
56321.1.  If the child is a ward of the state and is not residing
with his or her parent, the agency shall, pursuant to clause (iii) of
subparagraph (D) of paragraph (1) of subsection (a) of Section 1414
of Title 20 of the United States Code, make reasonable efforts to
obtain the informed consent from the parent, as defined in Section
56028, of the child for an initial assessment to determine whether
the child is an individual with exceptional needs.
56321.5.  The copy of the notice of parent rights shall include the
right to electronically record the proceedings of individualized
education program meetings as specified in Section 56341.
56322.  The assessment shall be conducted by persons competent to
perform the  assessment, as determined by the school district, county
office, or special education local plan area.
56323.  Admission of a pupil to special education instruction shall
be made only in accordance with this article, Article 2.5 (commencing
with Section 56333) and standards established by the board and upon
a recommendation by the individualized education program team.
56324.  (a) Any psychological assessment of pupils shall be made in
accordance with Section 56320 and shall be conducted by a
credentialed school psychologist who is trained and prepared to
assess cultural and ethnic factors appropriate to the pupil being
assessed.
   (b) Any health assessment of pupils shall be made in accordance
with Section 56320 and shall be conducted by a credentialed school
nurse or physician who is trained and prepared to assess cultural and
ethnic factors appropriate to the pupil being assessed.
56325.  (a) (1) As required by subclause (I) of clause (i) of
subparagraph (C) of paragraph (2) of subsection (d) of Section 1414
of Title 20 of the United States Code, the following shall apply to
special education programs for individuals with exceptional needs who
transfer from district to district within the state. In the case of
an individual with exceptional needs who has an individualized
education program and transfers into a district from a district not
operating programs under the same local plan in which he or she was
last enrolled in a special education program within the same academic
year, the local educational agency shall provide the pupil with a
free appropriate public education, including services comparable to
those described in the previously approved individualized education
program, in consultation with the parents, for a period not to exceed
30 days, by which time the local educational agency shall adopt the
previously approved individualized education program or shall
develop, adopt, and implement a new individualized education program
that is consistent with federal and state law.
   (2) In the case of an individual with exceptional needs who has an
individualized education program and transfers into a district from
a district operating programs under the same special education local
plan area of the district in which he or she was last enrolled in a
special education program within the same academic year, the new
district shall continue, without delay, to provide services
comparable to those described in the existing approved individualized
education program, unless the parent and the local educational
agency agree to develop, adopt, and implement a new individualized
education program that is consistent with federal and state law.
   (3) As required by subclause (II) of clause (i) of subparagraph
(C) of paragraph (2) of subsection (d) of Section 1414 of Title 20 of
the United States Code, the following shall apply to special
education programs for individuals with exceptional needs who
transfer from an educational agency located outside the State of
California to a district within California. In the case of an
individual with exceptional needs who transfers from district to
district within the same academic year, the local educational agency
shall provide the pupil with a free appropriate public education,
including services comparable to those described in the previously
approved individualized education program, in consultation with the
parents, until the local educational agency conducts an assessment
pursuant to paragraph (1) of subsection (a) of Section 1414 of Title
20 of the United States Code, if determined to be necessary by the
local educational agency, and develops a new individualized education
program, if appropriate, that is consistent with federal and state
law.
   (b) (1) To facilitate the transition for an individual with
exceptional needs described in subdivision (a), the new school in
which the individual with exceptional needs enrolls shall take
reasonable steps to promptly obtain the pupil's records, including
the individualized education program and supporting documents and any
other records relating to the provision of special education and
related services to the pupil, from the previous school in which the
pupil was enrolled, pursuant to paragraph (2) of subsection (a) of
Section 99.31 of Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
   (2) The previous school in which the individual with exceptional
needs was enrolled shall take reasonable steps to promptly respond to
the request from the new school.
   (c) If whenever a pupil described in subdivision (a) was placed
and residing in a residential nonpublic, nonsectarian school, prior
to transferring to a district in another special education local plan
area, and this placement is not eligible for funding pursuant to
Section 56836.16, the special education local plan area that contains
the district that made the residential nonpublic, nonsectarian
school placement is responsible for the funding of the placement,
including related services, for the remainder of the school year. An
extended year session is included in the school year in which the
session ends. This subdivision also applies to special education and
related services required under Section 7573 of the Government Code
for an individual with exceptional needs who was placed in a
residential placement by an expanded individualized education program
team, pursuant to Section 7572.5 of the Government Code, if the
parent of the individual moves during the course of the year to a
district in another special education local plan area.
56326.  A pupil may be referred, as appropriate, for further
assessment and recommendations to the California Schools for the Deaf
or Blind or the Diagnostic Centers.
56327.  The personnel who assess the pupil shall prepare a written
report, or reports, as appropriate, of the results of each
assessment.  The report shall include, but not be limited to, all the
following:
   (a) Whether the pupil may need special education and related
services.
   (b) The basis for making the determination.
   (c) The relevant behavior noted during the observation of the
pupil in an appropriate setting.
   (d) The relationship of that behavior to the pupil's academic and
social functioning.
   (e) The educationally relevant health and development, and medical
findings, if any.
   (f)  For pupils with learning disabilities, whether there is such
a discrepancy between achievement and ability that it cannot be
corrected without special education and related services.
   (g) A determination concerning the effects of environmental,
cultural, or economic disadvantage, where appropriate.
   (h) The need for specialized services, materials, and equipment
for pupils with low incidence disabilities, consistent with
guidelines established pursuant to Section 56136.
56328.  Notwithstanding the provisions of this chapter, a district,
special education local plan area, or county office may utilize a
school site level and a regional level service, as provided for under
Section 56336.2 as it read immediately prior to the operative date
of this section, to provide the services required by this chapter.
56329.  As part of the assessment plan given to parents or guardians
pursuant to Section 56321, the parent or guardian of the pupil shall
be provided with a written notice that shall include all of the
following information:
   (a) (1) Upon completion of the administration of tests and other
assessment materials, an individualized education program team
meeting, including the parent or guardian and his or her
representatives, shall be scheduled, pursuant to Section 56341, to
determine whether the pupil is an individual with exceptional needs
as defined in Section 56026, and to discuss the assessment, the
educational recommendations, and the reasons for these
recommendations.
   (2) In making a determination of eligibility under paragraph (1),
a pupil shall not, pursuant to paragraph (5) of subsection (b) of
Section 1414 of Title 20 of the United States Code, be determined to
be an individual with exceptional needs if the determinant factor for
the determination is any of the following:
   (A) Lack of appropriate instruction in reading, including the
essential components of reading instruction as defined in paragraph
(3) of Section 6368 of Title 20 of the United States Code.
   (B) Lack of instruction in mathematics.
   (C) Limited-English proficiency.
   (3) A copy of the assessment report and the documentation of
determination of eligibility shall be given to the parent or
guardian.
   (b) A parent or guardian has the right to obtain, at public
expense, an independent educational assessment of the pupil from
qualified specialists, as defined by regulations of the board, if the
parent or guardian disagrees with an assessment obtained by the
public education agency, in accordance with Section 300.502 of Title
34 of the Code of Federal Regulations. If a public education agency
observed the pupil in conducting its assessment, or if its assessment
procedures make it permissible to have in-class observation of a
pupil, an equivalent opportunity shall apply to an independent
educational assessment of the pupil in the pupil's current
educational placement and setting, and observation of an educational
placement and setting, if any, proposed by the public education
agency, regardless of whether the independent educational assessment
is initiated before or after the filing of a due process hearing
proceeding.
   (c) The public education agency may initiate a due process hearing
pursuant to Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 56500) to show that
its assessment is appropriate. If the final decision resulting from
the due process hearing is that the assessment is appropriate, the
parent or guardian maintains the right for an independent educational
assessment, but not at public expense.
   If the parent or guardian obtains an independent educational
assessment at private expense, the results of the assessment shall be
considered by the public education agency with respect to the
provision of free appropriate public education to the child, and may
be presented as evidence at a due process hearing pursuant to Chapter
5 (commencing with Section 56500) regarding the child. If a public
education agency observed the pupil in conducting its assessment, or
if its assessment procedures make it permissible to have in-class
observation of a pupil, an equivalent opportunity shall apply to an
independent educational assessment of the pupil in the pupil's
current educational placement and setting, and observation of an
educational placement and setting, if any, proposed by the public
education agency, regardless of whether the independent educational
assessment is initiated before or after the filing of a due process
hearing proceeding.
   (d) If a parent or guardian proposes a publicly financed placement
of the pupil in a nonpublic school, the public education agency
shall have an opportunity to observe the proposed placement and the
pupil in the proposed placement, if the pupil has already been
unilaterally placed in the nonpublic school by the parent or
guardian. Any observation conducted pursuant to this subdivision
shall only be of the pupil who is the subject of the observation and
may not include the observation or assessment of any other pupil in
the proposed placement. The observation or assessment by a public
education agency of a pupil other than the pupil who is the subject
of the observation pursuant to this subdivision may be conducted, if
at all, only with the consent of the parent or guardian pursuant to
this article. The results of any observation or assessment of any
other pupil in violation of this subdivision shall be inadmissible in
any due process or judicial proceeding regarding the free
appropriate public education of that other pupil.
56330.  Each district, special education local plan area, or county
office of education shall follow the procedures in Section 300.535 of
Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations when interpreting
assessment data for the purpose of determining if a child is an
individual with exceptional needs under Section 56026.
56331.  (a) A pupil who is suspected of needing mental health
services may be referred to a community mental health service in
accordance with Section 7576 of the Government Code.
   (b) Prior to referring a pupil to a county mental health agency
for services, the local educational agency shall follow the
procedures set forth in Section 56320 and conduct an assessment in
accordance with Sections 300.530 to 300.536, inclusive, of Title 34
of the Code of Federal Regulations.  If an individual with
exceptional needs is identified as potentially requiring mental
health services, the local educational agency shall request the
participation of the county mental health agency in the
individualized education program.  A local educational agency shall
provide any specially-designed instruction required by an
individualized education program, including related services such as
counseling services, parent counseling and training, psychological
services, or social work services in schools as defined in Section
300.24 of Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations.  If the
individualized education program of an individual with exceptional
needs includes a functional behavioral assessment and behavior
intervention plan, in accordance with Section 300.520 of Title 34 of
the Code of Federal Regulations, the local educational agency shall
provide documentation upon referral to a county mental health agency.
  Local educational agencies shall provide related services, by
qualified personnel, as defined by Section 300.23 of Title 34 of the
Code of Federal Regulations, unless the individualized education
program team designates a more appropriate agency for the provision
of services.  Local educational agencies and community mental health
services shall work collaboratively to ensure that assessments
performed prior to referral are as useful as possible to the
community mental health service in determining the need for mental
health services and the level of services needed.


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