Question via email–is the district still allowed to use the severe discrepancy model over the IDEA 2004 revision?
Here’s my answer:
The short version is that it seems clear that districts in NJ are permitted to use a severe discrepancy method for determining whether a child has an SLD. By my reading of the statutes and regulations quoted below, the district can use a severe discrepancy model. If you’re stuck in this mode, here are some options:
1. If the district is using “severe discrepancy” as the sole criterion, or as an excluding factor, then they would be violating Section 1414(b)(2)(B) (no “single measure or assessment”). That is a worthy challenge to consider.
2. If your daughter is receiving services beyond the general education program, you should be sure that the evaluation of the testing results takes into account the extra help. In other words, is there no severe discrepancy only because she’s receiving X hours of Y therapy a week?
3. Review the testing done that did not reveal a “severe discrepancy” to determine if you can/should have an IEE.
4. Have your own testing done outside the IEE process if needed.
5. Determine what information you need to regularly monitor from your daughter’s education so that you can establish worsening progress and any “severe discrepancy” that exists in the future.
Statutory references will come in a follow-on post.