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Rochelle’s Special Education Tips

Testing Trumps IEP Service Hours

No, the reference to “Trump” does not make this Tip political. Nevertheless, we have received advice from the United States Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) that makes sense. In a 2018 letter of advice ( Letter to Kane,72 IDELR 75), OSEP concluded that if scheduled special education services are missed because the student participated in statewide or school system-wide assessments, the service hours DO NOT have to be made up. Compensatory services do not have to be provided. All the school system has to do is to provide the student with required accommodations during the assessment, which can be the regular assessment or an alternate assessment. If the parent keeps the child home on testing days, services missed on those days need not be made up, either.

In an unrelated decision, OSEP also opined that if a student’s school day is reduced (i.e., from 5 days to 3 days per week due to illness), the decision to reduce the hours of service to be commensurate with the reduced number of school days would first have to be discussed with the parents. OSEP said this reduction of service hours does not require an IEP team meeting but can be done by amending the IEP with the agreement of the parents. ( Letter to Carroll, 72 IDELR 74). However, the best course of action would be to reduce the hours at an IEP team meeting and to send the parents the PWN.

Rochelle’s Special Education Tips (“Tips”) are designed to be helpful and thought provoking, but should not be considered legal advice as they may not be accurate for use in all situations. Tips are based on my opinions and positions in accordance with federal and Maryland law and my over 35 years of experience in the special education legal field. – Rochelle S. Eisenberg, Esquire

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