What are the stages of the pre-referral process and what do they involve?
Page 9: Stage 6: Evaluation and Decision Making
During the final stage, evaluation and decision making, the pre-referral team reconvenes to review the collected data and to determine whether the student has made progress. If yes, the team decides whether the teacher needs to continue the intervention. If no, the team determines whether the strategy should be continued or modified, whether a new strategy should be tried, or whether the student should be referred for special education. As they review the information and come to a decision about the student’s progress, the team should consider several questions noted in the table below.
|Is the student making adequate progress in the classroom?
|If the student is making adequate progress, ask:
|If the student is not making adequate progress, ask:
|Can the intervention or accommodation be discontinued, or does the student require sustained intervention to succeed in the general education classroom?
|Does the strategy need to be modified or continued, or are there any other strategies that we can try?
|Is offering the student sustained supports a practical option for those carrying out the plan?
|Should the team initiate the formal referral process for special education?
Regardless of the pre-referral stage, it is always important for the team to include the student’s parent(s) or guardian(s) in the process. Though their consent is not required to hold these meetings, the team should encourage parents’ participation and keep them informed and involved. The observations and perspectives of parents or guardians often offer valuable insights about a student and allow the team to gauge his or her progress across environments.
For Your Information
There are no constraints on the amount of time a student can spend in the pre-referral process. However, if during the evaluation and decision making stage the team suspects the presence of a disability, they must initiate the formal referral process for special education. This formal process, in turn, will determine whether the student qualifies for services under:
- The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004—If a student has a disability that adversely affects his or her educational performance, that student is eligible for special education services under IDEA ’04. In these circumstances, a special educator must be part of the team, and the procedural safeguards (e.g., parent rights) specified under IDEA ’04 would take effect.
- Rehabilitation Act of 1973—If a student has a disability that does not affect his or her educational performance, that student is not eligible for services under IDEA ’04 but would be protected under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Section 504 protects these students from discrimination and ensures that they enjoy equal access to education, including appropriate accommodations.
Pre-referral at Macy Middle School
Stage 6: Evaluation and Decision-Making
The team determines that their strategies are showing some success and that Jeremy is demonstrating adequate progress. He now turns in his homework at least 80% of the time and as a result his grades have improved. Having considered these results, the team decides to:
- Continue the intervention as originally designed
- Continue to monitor progress on this goal for six more weeks
- Meet again to review progress; discuss at that time whether additional goals or monitoring are needed