5.0 STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES
5.1 Are there special rules for home-schooled students who are disabled or suspected of being disabled?
Yes. A special administrative rule, OAR 581-021-0029, addresses the needs of home-schooled students with disabilities.
Home School Testing Requirements
5.2 Do the home school testing requirements apply to children with disabilities in the same way as to nondisabled children?
No. Under state law, children who are home schooled must be examined at certain grade levels. If the student’s composite test score places the child below the 15th percentile based on national norms, additional testing and other steps may be required. This requirement may not be appropriate for some children with disabilities. State law provides that children with disabilities be evaluated for “satisfactory educational progress” according to the recommendations of an individualized educational program (IEP) or privately developed plan (PDP).
5.3 What is "satisfactory educational progress"?
“Satisfactory educational progress” means “educational progress across academic and/or developmental areas appropriate to the child’s age and abilities.” State regulations specify that the student does not have to meet all of the IEP or PDP goals for the team to determine that the student is making satisfactory educational progress.
5.4 What is a “privately developed plan”?
State law permits parents of children with disabilities to home school in accordance with a “privately developed plan”. ORS 339.035(5).
State regulations define a privately developed plan (PDP) as “an individual plan developed by a team including the parent and one or more private service providers to address the educational needs of a child with a disability. A PDP shall include individual educational goals for the student and a statement indicating how satisfactory educational progress will be determined for the student.” OAR 581-021-0029(1)(d).
School district and ESD staff are not involved in the selection of the PDP team or approval of a PDP.
5.5 How is satisfactory educational progress determined for home schooled children with disabilities?
Same tests/same percentile: In some cases, an IEP or PDP team may decide that the standard tests and performance requirements (at or above 15th percentile) are appropriate for a child with a disability. This may be the case for a child with an emotional disturbance whose academic performance on a standardized test is not impacted by the child’s disability. The standard tests may also be an appropriate measure of progress for a child with an articulation disorder, or for a child with a physical impairment and no cognitive impairment. If so, this decision should be documented on the child’s IEP or PDP.
Same tests/different percentile: In some cases, an IEP or PDP team may decide that the standard tests are appropriate but that a different performance requirement is appropriate. The team may decide that performance at or above the 10th percentile (or some other figure) would be an appropriate standard of educational progress for a particular student. The team would need to consider the student’s present level of performance, and the impact of the student’s disability on that performance, in deciding what specific standard would be appropriate for the student. The decision should be documented on the child’s IEP or PDP.
Different test or measure: An IEP or PDP team may decide that an individual standardized achievement test, such as the Woodcock-Johnson Psychoeducational Battery, or a developmental criterion-referenced test, such as the Brigance, would be an appropriate measure of the child’s progress “across academic and/or developmental levels appropriate to the child’s age and abilities.” In some cases, an IEP or PDP team may decide that performance-based measures would be appropriate for a student. This decision needs to be documented on the child’s IEP or PDP.
The team also needs to decide what standard would be appropriate to apply to the student’s performance. This may require establishing a baseline to measure “progress” against. Then the team needs to calculate when the next test or measure would be given, and project what amount of progress should be expected based on the child’s age and ability during that time.
5.6 How often must home schooled children with disabilities be tested for satisfactory educational progress?
The same testing schedule applies to disabled and non-disabled children. At a minimum, children who are home schooled must be tested at grades three, five, eight and ten.
If a child with a disability does not make satisfactory educational progress at grades three, five, eight and ten, the child must be tested within one year. If that test shows a declining score, the ESD superintendent may allow the child to continue home schooling, or require the parent to place the education of the child under the supervision of a licensed teacher.
If the next years’ test continues to show a declining score, the ESD superintendent may require additional testing or supervision or may order the parent to send the child to public school for up to 12 months.
5.7 Can a child with a disability be ordered back to school?
Yes, but only after the same sequence of actions that are applied to nondisabled children who test below the 15th percentile. (See Question 5.6)
5.8 Who is responsible for the testing to determine satisfactory educational progress?
If the student has an IEP, and the IEP calls for a test that is not listed under OAR 581-021-0026, the school district will administer the test at no cost to the parent, as long as the child is participating in other IEP services.
If a child has an IEP but the IEP states that the student will take one of the tests listed in OAR 581-021-0026, the parent is responsible for arranging for and paying for the test.
If a child has a PDP, the parent is responsible for arranging for and paying for any tests or assessments.
If a child with a disability does not have an IEP or a PDP, the parent must arrange for and pay for testing under OAR 581-021-0026.
Some school districts or ESDs may make one or more tests listed in OAR 581-021-0026 available to parents at no cost or at a reduced cost.
5.9 Who is responsible for reporting test results to the ESD?
The parent or guardian. If the school district administers the test or other assessment for a student with a disability in accordance with an IEP, the district will report the results to the parents or guardians, including a summary statement indicating whether the child has made satisfactory educational progress in light of the child’s age and disability. The summary statement should be signed and dated by the member(s) of the IEP team who participated in the assessment of satisfactory educational progress. The parents or guardians are responsible for retaining this information and providing it to the ESD upon request.
If parents obtain testing in accordance with a PDP, the PDP team must complete the assessment, and provide the parent with a copy of the assessment results, including a summary statement indicating whether the child has made satisfactory educational progress in light of the child’s age and disability. The summary statement should be signed and dated by the member(s) of the PDP team who participated in the assessment of satisfactory educational progress. The parents or guardians are responsible for retaining this information and providing it to the ESD upon request.
5.10 Who is considered a “child with a disability” for the purposes of a privately developed plan?
(1) Children who are identified through the school district as having one of the disabilities under the IDEA. This includes children with:
- an autism spectrum disorder
- a communication disorder
- an emotional disturbance
- a hearing impairment
- intellectual disability
- an orthopedic impairment
- an other health impairment
- a specific learning disablility
- a traumatic brain injury
- a vision impairment
(2) Children who have a mental or physical impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities are considered disabled under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Parents who believe that their child is disabled under Section 504 may be required to provide documentation of disability upon request by the ESD.
5.11 How will a school district learn that a child with a disability is being home schooled?
A parent may tell the school district directly, or provide this information to the ESD when the parent notifies the ESD of the child’s home schooling status.
If the ESD learns that a child with a disability is being home schooled, the ESD must notify the child’s resident district.
The ESD also notifies school districts, at least annually but sometimes more often, of which students in the district are being home schooled. School districts must have a process for reviewing this list to determine whether any of the students are eligible students with a disability.
5.12 What are the school district’s responsibilities when it learns that a child with a disability is being home schooled?
For children who have been identified as having a disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the school district must provide written notice that:
(a) The district stands ready to provide special education and related services if the child is re-enrolled in the district; and
(b) The district offers an IEP meeting to consider continuation of special education and related services to the child with a disability in conjunction with home schooling.
5.13 What happens if the school district suspects that a home-schooled child may have a disability? What is their legal responsibility?
The first step would be to designate a team to determine whether an evaluation should be conducted. This team needs to include the parent and at least two professionals, at least one who is a specialist knowledgeable and experienced in the evaluation and education of students with disabilities.
If the team suspects a disability, the team then decides what type of evaluation is needed, and seeks written parent consent for that evaluation.
If, after consideration, the team does not suspect a disability, the team provides prior written notice to the parent that an evaluation will not be conducted, and explain the reasons for this decision.
5.14 What if the parent refuses consent for an initial evaluation?
If the parent(s) refuses to grant permission for an evaluation, does not respond, or refuses to make the student available, the school district must document this refusal and state that the district stands ready to conduct the evaluation when the parent gives consent or makes the student available.
Special Education Services
5.15 If a child with a disability is home-schooled, does that child have access to special education and related services from the school district?
Yes, but only if the child’s IEP team determines that an IEP providing free appropriate public education (FAPE) can be developed in conjunction with home schooling. This will depend on the individual circumstances and the student’s special education needs.
5.16 Is a free appropriate public education (FAPE) considered the same way for a home schooled student as for other students in the school district?
Not exactly. FAPE means special education and related services that:
- Are provided at public expense, under public supervision and direction, and without charge to the parent;
- Meet state standards and the requirements of state and federal special education laws;
- Includes elementary or secondary school education in the state; and
- Are provided in conformity with an IEP that meets state and federal requirements.
In Oregon, children who are home schooled by their parents are exempt from public elementary or secondary school education. In other words, parents assume responsibility for this component of the child’s education. So, in considering FAPE, the IEP team acknowledges that the parent has chosen to home school the child in relation to elementary or secondary school education, but the team does not evaluate or consider the appropriateness of this choice. Given home schooling (for regular education), the team considers what special education and related services are necessary for the child, and whether those services can be effectively provided in conjunction with the parent’s choice to home school.
The parent continues to assume this responsibility for elementary or secondary school education as long as the parent complies with testing and other state requirements for home schooling and the ESD has not required the student to return to school due to lack of satisfactory educational progress.
5.17 What is an individualized educational program (IEP)?
An IEP is a written, individualized program for the child that is developed by an IEP team. The IEP for a home schooled child has the same content requirements as other IEPs. The school district must use the Oregon Standard IEP form or, if approved, the district’s alternate IEP form.
The IEP includes:
- information about the child’s present level of educational performance;
- measurable goals and objectives;
- a list of the special education services and related services to be provided to the child and the anticipated amount, frequency, and beginning and ending dates for these services;
- a list of the supplementary aids and services to be provided to the child, or on behalf of the child, and a statement of the program modifications or supports for school personnel that will be provided for the child, and the anticipated amount, frequency, and beginning and ending dates for these services and modifications;
- a list of any necessary modifications or accommodations in the administration of state or district-wide assessments;
an explanation of the extent, if any, to which the child will not participate with nondisabled children in the regular class, and in extracurricular and other nonacademic activities;
- a statement of how the child’s progress toward annual goals will be measured, and how the parents will be informed of that progress at least as often as parents of nondisabled children are informed of student progress; and
- a statement of transition service needs (for students age 14 and older) and transition services (for students age 16 and older).
For home schooled children with disabilities, the explanation of non-participation would state that the student is exempt from compulsory school attendance and regular education is provided by the parent through home schooling.
Under state law, the IEP for a home schooled child must also include a statement about how “satisfactory educational progress” will be determined. See Questions 5.2 to 5.9.
5.18 Who is on the IEP team?
The IEP team always includes the parent(s), and in most cases, a regular education teacher of the child. The IEP team will also include a special education teacher or provider and a district representative. The child must be invited if transition is to be discussed (at least by age 14) and may be invited earlier than this. Sometimes the IEP team includes representatives of other agencies, and other individuals invited by the parent or the district.
For home schooled students, the student’s parent is treated as the parent and regular education teacher of the child unless the parent designates another person as the regular education teacher, or unless the IEP calls for participation in the school district’s regular education program.
5.19 How is special education placement determined for a home schooled child with a disability?
Placement is determined the same way as for children in the school district. The decision is made by a group of people, including the parents, and other persons knowledgeable about the child, the meaning of the evaluation data, and the placement options.
To the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities must be educated with children who are not disabled. Placement must be based on the child’s IEP, determined at least annually, and be as close as possible to the child’s home. Unless the child’s IEP requires some other arrangement, the child must be placed in the school that he or she would attend if not disabled.
School districts must have a continuum of placement options available as necessary to implement a child’s IEP. These options include: instruction in regular classes; instruction in regular classes along with supplementary aids and services (such as resource room instruction or educational assistant support); instruction in special classes; special schools; home instruction; and instruction in hospitals and institutions.
For children with disabilities who are home schooled, placement is considered only for the special education and related services on the IEP. The school district does not place the child in home schooling or consider the parent’s choice to home school.
5.20 Can special education and related services be provided to a home schooled child in the child’s home?
Yes, but only to the same extent as if the child were enrolled in the public school. School districts must ensure that special education and related services are provided the child in the “least restrictive environment.” This standard applies to all children with disabilities receiving IEP services.
5.21 What is a school district required to do if a parent refuses or does not respond to the district's offer to hold an IEP meeting to consider continuation of special education and related services to their child?
The school district must provide notice to the parents that the school district stands ready to provide special education and related services if the child re-enrolls in the public school. This notice must be provided at least annually as long as:
- The child remains eligible for special education;
- The child is exempt from compulsory school attendance as a home schooled student; and
- The student is not receiving special education and related services from the district.
5.22 What can a parent do if the parent disagrees with an IEP team decision that appropriate special education services cannot be provided in conjunction with home schooling?
The parent may attempt to resolve the disagreement through mediation or local alternative dispute resolution programs. These are voluntary, and the school district may or may not agree to participate. More information about mediation is available from the Office of Special Education, 503.947.5689.
The parent may send a letter of complaint to the Oregon Department of Education under OAR 581-015-0054. Letters of complaint should be addressed to:
Office of the Deputy Superintendent
Oregon Department of Education
Public Services Building
255 Capitol Street NE
Salem, OR 97310-0203
More information about the Department’s complaint resolution process is available from the Office of Special Education, 503.947.5689.
The parent may not request a due process hearing to resolve this disagreement. Due process hearing procedures are available for disagreements about eligibility.
5.23 What should a school district do if an IEP has been developed for a child in conjunction with home schooling, and the parent wants to delay implementation or later refuses services during the implementation period of the IEP?
The school district should make attempts to contact the parent personally to find out more about the situation. Ultimately, the school district should document in writing to the parent that the district stands ready to implement the IEP or to hold an IEP meeting to consider any changes in the child’s special education needs. Then the district should provide annual notice as described in question 5.21.
Because the child is exempt from compulsory school attendance as a home schooled child, the district cannot enforce attendance through truancy procedures.
5.24 Are home schooled children with disabilities considered parentally-placed private school children in Oregon?
No. The Oregon Legislature has a special statute for home schooled children.
5.25 Must a school district develop an IEP for a home schooled child with a disability with a PDP?
No. However, the school district must still offer an IEP meeting. See question 5.12.
5.26 Must children with disabilities who are home schooled be reevaluated at least every three years in the same manner as children with disabilities in public school?
Yes. The three year reevaluation requirement applies to home schooled children with disabilities. The first step in reevaluation is consideration of existing data. If the IEP team (including the parent) concludes that existing data is sufficient to continue eligibility for special education, additional testing may not be necessary. The IEP team may decide that additional testing is necessary for other reasons, such as to determine present levels of educational performance, to address any lack of expected progress toward IEP goals or in the general curriculum, or for other reasons.
5.27 What if a parent refuses consent for reevaluation?
If the team determines that specific evaluation is necessary to continue eligibility or to determine appropriate special education and related services for the child’s IEP, and the parent refuses consent for this evaluation or refuses to make the child available, the district must document to the parent that the district stands ready to conduct the evaluation when the parent gives consent or makes the child available.
If the district does not have sufficient evaluation information to determine eligibility or to develop an appropriate IEP, the district is not required to complete these activities. The district must give prior written notice if the district terminates eligibility or services under these circumstances.
5.28 Is there any service obligation to a home schooled child if the parent has declined the services specified on the IEP proposed by the district’s IEP team?
No. There are no state or federal requirements for service obligation in such a situation. Home schooled children do not have a service plan obligation similar to those for parentally placed private school children under the IDEA.
5.29 May a district count a student with disabilities who is home schooled and receiving IEP services from the district on the Special Education Census?
Yes, if the student has a current eligibility, a current IEP, and is receiving special education services from the district.
5.30 Will the district receive basic school support (ADM) for a student with disabilities who is home schooled and receiving IEP services from the district?
Yes. The ADM would be available to the same extent as for a student with disabilities in the district.
5.31 Will the district receive weighted basic school support (ADMw) for a student with disabilities who is home schooled and receiving IEP services from the district?
Yes. The ADMw would be available to the same extent as for a student with disabilities in the district, but would be pro-rated according to the amount of time the student is actually receiving services from the district.
5.32 Is the home schooled student reported by the district if the student is not receiving special education services?
5.33 Is the home school student to be reported as a private school student?
5.33 Can children with disabilities who are home schooled participate in one or more classes at a public school in their district?
The answer depends upon the school district’s policies and practices. The state does not require school districts to permit part-time attendance for home schooled students. However, if a school district does permit part-time attendance of home schooled children in its regular education program, the district must permit children with disabilities to participate to the same extent, if appropriate, whether or not the child is receiving IEP services from the district.
If the child is receiving IEP services from the district, the IEP team will determine the appropriateness of the child’s participation in regular education, consistent with the school district’s policies and practices, and the IEP will include any necessary modifications and accommodations related to the participation.
If the child is not receiving IEP services from the district, the district must consider the participation, and any necessary modifications and accommodations for the child, under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and in light of the district’s policies and procedures.
A child who is home schooled and attends one or more classes in the school district is still considered a home schooled student.
Transition Back to School
5.34 What steps should the school district take if a home schooled child with a disability returns to public school?
In most, if not all cases, the district should schedule an IEP meeting as soon as possible (e.g. immediately or within ten days of returning to school), to review the current IEP and revise it as appropriate, or to develop an IEP for the student. The IEP team will need to get current information from the parent about the child’s performance, and may need to arrange for additional testing to determine present levels of performance and current educational needs of the child. The IEP should no longer state that the student is home schooled, and the team will need to address participation in regular education and any necessary modifications and accommodations or supports for school personnel, etc.
Larry is 8 years old in second grade. He has a specific learning disability in reading and written language, and was found eligible for special education in May of his first grade year. Larry’s progress in other academic areas is not affected by his learning disability. The IEP that was developed at the end of first grade provided for five hours per week of specially-designed instruction in reading, and five hours per week of specially-designed instruction in written language. The IEP identified the anticipated location for these services as the learning resource center (LRC). His parents withdrew him for home schooling at the beginning of second grade.
In September of second grade, the special education teacher learns that Larry is not returning to school because he is being home schooled. After consulting with the special education director, the teacher telephones Larry’s parents to let them know that the teacher is sending a letter about Larry’s special education services, and to please call if they have any questions about the letter. The teacher then sends Larry’s parents a letter telling them that the district stands ready to provide special education services to Larry if they decide to re-enroll him in the district. The letter also offers an IEP meeting to consider providing special education services to Larry in conjunction with home schooling.
If Larry’s parents do not respond to the letter, or call or write the teacher and say “no thanks” to services:
The district will send a similar letter to the parents annually, as long as Larry is eligible for special education.
When it is time for Larry’s three-year reevaluation (due in May of fourth grade), the district will send a letter offering an evaluation planning meeting to review existing information and determine what additional information is needed to determine eligibility or to develop an IEP for Larry.
If the parents refuse this evaluation, or do not cooperate with making Larry available for the evaluation, the district is not required to complete the evaluation.
If the district terminates eligibility because it does not have enough information to determine continuing eligibility, the district will send prior written notice of termination of eligibility.
If Larry’s parents respond to the letter by saying they want an IEP meeting to consider continuation of special education services:
The district will schedule an IEP meeting with Larry’s parents.
The IEP team reviews Larry’s IEP from the end of first grade and determines that the special education services could be provided in conjunction with home schooling. The team makes only a few minor changes to the IEP (e.g. indicating that he will not be participating in regular education because the parent is home schooling him and he is exempt from compulsory school attendance).
No test is required for 18 months – which would be until March of third grade. Third grade is a testing year, so the IEP or PDP team needs to project what progress should be expected from Larry, across all “academic and/or developmental levels appropriate to the child’s age and abilities.”
If Larry is not getting IEP services from the district . . .
The parent must either use the regular tests with Larry, or arrange for a PDP for Larry. The PDP must include a statement of how satisfactory progress will be determined for Larry.
If Larry is getting IEP services from the district . . .
The IEP needs to address how “satisfactory educational progress” will be determined for Larry.
The IEP team believes that the regular home schooling tests would be unfair because Larry’s low reading and written language scores (affected by his disability) would depress his composite test score. Also, the paper/pencil format of the test would be difficult for him, and would not accurately assess his knowledge/progress in the other areas. The team decides that an individual achievement test such as the Woodcock-Johnson would be an appropriate measure of progress. At the time of the initial eligibility evaluation, Larry performed at the 2nd percentile on the composite reading scale, 60th percentile in math, and 80th percentile on general information. The team agrees that because Larry’s math and general knowledge scores are not impacted by his disability, the same 15th percentile that applies to all students who are home schooled should apply to Larry in these areas. For reading, the team agrees that he should be at least at the 5th percentile by the end of 3rd grade.
Larry’s mother says she wants special education services from the district, but she will take responsibility for determining “satisfactory educational progress” through a PDP. She intends to use a private evaluation center to do the evaluations of Larry. The IEP team documents this decision on the IEP.
Larry’s parent must now locate private service providers and arrange for the development of a PDP for Larry. At a minimum, the PDP must include individual educational goals for Larry, and a statement of how satisfactory educational progress will be determined.
At the beginning of third grade, Larry’s IEP team meets again, updates present levels, goals and objectives, and continues services. The team reviews the matter of “satisfactory educational progress” and Larry’s parent continues to want to address this through a PDP. The third grade IEP includes the statement that the parent will arrange for testing of satisfactory educational progress through a PDP. The district is still responsible for tracking Larry’s progress toward his IEP goals and for providing progress reports to the parent according to the schedule on the IEP.
Larry’s parent is responsible for arranging for and paying for an assessment of Larry’s educational progress related to the PDP by August 15th following his third grade year.
If Larry is making satisfactory educational progress in relation to the PDP, his next “satisfactory educational progress” testing will be due by August 15th following his fifth grade year.
If Larry is not making satisfactory educational progress in relation to the PDP, the parent must arrange for another test within one year from the third grade test, which would be fourth grade. If the fourth grade test shows a declining score from the third grade test, then the parent must arrange for another test within one year from the fourth grade test, which would be fifth grade. The parent must arrange for these additional tests whether or not the ESD asks the parent to submit these results to the ESD.
If the fourth grade test results are declining, the ESD superintendent may:
- allow Larry to continue to be home schooled, or
- require the parent to arrange for a licensed teacher to supervise Larry’s education.
If the fifth grade test results are declining, the ESD superintendent may:
- allow Larry to continue to be home schooled but require another test in sixth grade;
- continue requiring supervision of Larry’s education by a licensed teacher and require another test in sixth grade; or
- order the parent to send Larry to school for up to 12 calendar months.
Sarah has always been home schooled and never attended public school. In the spring of her fifth grade year, her parent becomes concerned about Sarah’s inattention and poor motivation. At her pediatrician’s suggestion, she contacts the school district and requests a special education evaluation.
The decision about whether to evaluate must be made by a team of at least two professionals, at least one whom is knowledgeable about the evaluation and education of students with disabilities, and the parent. The school staff do not have any information about Sarah. The resource room teacher contacts the parent and asks her to bring in work samples and other information about Sarah. At this meeting, the parent discusses her concerns, and the team agrees to conduct an evaluation.
The resource room teacher completes a Prior Written Notice and Consent for Evaluation form. The parent gives written consent. The evaluation is scheduled for two weeks later.
The next day, the parent gives the resource room teacher a note revoking consent for the evaluation. After talking with her husband, they have decided to deal with the matter privately.
The resource room teacher puts this note in the student’s file, along with a copy of a letter sent to the parent stating that the district stands ready to complete this evaluation, and to please contact the teacher or special education director if the parent changes her mind.
The parent arranges for a private evaluation of Sarah in May of fifth grade. The private evaluator is a psychologist who diagnoses Sarah with an attention deficit disorder. Her doctor prescribes a trial dosage of medication, which Sarah and her parent agree is helpful. The private evaluator also does academic testing, which demonstrates that Sarah is at the 12th percentile for her grade. The parent and the psychologist, as the PDP team, develop a PDP for Sarah with goals and a statement that satisfactory educational progress for Sarah will be the 15th percentile on the test used by the psychologist.
Fifth grade is a testing year. The PDP team (parent and private psychologist) agrees that the May evaluation does not reflect satisfactory progress, and they sign a statement to this effect. The parent retains this information in case the ESD should ask for it later.
The parent arranges for Sarah to be tested again by May of sixth grade. Sarah is now at the 18th percentile. The PDP team reviews this information, and notes that her scores are increasing and not declining. Sarah will not need to be tested again until eighth grade. The PDP team writes new educational goals for Sarah and continues to hold the 15th percentile as the standard for “satisfactory educational performance” on the test used by the private psychologist.
INDIVIDUALIZED EDUCATION PROGRAM (For Home Schooled Student) – Excerpts Only
For directions, use the accompanying “Guidelines for Completion” document