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Understanding Common Terms Used
by Public Schools

What is an MET?

Public schools will convene Multidisciplinary Evaluation Teams (MET) to review data to determine the need to conduct an evaluation and to interpret the outcomes of an evaluation in relation to specialized services.  MET participants MUST include the parent, a general education teacher, a special education teacher, a public education agency representative (usually an administrator), and an individual to interpret the evaluation results (often the evaluator including a school psychologist and/or a speech pathologist).  It is important to have someone support you in interpreting the outcomes of an evaluation if you have any concerns regarding the finding or determination.


What is an IEP?

An IEP is an Individualized Education Team.  This team is required to meet within 30 days of identifying a child as being eligible for services.  The IEP team reviews the child current levels of performance across domains and develops annual goals to meet the needs of the child in terms of providing access to the general curriculum.   IEP team participants must include the parent, general education teacher, public education representative and the special education teacher or professional providing direct services.


What is a Manifestation Determination?

If a child has been suspended for more than 9 days, and a disability may have contributed to the behavior that resulted in the suspension, the Public Education Agency (district) is compelled to hold a Manifestation Determination Meeting.  A copy of a sample meeting review may be found in PDF form under the “Forms” tab.  At a manifestation meeting the parent, teacher, administrator, individual to interpret data (school psychologist) and child review available data to determine if additional data are needed to identify a potential disability and to determine if the behavior was in fact a manifestation of a disability.  This is yet another complicated process that parents often do not understand.  You need to consult with someone in the school district or an outside professional if you have questions regarding a manifestation meeting.


What is the Least Restrictive Environment?

The Least Restrictive Environment is a federal mandate that requires school districts to educate children in the environment that is most similar to non-disabled peers.  The least restrictive environment is usually considered to be the general education classroom. 


What are my rights as a parent?

Generally, as parents there are multiple layers of protection to ensure that you are aware of all of your options, that you are informed throughout each step of the process, that your child is being evaluated appropriately, that the outcomes are interpreted appropriately and that the services being provided or denied are appropriate.  You also have the right to request an initial evaluation and you have the right to request an independent evaluation if you disagree with the outcomes of the school evaluation.  I strongly encourage you to read the Procedural Safeguards (a document you must be provided with each year) and to consult with a professional if you have questions.


Is my child gifted?

School districts may set their own criteria to identify gifted students, however, many district require the child to score within the 97th percentile or higher on a cognitive assessment.  This means that on the measure utilized to assess their processing abilities, the student must score equal to or better than 97% of same aged peers.  Typically, a child may be eligible for gifted programming in three areas: visual-spatial, quantitative and verbal.

Many school districts utilize a group administration format to assess cognitive abilities and eligibility for gifted programming.  This is problematic in that the group setting may be distracting to children and therefore negatively influence the outcomes.  Dr. Mather believes that to obtain a robust measure of a child’s intellectual abilities the test must be administered in a one to one format.


Procedural Safeguards

This is a PDF document for download. Just click the PDF Icon.

procedural safeguards PDF

What you should know

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