KSDE Weekly

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U.S. Department of Education: RTI/MTSS can’t be used to delay, deny IDEA evaluations

This message is from the United State Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP): 

It has come to our attention that initial evaluations have sometimes been delayed or denied by local educational agencies (LEAs) until a child goes through the multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS) process, sometimes referred to as Response to Intervention (RTI).  

Although the term RTI is no longer commonly used to describe a state’s multi-tiered system of support, the memoranda (found below) apply to all tiered systems of support, whether the state uses an RTI, MTSS or a unique state name. 

The basis for these memoranda is the child find requirements in Section 612(a)(3) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Each IDEA Part B and Part C grantee must ensure it has a system in place for meeting the child find requirements as a condition for funding.  

OSEP reminds state educational agencies and LEAs that the Part B regulations at 34 C.F.R. §300.301(b) allow a parent to request an initial evaluation at any time to determine if a child is a child with a disability under IDEA.  

As OSEP Memorandum 11-07 states, MTSS/RTI may not be used to delay or deny a full and individual evaluation under 34 C.F.R. §§300.304-300.311 for a child suspected of having a disability. With respect to preschool children, IDEA does not require or encourage a local or preschool program to use a MTSS approach prior to referral for evaluation or as part of determining whether a 3-, 4-, or 5-year-old is eligible for special education and related services. 

Once an LEA receives a referral from a preschool program, the LEA must initiate an evaluation process to determine if the child is a child with a disability.  See: 34 C.F.R. §300.301(b).  

Because the content of these memoranda reflects IDEA statutory and regulatory requirements, they are still in effect.  

If you have any questions regarding this email, please contact your OSEP state lead.  

  1. OSEP Memorandum 11-07 - A Response to Intervention (RTI) Process Cannot Be Used to Delay-Deny an Evaluation for Eligibility under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (January 21, 2011); and  
  2. OSEP Memorandum 16-07 - A Response to Intervention Process Cannot be Used to Delay-Deny an Evaluation for Preschool Education Services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education   Act (April 29, 2016).  
Posted: Mar 16, 2023,
Comments: 0,
Author: Ann Bush

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