Diagnostic teaching is an optional component of a reevaluation process whereby a T/IEP team determines that an ESE student should attend a different education setting for a specified length of time.
State Board Rule 6A-6.0331(9)(a) states that Pasco County Schools “must obtain informed consent from the parent of the student before initial provision of ESE to the student.” As such, diagnostic teaching cannot be used during the initial eligibility process, as parents have not provided informed consent for ESE services. Parental consent for initial evaluation must not be construed as consent for provision of ESE services.
Prior to the diagnostic teaching period, teams determine specific questions designed to guide the nature and frequency of data that will be collected. At the conclusion of the diagnostic teaching, the team reconvenes to consider the data and determine next steps in the reevaluation process.
Members of the T/IEP team may request diagnostic teaching. The intent of diagnostic teaching is to assist teams in determining if a different educational environment or ESE placement is required to meet the student’s academic and/or behavioral needs. Diagnostic teaching may also assist teams in determining the appropriate learning environment for a prekindergarten student.
Diagnostic teaching is not a standard procedure for a potential change in a student’s education setting and should be used relatively rarely as appropriate data will be collected for the change of placement process. For additional information related to Change of Placement procedures visit the Change of Placement Procedures for ESE section on the Wiki.
A pre-kindergarten student with current Individual Family Support Plan (IFSP) who is transitioning to school based services must be determined eligible and have an educational plan in place by his/her third birthday. Diagnostic teaching is not an option if it prevents or delays meeting this federal mandate. Information may be gathered through observation, file review, class visit, or other available documentation. At any point, an IEP team may reconvene to reconsider placement and services for a student if it becomes apparent that a student requires less intensive or more intensive services to receive a free and appropriate public education.
Procedures for Diagnostic Teaching
- If the T/IEP team is in consensus with referring the student for consideration for diagnostic teaching:
o Complete the Referral for Change of Placement/Diagnostic Teaching Form. o The current school’s administrator contacts the administrator of the potential receiving school and provides the Referral for Change of Placement/Diagnostic Teaching Form and all supporting documentation (i.e. T/IEP, progress monitoring, FBA/BIP). o The potential receiving school may conduct an observation within 10 days, if desired. The purpose of the observation to gain insight into supports/needs in the current placement. o If an observation is conducted it must be documented on the Observation Summary Form and sent to the referring school within 3 days of the observation. o An observation and/or meeting should be scheduled within 10 days of receiving the request. The administrators initiate these arrangements.
- A T/IEP reevaluation meeting is scheduled including both the current team members and potential receiving school team members to discuss the option of diagnostic teaching and develop the Diagnostic Teaching Plan, if needed.
o If diagnostic teaching is recommended the T/IEP team’s recommendation must be documented on the T/IEP Recommendations Regarding Reevaluation form (MIS #809) and Consent for Reevaluation (MIS #444) obtained.
If any additional evaluation information is recommended during the meeting, appropriate speech language, OT, PT, or student services staff should provide input.
The Diagnostic Teaching plan is a tool designed to assist teams in coming to consensus regarding the purpose, what data is to be collected, and what documentation should be gathered. All staff involved must participate in generating a Diagnostic Teaching Plan. This plan must be initiated prior to the start of Diagnostic Teaching, reviewed half way through the Diagnostic Teaching period, and completed at the team meeting held at the end of the Diagnostic Teaching period. At that time, all relevant data is attached to the Diagnostic Plan and included in the student’s file.
During the diagnostic teaching period, the student remains enrolled at the sending school. The receiving school must have minimal documentation indicating that the student is on their campus (i.e. emergency card).
If transportation is required, forward the ESE Special Needs Transportation Request (MIS # 768) to the ESE transportation coordinator. These arrangements are the responsibility of the sending school. Transportation will expire on the date indicated on the request. If there is a change in the diagnostic teaching schedule, school staff must notify the transportation department ahead of time.
Diagnostic teaching is part of a reevaluation process and as such parents/guardians must be actively involved and provide consent. All discussions as to the permanent appropriateness of the diagnostic teaching placement must be held within the T/IEP meetings.
Diagnostic teaching should not be used for students who transfer in from other Florida districts or out-of-state schools. Initially, the student is enrolled at the school that provides the services outlined on his/her current T/IEP, unless information is available and documented that may change the placement and/or location. If the placement appears to be inappropriate after the T/IEP team has had adequate time to collect data, then the T/IEP team would convene to discuss options.