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Evaluations and Eligibility

Young student with noise cancelling headphones working with a teacher.

Evaluations and Eligibility

A student must be evaluated for special education and determined eligible in order to receive special education programs and services.

A multidisciplinary evaluation team (MET) evaluates students for suspected disabilities. The MET includes specialists with knowledge of the suspected disabilities. The Michigan Administrative Rules for Special Education (MARSE) outline the specialists needed for each suspected disability.


Guidance for Timeline for Initial Evaluations (PDF)
Districts must have in effect policies and procedures to ensure all children with disabilities are identified, located, and evaluated. A Parent of a child or a public agency may request an initial evaluation when a student is suspected of having a disability.

Child Find (PDF)
Guidance specific to child find requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) and the Michigan Administrative Rules for Special Education (MARSE).

Special Education Reevaluation Process (PDF)
A student's special education needs may change throughout the course of their educational career, and the reevaluation process is developed to assess these evolving needs.

Chapter 6 Tools and Resources for Addressing English Language Learners With Disabilities
The English Learner Toolkit, from the U.S. Department of Education, is intended to help state and local education agencies (SEAs and LEAs) meet their obligations to English Learners (ELs) for child find and conducting comprehensive evaluations to determine eligibility.


Michigan Criteria for Determining the Existence of a Specific Learning Disability (PDF)
The criteria describe the state-approved options districts can use to evaluate a student for a specific learning disability.

Eligibility and Social Maladjustment Clarification (PDF)
When considering eligibility for a student who has challenging behaviors, questions often arise regarding the presence of a social maladjustment or characteristics of a social maladjustment. Multidisciplinary evaluation teams are encouraged to utilize the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Michigan Administrative Rules for Special Education (MARSE) requirements for emotional impairment. Once emotional impairment criteria are met, evidence of social maladjustment cannot be used as a rule out for purposes of determining eligibility and the need for special education programs and services.

Michigan Mandatory Special Education (MMSE)

Michigan requires special education services for eligible children and students from birth through age 25. Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires special education services for eligible students ages 3 through 21. Part C of the IDEA requires early intervention services for eligible infants and toddlers from birth to age 3.

Infants and toddlers from birth to age 3 may be eligible for services under only the IDEA Part C (called Early On® in Michigan) or under both the IDEA Part C and the Michigan Mandatory Special Education mandate. Early On is administered through the Office of Great Start.