Legal Guidelines and Special Education

ADA Requirements: Testing Accommodations
This guidance document discusses the obligation of testing entities, both private and public, to ensure that the test scores of individuals with disabilities accurately reflect the individual's aptitude, achievement, or the skill that the exam purports to measure, rather than his or her disability.
Publication Date: 2015
Publisher: U.S. Department of Justice

A History of the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act
This landmark law’s name changed to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA, in a 1990 reauthorization. The law was last reauthorized in 2004, and the department has periodically issued new or revised regulations to address the implementation and interpretation of the IDEA.
Publication Date: March 2022
Publisher: U.S. Department of Education

A Place to Start: Understanding the Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance Statement
As a foundation for higher achievement and IEP goals, the IEP team will identify the child’s current levels of learning or performance and the effect or impact of the child’s disability on learning.
Publication Date: 2018
Publisher: PACER Center

Evaluation Process
This AZ-TAS document provides a step-by-step guide to decision making and procedures for use throughout the evaluation process, including reviewing existing data, determining the need for additional data, obtaining parent consent, conducting any needed assessments, and determining eligibility.
Publication Date: July 2019
Publisher: Arizona Department of Education

Frequently Asked Questions about Prior Written Notice
This AZ-TAS document provides school personnel and parents with information, clarification, and guidance relating to using the Prior Written Notice (PWN). It outlines when and how the PWN must be provided and how the PWN fits into the overall special education process and suggests general tips to aid in writing effective, compliant PWNs.
Publication Date: May 2020
Publisher: Arizona Department of Education

How Can We Ensure IEP Teams Provide the Most Intensive Supports?
This resource provides information about how data-based individualization can support IEP implementation and provides a table with key considerations for teams working across the MTSS system.
Authors: Steve Goodman and Teri Marx
Publication Date: July 2018
Publisher: American Institutes for Research

Parent and Educator Resource Guide to Section 504 in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools
To facilitate efforts to eliminate discrimination against students with disabilities, OCR offers this resource guide to provide answers to questions that OCR has received and increase understanding among parents and members of the school community of the Federal civil rights laws that protect students with disabilities in public schools, and in particular, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
Publication Date: December 2016
Publisher: U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights

Process for Developing Individualized Education Programs
This AZ-TAS document provides administrators, teachers, students, parents, and other IEP team members with practical information about the development and implementation of an IEP that meets the requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Arizona Revised Statutes, and the Arizona State Board of Education rules.
Publication Date: August 2017
Publisher: Arizona Department of Education

The Difference between IEPs and 504 Plans
Both Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and 504 plans can offer formal help for K–12 students who are struggling in school. They are similar in some ways but very different in others. This chart compares them side by side to help with understanding the differences.
Publisher: Understood

The Special Education Handbook: A Brief Overview of the History and Requirements of Part B of the IDEA
This handbook provides an explanation of federal and state special education requirements in a readable and accessible format that includes relevant citations.
Authors: Kacey Gregson and Shannon Chavez
Publication Date: January 2018
Publisher: Arizona Department of Education

Understanding the Consequences of Assessment Participation Decisions for Students with Disabilities
This resource highlights what school leaders can do to ensure IEP teams understand the short-term and long-term consequences of participation decisions for students with disabilities and ensure appropriate assessment participation decisions are made and implemented.
Authors: Andrew Hinkle, Sheryl Lazarus, Sharon Hall, Martha Thurlow, Sandra Warren, and Kristin Liu
Publication Date: September 2021
Publishers: National Center on Educational Outcomes and Council of Chief State School Officers

Welcome to Exceptional Student Services
Exceptional Student Services ensures that public education agencies in Arizona have special education programs, policies, and procedures that comply with the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and its implementing regulations, and that eligible children and youth with disabilities receive a free appropriate public education. This website provides information, introduces each unit, and offers professional learning opportunities.
Publication Date: May 2022
Publisher: Arizona Department of Education

What School Leaders Need to do Before, During, and After the Assessment Window
This resource is designed to provide guidance on what school leaders should do to prepare for, do during, and do after assessments for students with disabilities.
Authors: Andrew Hinkle, Sheryl Lazarus, Sharon Hall, Martha Thurlow, Sandra Warren, and Kristin Liu
Publication Date: September 2021
Publishers: National Center on Educational Outcomes and Council of Chief State School Officers

Working with IEP Teams to Make State Assessment Participation and Accessibility and Accommodations Decisions
This resource highlights what school leaders should ensure IEP teams do when making decisions about state assessment participation, what factors must IEP teams not consider when making assessment participation decisions for students with disabilities, and what school leaders can do to ensure that IEP teams select appropriate accessibility features and accommodations for students with disabilities.
Authors: Andrew Hinkle, Sheryl Lazarus, Sharon Hall, Martha Thurlow, Sandra Warren, and Kristin Liu
Publication Date: September 2021
Publishers: National Center on Educational Outcomes and Council of Chief State School Officers