Special Education/RTI, IEP, or 504


Historically my daughter has had to have accommodations, outside tutoring to maintain her academic performance at its level. This has occurred since kindergarten. She scored advanced in both math and ELA in 2nd grade, and in 3rd her ELA dropped from advanced to almost basic. The drop, I believe, is due to me no longer providing her with outside tutoring. Her 3rd grade teacher seldom gave homework, and she wasn't getting enough help with ELA. I explained to her teacher that she struggles with writing, and has difficulty with reading comprehension. She said she is at grade level, yet her spring maps scores were below grade level. Her lexile is at the low end of her grade level. Whenwe had her assessed, the iindependent evaluator stated that she was doing well because of the help she was receiveing at home. He said she didn't qualify for an IEP. I'm at a loss. She needs help with writing and reading. My fear is that her ELA will continue to decline. What can I do? Can a case be presented for RTI or IEP/504 if she is not failing? Should I have her assessed again?

Hi Michelle,
It sounds like you are a great advocate for your daughter. From what you have told me, it does not sound like your daughter would qualify for an IEP (as stated by the psychologist). A 504 plan is a protection for individuals with disabilities. You didn't mention any disabilities so I would think that would be out. RTI is actually for all students - it just depends on where they are in the tiers. All kids are in Tier 1 and, depending on your state, as levels of need increase, services increase to Tiers 3 or 4. Higher level tiers are for kids who are not performing on grade level and need an intervention to help them perform at grade level. You said that your daughter's MAP scores were below grade level but not by how much. Some variation is expected. Also, you said she performed just above average on the ELA test. It sounds to me like ELA might be a difficult subject for your daughter at least for a while. I would recommend continuing with tutoring if you feel that is what gave her the edge. If you chose not to, it sounds like she is about where she should be for her grade and I would just keep an eye on it to make sure she doesn't start sliding as you mentioned.

The public school system's goal is to make sure that all students perform at grade level standards. That can be hard to hear when you know that your daughter's potential may be much higher than that.

Best of luck to you,

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Morgan Potts


I can answer most questions related to psychological evaluations including an explanation of the scores and the assessment measures. I can also answer most questions regarding special education eligibility, response to intervention (RtI), and recommendations and interventions for specific areas of disability including intellectual disability, learning disability, emotional and behavioral disorders, other health impaired, autism, and pervasive developmental disorder. I can also answer questions regarding Individual Education Plans (IEPs), and parent rights. I cannot determine if a child has a disability or not based on anecdotal information or assessment scores.


As a graduate student, I interned at a psychoeducational facility for students with severe emotional and behavioral disorders as well as other disorders including specific learning disabilities, intellectual disabilities, and autism. Following my internship, I was hired full-time there as a school psychologist and worked there for several years. Since then I have worked as a regular school psychologist in a district mostly completing psychological evaluations and consulting with the Student Support Team (SST). I currently work as a contract psychologist for several metro Atlanta counties.

The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) The Student Support Team Association for Georgia Educators (SSTAGE)

My undergraduate degree is from the University of Georgia in Psychology. I have an M.Ed. and Ed.S. from Georgia State University. I recently completed my Educational Leadership Certificate at West Georgia University.

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